Have you been considering baby modeling for your little one?
The world of child modeling can be exciting, fun, and pretty financially rewarding too. Baby modeling is a great way to get out and about with your baby, whilst also giving their savings a little boost and not to mention, getting some beautiful photos along the way.
If you are willing to travel and put the time in, this can be a great career stepping stone and a fun hobby for your child. Baby models can start pretty young, often it is the younger siblings of child models that we see in the 'newborn' shots, as their parents are already familiar with how it all works.
There are many baby modeling agencies out there, so how do you choose? What is a casting? What if you don't like one of the clients? We have done a deep dive into this industry, so check out these tips before you make the leap.
What Is It Like On Set?
1. When you arrive on set, someone should be there to welcome you and you will usually be shown somewhere to wait, or taken straight through to hair and make-up to get ready.
2. You will usually have a key team of people there for most of the shoot. The hairstylist and make-up artist, the photographer, their assistant, the director, stylist, and sometimes a few other assistants, editors, or administrative people.
3. Make-up for baby models is very minimal, if they even use any at all. Usually, they will just want to touch up under the eyes, and possibly add a little blusher, and fluff up their hair but that's it! In fact, most things can be done in post-production now anyway.
4. It is way better to show up to a shoot over-prepared for lots of waiting than under-prepared. Some shoots will provide food, drinks, and entertainment for the kids but some don't. So load up the baby bag with lots of snacks, drinks, toys, and books.
5. The set should be very accommodating towards the baby and parents and usually, these kinds of photoshoots are very warm and happy environments. You can be right next to your baby and still be off-camera, so don't feel like you have to be far away from them to get 'the shot'. You should never feel like your baby needs to be separated from you.
6. Generally, photographers who shoot for children's brands will be extremely experienced working with kids, and they won't mind if your child has a fussy moment or isn't in the mood. Sometimes, things don't go to plan and your usually bubbly happy child won't want their photos taken, this isn't the end of their career so don't worry, the team on set will be used to baby behavior.
Are There Any Negatives?
7. Baby modeling is competitive. Brands like to have a lot of choice so they may ask the agency for 100 kids to come to a casting when there are only a couple of modeling jobs available. Generally, with baby modeling, you will attend a casting by simply sending recent photos over to your agency and they will send them to the brand, sometimes they will ask for a 'self tape' which is a short video, so they can see a bit more of your baby's personality. It can feel like a lot of work without actually guaranteeing the final job at times.
8. Occasionally parents can get a little over-invested in their child's career, it is exciting when they do well and book lots of shoots, but at the end of the day, they are still children and it certainly shouldn't be their whole world.
9. There can be a lot of waiting around. Luckily with baby modeling, the babies themselves don't tend to mind too much, it's a new environment to look around, new faces to see! Plus there should be a comfy area for parents and babies to wait, so if you need to feed or change your baby you can.
10. You won't always be told when the photos are out. This isn't too much of a negative, but sometimes it's nice to know when you should be looking out for your little one's cute face to pop up online or in a magazine. Clients don't tend to tell agencies too much about when the photos will be out, and it's not really the done thing to ask too many questions about it while on set either.
How Do You Get Into Baby Modeling?
11. So how to get into modeling? To start with, a baby modeling agency is going to be your best bet. New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami are the most popular cities for agencies, but some have multiple branches so check out what you have locally if you don't live in a big city.
12. You can represent your child yourself, but it really helps to have an agency that knows the business inside out and can book the best jobs for your baby. The baby modeling agent will take a cut of the final paycheck but they are also the ones who will push to get the highest rate possible for your child.
13. When you are looking for an agency, it is really important to do some in-depth research. A reputable agency will not charge you for any portfolio shots, in fact, with baby modeling, they are usually happy to accept headshots you take yourself. You won't be charged a joining fee or any kind of subscription.
14. Be wary of any agents or 'scouts' approaching you on social media. Baby modeling agencies are busy, and often have a lot of child models already on their books, it is highly unlikely that you would be approached this way.
15. When you have found an agency that you think would be a good fit, it's time to send over some photos. The best photos are ones that clearly show your baby's face and a bit of personality too. Natural light is best so photographing outdoors or near a window is perfect, make sure your baby's hair isn't obstructing their face so all features can be clearly seen, and make sure baby isn't wearing a hat or clothing that is too loud and distracting. Although it can be tempting to make a few tweaks, don't edit the photos at all, the agency will want to see completely natural shots.
16. Once your baby is signed, you will need to set up a bank account in their name, agencies will usually insist that the account is in your child's name before they will send over any payments. Different states have different laws about children working and your modeling agency should be up to date on this, any specific information should be in your contract. Usually, babies can only work for up to two hours.
17. Babies change so much in a short space of time, the baby modeling agency will most likely want new updates every month. A photo of your baby in plain colored clothing on a white background is perfect. With babies, you can lay them on your bed on a white sheet to take some snaps. Natural light is the best for headshots so near a window is a great setup for a lovely baby photo.
18. Another way to get into baby modeling is through a baby modeling contest. You have probably heard of the 'Gerber Baby' that gets chosen every year, and companies like Gap also run contests to try and find the next big name in baby modeling.
19. Another route to helping your baby become a model is to keep an eye out for baby modeling casting calls, sometimes brands will put online that they are looking for a new face. Remember to only enter competitions and casting calls run by legitimate companies that you have already heard of, and still do some research to check it out before entering.
20. A baby can start modeling at any age. If your baby is generally quite sociable, happy to be around new people, and of course doesn't mind having their photo taken, then they should be just fine. You have probably already taken hundreds of photos of your baby, but set up a little shoot at home and see how they get on!
What Are The Best Bits?
21. One of the best things about baby modeling is getting some gorgeous professional photos of your baby. Baby modeling agencies are usually pretty good at getting great images for your child portfolio and model card from shoots and will usually email them over.
22. Sometimes if a photo of your baby model is used in-store, you can ask the manager to let you know when they will be changing the displays and you can come back and take the images home. There are many child model parents out there with 8-foot canvases of their children on the walls that they've saved from store displays!
23. Obviously getting paid is a nice touch, rates do vary from job to job, but your baby model could be making $50 to $75 an hour, with some jobs being $125+ an hour depending on the client. You can always check the rate before accepting a job though. In the early days of baby modeling, it's good to take as many shoots as you can, as it's a good way to gauge if it's something your baby enjoys, you can learn more about the industry, and boost your baby models portfolio.
24. Baby modeling is pretty sociable, you can make some great new parent friends and your kids can end up with friends for life too. Often, brands like to work with the same children for an entire season and sometimes long-term, so you can find yourself meeting up with the same families on shoots, again and again, making it a really fun day for your kids and you.
25. If your baby ends up really taking to modeling, you can end up with a great network for their future. With the power of social media, you can follow the photographers and directors and keep in touch. If you decide to switch agency or self represent, you can let casting directors know and they can book your child directly, networking baby!
Is It Worth It?
26. Ultimately only you and your child can decide if baby modeling is worth it for you. If your child has fun, a talent for being in front of the camera, you enjoy going along with them, and they are earning a little bit of money towards their future then it could well be very worth it.
27. If your baby really takes to modeling, this can lead to some great opportunities in the entertainment industry. Check if your agency also represents child actors and if not, see if your contract allows you to be with more than one talent agency, and look out for an acting agent too.
28. Child modeling can also be a real confidence boost for your child, as well as a fun way to spend time together. It is worth weighing up the pros and cons once you've done a few shoots, and be mindful that you don't have to carry on if you don't want to.
29. Of course with this type of work, there is the element of rejection. While your baby model will be none the wiser, you might feel a little offended but try not to take it to heart. Model agencies and their clients might be looking for something very specific, or it could come down to height as child sample sizes vary wildly. So don't let not getting the job this time dampen your spirits, at the very least it means your agency is putting your child forward for jobs, which is a positive!
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