In many ways child modeling is
similar to adult modeling, but there are some special considerations that apply
only to children.
1. The children most likely to
be successful have to have all of the following qualifications:
a. The should be small for their
age. That lets them play younger roles in advertising, and have more life
experience and maturity than a child of the age they are playing.
b. They need to
be comfortable around adults, and have outgoing, pleasant personalities.
c. The need to be
well-behaved and take direction well.
d. They should
have acting ability, not only to get commercial acting jobs, but because print
work also requires acting. Your child had better take acting, singing and
dancing classes (NOT modeling classes).
e. The child has
to want it. They have to want it so badly that they pester the parent to get
them into modeling, and they have to have the kind of personality that lets
them focus on a single task and meet its demands. If modeling is the parents’
idea, it’s almost certainly a bad idea.
f. They need a
parent who is supportive without being pushy or critical, and who is available
on short notice to take them to castings, classes or jobs. One parent has to
be unemployed, or have a night job.
g. They need to
have the freedom to take off from school from time to time to pursue modeling.
That means good grades and a cooperative school administration. In some
states, child models also have to get a work permit for each job, which may
require the permission of the school.
2. There is a market for kids,
but outside the major market cities it is quite small. Top models in Ford’s
Children’s Division can make a very nice income indeed, but the probability of
that happening is about the same as growing up to be a Supermodel. Most
children get modeling work rarely. Babies get work even more rarely.
3. Child modeling pays roughly
half what adult modeling does.
4. Location is much more
important to child models than to adults. Parents located more than 50 miles or
so from a significant media market city cannot have more than a tiny chance of
any significant work for their child. Unlike some adults, children should
not relocate to pursue modeling. The risk-to-reward ratio is much too poor.It
isn't economically feasible to pursue it unless you are already in a
substantial media market city.
5. Relatively few agencies will
represent children. Of those that do, most represent them as "talent"
(typically, actors, sometimes singers or dancers) rather than models. The
reason is simple: there isn't much modeling work for kids, and to have any shot
at all you have to be able to do more than "look pretty". Then there
is the other reason: most agencies don't want to have to deal with "stage
mothers" – so many agencies leave child models to agencies which
specialize in children.
6. You don't need a
"portfolio" but you do need one or two professional quality pictures.
They should NOT be "glamour", "portrait" or
"fashion" style - which means 92% of all the photographers within 100
miles of you aren't qualified to shoot them, and 99% of the “Internet
photographers” near you aren’t qualified to shoot them. You will have to pay a
good professional to take those one or two shots. The chances of getting what
you need from an Internet “TFP” session is near zero.
7. When you have an agency, keep
them updated on the children. Kids change rapidly. If they lose a tooth or
gain braces, tell the agency. If their sizes change, tell the agency. It’s
embarrassing for everyone if the child shows up for a job and isn’t the size
the client needs.
8. Children must always have a
parent at any shoot, but the parent should be away from the set if possible.
Parents should never give direction to a child during a shoot, unless
specifically asked to by the photographer. “Seen but not heard” applies to
9. There is a robust industry designed
to take advantage of the parents by providing classes, pictures, access to
conventions and lots of other things that will do them no good whatsoever. Very
little of what they have to sell, and nothing of what they have to say, should
be used by parents in deciding on their child’s modeling career. Seek and accept
only the counsel of agencies which make their money by booking children.
10. There isn't much mainstream
modeling work available on the Internet for anyone. There is virtually none for
child models. No Internet agency, "website promising exposure", no
magazine with your child's picture in it "to send to casting
directors", no "model search" or "modeling
convention", and no photographer claiming to be a "manager" will
do you a bit of good. The only hope you have is to get representation from a
good, brick-and-mortar agency that doesn't sell modeling classes. To do that,
you have to do all the things above - and even then it isn't likely to work.
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