Child Modeling

 

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 parents.

 

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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