Child Modeling 101

child modeling 101

We can bet you there isn’t one mother out there who doesn’t want their child to grace the cover of magazines, appear on television or say “my child is a model.” Alright we take it back, maybe there is a mom or two out there who wouldn’t want any of that. We can safely say that most moms would be ecstatic if their baby or child got into modeling and made a few bucks for their college fund. There are a few things you should know and consider when getting your child into modeling. Read on to get the low down on everything you need to know!

Educate yourself

There are a ton of people out there who claim to be “professional”, “reputable” and “good” in the modelling business. You need to first do the ground work to see what is going on in the industry, get to know it a bit and then proceed.

Choosing an Agency

Deciding on an agency can be a little overwhelming when there are so many to choose from. In most cities, there are agencies that are reputable and then there are agencies who will take on anyone to make a buck. You need to know the different between the two.

The very first thing you should do is get a recommendation. Knowing someone in the industry who can advise is key to looking in the right direction. Ask around and find out if any other moms you know have a child who is currently modelling with an agency. Visit as many agencies as you can so that you can CHOOSE which one is best for you and your child. When you visit each one, have a list of questions to ask. These can include:

  • What is my total start up fee for signing up with your agency and what other fees may come after? For example, comp cards and website fees. These are all good to know before committing.
  • Which clients do you work with?
  • How many children do you currently have on your roster?
  • How often can I expect my child to work?
  • How many castings a month can I expect my child to go on?
  • What percentage of earnings do you take? (This is usually 20%)

The next step is choosing an agency, but you must remember that same agency must want to take on your child. Sometimes, the feelings aren’t mutual and an agency may not want to represent your child. If that happens, it’s not something you should take personally. There could be many reasons as to why an agency may not take on a child such as: they have too many children on their roster, your child does not fit the look they want, or they simply do not think your child will be able to work.

Photos:

When you go to meet with agencies, bring a couple head shots of your child. The first thing they will want to see is how well your child photographs. These do not have to be professionally done– you can do them yourself at home, or at the location of your choice. Here are a few things to remember when taking photos of your child which will be submitted to a modeling agency:

  • If you have a DSLR camera, use it to get better quality images.
  • Put your child in a solid bright color. No brands or logos should be shown. Try to avoid any kind of pattern as this can be distracting and take away from your cutie.
  • Use a plain background. Consider shooting against a white or beige wall.
  • Get down on the same level as your child and make sure he is looking either directly into the camera, or close to it.
  • Try to get one smiley shot and one regular shot.
  • Do a head shot, and a shoulder shot. These are the two crops that most agencies will ask for.
  • Do a full body (sitting or standing) just in case. That way, you will be prepared.
  • Make sure your photo is composed nicely and that the lighting is good, and the shot is in focus. You want these photos to be great.

If the agency likes your photos they may choose to use them. If they don’t, they may suggest a professional photoshoot.

If they ask you to do this, you should always inquire about the cost first to see if you are willing to do it or not.


Once an agency takes you on, you will need to update your child’s photos every so often. Standard updates for children go something like this:

  • Babies- Every six months until they are walking
  • Infants- Every 12-18 months
  • Older children- Every year

If you see a big change in your child you may want to take new photographs and submit them to your agency.

Model Statistics:

Your agency is going to ask you for a little bit of information about your child. Here is a list of things you should know (also called model statistics) and have written down for when they ask:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Measurements (bust/waist/hips)
  • Clothing Size
  • Eye Color
  • Hair Color 

All of this information will appear on the website for clients to see once they click on him to learn more.

Website:

Once an agency takes you on, your child will be on roster. Most clients will book your child directly through the company website so make sure he is on there and the information and photos represent your child well.

Casting:

Once your child receives interest from a client, the client will then ask you to attend a casting or audition. The agency will then call you or email you to send all of the information you will need for the casting. This will include:

  • Who the casting is for
  • The location of the casting
  • The time of the casting
  • What you need to bring/How your child needs to look

Once you child attends the casting, you will only hear back if he is successful. Agencies do not like when parents call to find out if they booked the job. Your agency will contact you if the client chose your child; if they didn’t, you will not hear from them.

Booking:

If your child is successful and books a job, your agency with call you or email you and let you know all of the details. These will include the date and time of the job, the rate of the job and what you must bring. Most times, when you book a job the client will ask you to bring particular items for the baby to wear or use.

 

Memories:


Don’t forget once your child does a job to try and get a copy of the print. The client will tell you if your child is going to be in a flyer or catalog and they can tell you when and where it will be distributed so you can get your hands on it, and keep it to embarrass him when he is older.

Getting yourself familiar with the modelling Lingo:

Here are a few terms you should know:

Casting– When your child has been picked by the client and the client wishes to meet him. Once you arrive you will be asked to fill out a form for your child with agency details. Then your child will be invited into a room where the client will take some shots or do some filming of him. They usually take about 5 -10 minutes but on occasions you may have to wait around for a short time.

Optioned– This is when your child has basically been shortlisted for a job. A client will option usually anywhere between 1-10 people for one job.

Recall or Call back– This is when the client wants to see your child again to decide from the shortlist who they would like for the job. Sometimes, your child may be payed just for attending a recall or call back.

Wardrobe– This is when your child will go to be fitted for the clothes they will wear for their job. Again your child may be paid extra for this.

Confirmed– When your child is confirmed it means he definitely got the job. Wahoo, you can do your happy dance now!

Call time– This is the time that your child is expected to arrive at his job. You should never be late. In fact, in this business you should always be 5 minutes early.

BSF– Basic shoot fee is that the daily rate is for your child. It can be for a day or per hour and rates vary depending on the client and the usage.

BO– A buyout is the usage rights fee paid to your child if they are featured in the final cut of a commercial. It may also occasionally be used for promotional work.


There you have it: all the information you need to get your child started in modeling! This can be a fun time for everyone involved, but it must be taken seriously or your child will not get as much work. You and your child must be punctual, reliable and easy to work with in order to be successful in this industry. With that said remember to smile, use your manners and follow direction.

For tips on taking great photos of your child, check out these posts: 10 Tips for photographing small children and Tips and tricks beyond say cheese.

Photo Credits: 1,5 Lauren Hardy 2,3 The Art of Making a Baby 4 Wiser Photography 6 Cookies for Breakfast

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Lauren Hardy

Lauren is a new mom living in Toronto, Canada. When she is not at home being a mom, she is working full time as a model, playing competitive baseball, and working on her personal blog. In her "spare" time, Lauren is aspiring to become a childbirth educator. You can find her at Lauren Hardy Blog

Comments (1)

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    Summer Ann

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    This is a very informative post. I was a child actor/model and now our little 8 month old is starting to go on castings and shoots. It is so important to be educated before getting into the business because there are so many scams out there.

    – Summer Ann
    http://www.simplysummerann.com

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