Do you think your child has what it takes to become a child model?
We all think our baby is the most beautiful of the bunch but there's actually a lot more to it than just being mega cute! In fact, it's not always the typically cute kids that book the most jobs, agents are looking for a certain spark and a talent for being the center of attention.
If your child is pretty confident and likes dressing up and having their photo taken then the life of a child model could be for them. We have weighed up the pros and cons and created a list of everything you need to know about child modeling, along with some insights into the industry too. Check out this list before you take that first step and see if the world of mini models would be a good fit for you and your child.
To find out more about how to be a model for the tiny tots, check out this piece about [baby modeling] and for more fun reads why not take a look at our guide to [children see children do]?
What Is It Like On Set?
1. When you arrive on set, you will usually be taken through to the studio or shown where to wait (hopefully a nice room with refreshments provided!), or you may be taken straight through to hair and make-up for styling.
2. It's a good idea to bring some entertainment for you and the kids just in case you end up waiting around. Pack books, iPads, headphones, and lots of snacks just in case they aren't provided. Some children even do their homework in between shots.
3. You might not get introduced to everyone on set but generally there is a fun and friendly vibe on shoots for kids. The team is usually made up of, the hair stylist, make-up artist, photographer, their assistant, the director, stylist, and sometimes a few other assistants and editors and maybe interns too depending on the client.
4. With child modeling, the makeup will be minimal. Usually, it is just a case of enhancing natural features and hiding any little blemishes or dark circles. Child models are definitely expected to look like kids so don't worry about false eyelashes or hair extensions, if there's something you are unhappy about you can always let the stylist know.
5. Parents are expected to be on set, and you might even be brought in to help by encouraging your child to smile or laugh. Some photographers prefer parents to be out of sight so they can 'get the shot', this comes down to whatever you and your child are comfortable with, don't ever feel like you have to leave the room altogether if you don't want to, a good photographer can capture a great image no matter what.
Are There Any Negatives?
6. There can be a lot of waiting around on set. Sometimes you will get to a shoot and you are in and out in a flash but other days you can be waiting around quite a bit, which can be super boring for kids. Make sure to bring some things to do just in case.
7. Child modeling is a competitive industry. Your agency might be checking your availability all the time but not actually booking your child for shoots. Quiet periods with modeling can happen a lot, but the busy periods often make up for them! It all depends on what clients are looking for at the time.
8. Sometimes child fashion models can come with a certain type of parent, and if your child is successful it is easy to get swept up in the excitement! Your child is more likely to build good relationships with casting directors and others in the industry if they have a relaxed parent with them on shoots. Our behavior as parents is being noted as much as that of the child, believe it or not.
9. Due to the nature of the industry, there is a risk of rejection, in fact, it is pretty much inevitable! It can be frustrating if your child doesn't land a job you know they'd be perfect for, but try not to take it to heart. One of the main things agencies are asked to send over with castings to clients is a list of heights, often it's less about the overall look of the model and more, will they fit into this very specific size of clothing!
How Do You Get Into Child Modeling?
10. If you think child modeling sounds like something your child will enjoy, the first thing to do is some major research into child modeling agencies. Check out the top child modeling sites and talent agencies and see which would be a good fit for your family, look at their clients, the types of kids they represent, and look for the overall feel. Don't be afraid to email or call and ask questions before you decide who to apply to, the more information the better.
11. Child modeling agents take a cut of the fee from the client, but they shouldn't be asking for any money directly from you. All reputable agencies will cover any admin fees and if they want professional headshots, they should organize these. More often with child and toddler modeling, agencies are happy to use photos you send in yourself at first until your child has actually done their first shoot, then they can just use these images for their portfolio and model card.
12. Be very wary of anyone approaching you directly claiming to be from an agency, this usually happens via social media. Model agencies rarely, if ever scout models this way, enough parents will apply directly with their kids or attend open castings, so it's best to ignore anything like this and go directly to an agency that you know is legit.
13. When you have found an agency that ticks all the boxes, you can usually apply by sending in some photos. Some agencies hold open castings so look out for any advertisements and sign up for their newsletter if they have one. An open casting involves going along to the agency or a studio, where you can meet the agents. They will take a few quick photos of your child so this is a great way for them (and you) to see how they would do on a photo shoot.
14. If you are applying directly to the agency, you will need to send some clear photos of your child over for them to look at. You don't need any fancy equipment, photos from a decent phone camera will be fine. Good natural lighting is a must, hair loose and in its natural state (not straightened, braids and similar protective styles are fine), simple plain colored clothes and minimal accessories, no hats and you are good to go! Depending on the age of your child, headshots at home can be a little tricky but you can make it fun! Take tons of photos making all sorts of silly faces, but try to capture the 'in between' moments, so you get a variety of expressions. Don't edit the photos at all, the agency will want to see completely natural shots.
15. The agency will usually let you know within a few weeks if they would like to sign your child. Remember though that they get hundreds of applications a week so don't worry if you don't hear back right away. Also, if you don't get your first pick of agency, you can always apply to more as you never know what they will be looking for and it varies from agency to agency. So if you believe your child has what it takes, don't be dispirited!
16. Before you move forward with child modeling, you need to be sure this is something that your child is going to enjoy. Shy children will struggle in this industry. If your child loves being the center of attention, loves dressing up and getting their picture taken, then they will probably love being a child model. It can feel quite full on when they are on set with all eyes on them, expecting them to smile on cue, so if you think this is something your child would hate, it's not going to be for them.
What Are The Best Bits?
17. Child modeling is fun! The hours can sometimes be long, but the clients want the kids to be having a good time, they won't get the best shots from bored and grumpy kids who would rather be somewhere else. On longer shoots they should be providing catering, and nice refreshments throughout the day too.
18. Brands will often book the same kids, again and again, so you will find that modeling for kids can be very sociable. It's a great opportunity to make new friends, as parents it's also nice to chat with others in the industry who know what it's like, not to mention you can compare notes on who you've worked with.
19. Having amazing professional photos of your child is a wonderful perk, they are being captured at all these memorable ages by the best in the business. You won't usually get sent the photos directly but once they go live, agencies can often obtain copies and they will send them to you too.
20. If you know the images of your child are going to be used in-store, pop in and ask the manager when the displays will be getting changed and let them know you'd love to take the prints home! Often these images are on huge canvases which can be fun to keep, smaller display prints look great up on the wall too.
21. Child models can also earn some serious money towards their savings. Rates vary from job to job but reputable agencies will push for the best rates every time. Occasionally you may be asked if you'd like to take on a job that pays less but could be for an amazing editorial in a magazine or an up-and-coming brand. Those shots will really boost your child's model portfolio, so you can decide at the time but you don't have to accept every job.
22. Generally speaking, child models can make between $25 and $75 an hour for catalog and magazine shoots, while working on an advertisement or commercial the rates shoot right up, and you'll be looking at between $475 to over $1000 a day. The highest-paid child model is likely to be one who excels at commercial or advertising modeling. A lot depends on what the images are going to be used for, and for how long, your agency will be able to let you know all the details before the shoot.
23. If your child ends up really loving modeling, this can be a great career stepping stone for them. They will be getting to meet all sorts of casting directors, photographers, stylists, and other professional industry types so you really can build up quite the network.
Is It Worth It?
24. There are a lot of pros to child and baby modeling, but only you and your child can really decide if it's all worth it. If you have been to a few shoots, and it's not as fun as you expected then there's no need to carry on, many children will just model for a little while before deciding their other hobbies need to come first and that's completely fine.
25. One of the main downsides of modeling is all the waiting around, kids notoriously do not enjoy that! Parents also need to be very flexible as shoots are often midweek and you need to travel, so if you have a demanding full-time job then this probably isn't something you can commit to. Many agencies do try to be mindful of school and working hours and try to shoot on weekends and in school holidays, but it's not always the case.
26. There is a chance that your child could feel a sense of pressure to perform and be 'on' all the time, as they take in the happy reaction of the people around them on shoots when they project a bigger personality on camera, they can feel that this is expected of them all the time. This can be avoided by keeping modeling as more of a hobby, not something you are doing too often, and making sure your child knows they can be themselves all the time, no one is expecting them to be perfect.
27. You do need to consider the future too, with social media and the internet, these photos could be around for a very long time. Of course, we as parents will probably love the photos but in the future, your child might not. Hopefully, they will look back fondly at their modeling days but you never know.
28. Child modeling can be great life experience. Your child will be learning social skills, building their confidence and self-esteem, and it can also teach them to have a good work ethic. Of course, you don't want this to feel like work in the sense of a 9-5 but earning your own money does feel great as a kid!
If you found this article helpful, then why not take a look at our favorite [tween birthday party ideas] or our plans for 6-year-old birthday parties?
Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!