In some cases, it can seem like getting your child into modeling is a one in a million shot. While you may think you have to spend tons of your hard-earned money on getting professional headshots and modeling classes for your little one only to be shot down by some big-time agent, you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s easier than you may think to get started. At least, it can be if you follow the correct steps. While this can be a difficult industry to navigate on your own, we’ve got a complete guide to help you get started! Take the time to learn from the experience of the experts, don’t be afraid to tailor this guide to fit your individual needs, and you’ll be well on your way to pursuing a fulfilling career for your child.
Learn About Local Modeling Agencies
One of the first things you’re going to want to look into is modeling agencies for kids. Now, this may end up being one of the biggest obstacles you’ll have to overcome, especially at the beginning. When most think of modeling, they think of adult supermodels. The worlds of an adult supermodel and the average child model are very different. For example, your child is most likely only going to find work in the city in which you live. For those who live in a remote area, finding jobs and agencies is not going to be easy and may require some travel. Those who are in metropolitan areas will likely have an easier time.
Start off by doing some quick research to find your local child modeling agencies. Usually, this information is just a quick Google search away, although you should be able to find these companies in the yellow pages as well. Once you’ve compiled a list of some local agencies, you’ll need to vet them properly. Join some child modeling message boards and search extensively for reviews on the agencies before you consider contacting them. For the most part, the scams are easy to spot. Often times, they seem too good to be true and will prey on your lack of knowledge of the modeling world. Try looking for agencies that are SAG-franchised — meaning, they’re associated with the Screen Actors Guild. This step alone will save you a lot of time.
A Note on Modeling Classes
While there are varying opinions on the effectiveness of modeling school, most suggest staying as far away as possible. Many child modeling schools will only prey on parents who don’t fully understand the industry, making promises of success that they can’t keep. Realistically, you shouldn’t have to pay anyone money for your child to get started in the modeling world. As long as your child can follow directions while on set, they should be able to live life as a model without needing to take any additional classes.
It’s also worth noting that modeling classes, or heads of modeling schools, are not the same thing as agencies, although they may try to present themselves that way. A legitimate modeling agency will not charge you money. Your best chance at getting started in the industry is to take some quality shots, and then find a quality agency; no expensive modeling school required.
Taking Your First Photos
After you’ve properly vetted your local agencies, the next step is to begin taking some photos. You’ll need to take some high-quality photos to send to these agencies as a sort of application, but that doesn’t have to mean shelling out hundreds of dollars. While you may get caught in the trap of thinking you’ll need an expensive photographer and a new wardrobe of cute children’s clothes, it’s actually much simpler than that.
In general, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get a good set of photos. For one, you’ll need to make sure your child is dressed in something simple and clean. The goal here is to draw the eye to your child’s face instead of to the clothes or background. Try dressing them in something with simple colors as opposed to prints or patterns.
After that, there are a few others things you can avoid to help better your odds of getting a great photo:
- Avoid hats
- Avoid bath time photos of your infants
- Clean up any distracting backgrounds
- Avoid makeup
- Avoid pageant dresses
Remember: The goal here is to take a simple yet complimenting photo. Ideally, you’ll want to capture your child’s best features, and you don’t want unnecessary clutter to draw the attention away.
When it comes time to choose which photos to take, you’ll want to take a wide variety of poses. This way, you’ll have plenty of variety when you’re selecting which to send. Our best advice is to take a few close-ups, a few different full-body shots, and a few in between. When you’re sending these photos to agencies, you’ll want to include at least one close-up and one full-body. For those who are taking their own photos, don’t be afraid to reach out to some other model parents to gain some helpful tips and tricks on taking the perfect photo!
Sending Your Photos Off
Next is the most nerve-wracking part: Sending your photos off to agencies. For the most part, this is a bit of a waiting game. First, you’ll want to check out the agency’s website carefully.
Agencies tend to have very clear and precise guidelines they want you to follow for submitting photos, and if you break these rules, it can often result in being turned down before your child had a real chance. Typically, agencies will want to know some basic information about your child, such as name, age, contact information, or height and weight. Much the same as when you apply for a regular job, remember that there’s nothing wrong with selling yourself and your child a bit, but always be professional and polite.
While being the parent of a child model isn’t an easy job, it can be as rewarding for you as it is for your child! Getting started can be hard but with a bit of guidance in these first few steps, you’ll be well on your way. Just remember to vet your potential agencies properly, take the time to take some simple and clean photos, and be patient as you wait for responses. With some luck, you’ll see the offers rolling in in no time!