What makes one child a model whilst another is turned down?
Child models must be photogenic, happy and smiley, with clear skin and bright eyes. However, not all have to be ‘pretty’ or cute, sometimes a quirky look with plenty of character and sparkle will go a long way for advertising companies that want to sell their client’s products.
The child’s temperament is equally important as looks – all baby and child models must be good natured and sociable in order to put up with meeting lots of strangers. If you have a beauty that is a bit of a shrinking violet, you may have to wait until they are better socialising, you could even consider stage school, which does help with interaction with both adults and other children.
All child models must be co-operative, and easy going; temper tantrums or bad manners or sulkiness will not be tolerated. So as the parents you will have to be realistic about your child’s nature.
What sort of work could my child get as an assignment?
Your child might appear anywhere from a cover for a parenting magazine, national TV adverts for parenting products such as nappies for babies, in-store advertising, posters for child products, games, feature on packaging for toys or child medication, in catalogues for clothes, even on posters on buses even posters for children’s charities.
That’s what makes baby and child modelling a multi-million pound industry!
How much money will my baby or child make?
Not enough to retire on or earn a living from for all the family, the industry rate for babies per hour is £40- £50 and agencies take 20- 25 per cent of that – the pay for children rises on a sliding scale according to age and also according to the assignment. TV commercials can command a buy-out fee so what starts off as a small fee may rise into a substantial sum. All modelling fees are paid in the name of the child and chaperone fees and travel are paid to the parent/chaperone.
Most agencies estimate that so even the most hard-working child will probably only earn around £500-£5000 a year which although not a huge sum is great to invest for the child’s future or plans for their education.
Because there is no promise of work- due to the fact that the agency does not decide on who gets assignments, many children make less and as work is sporadic this is not a regular income.
Can I earn any money from my child modelling?
Only from chaperone fees since the fee your child earns can only be paid in the name of the child. However, if you are a model parent and modelling with your baby then you will get a fee for the assignment work you have undertaken paid to you separately.
Chaperone and travel expenses are paid to the parent and as chaperone fees are not always applicable for the assignment it is best to check with your agency on this.
Child Modelling top tips for parents:
1. SNAPSHOT pictures are all you need to send or email to agencies although most agencies upon deciding your baby or child has potential, will require professional pictures to show potential clients and will guide you towards studios that will not charge huge sums of money and that produce pictures appropriate for the agency and age of your baby /child/teenager.
2. Young children do not need big portfolios, usually 5-10 professional photos are enough to take to castings. An ALBA recommended agency will have a list of good value photographer to take a few pictures to start off with and then as your baby / child undertakes assignments those working shots may be added to build the portfolio.
3. All Alba recommended agencies that deal with children know about and adhere to the laws on child licensing, steer clear of any agent which does not. Any person under school leaving age and in full time education must be licensed to work in modelling & entertainment.
4. MANY children & young people are adorable to look at, however not all have the right nature to become a child model. Agencies do not take on a child if they are over shy, nervous of strangers or badly behaved.
5. Genuine agencies always ensure that you can take away and read any paperwork in your own time carefully so don’t rush into signing a contract at an interview. Take it home and read it.
6. Be wary of answering newspaper advertisements for models of 0-75 years of age, or go to hotel or weekend castings to join visiting “scouting or model agents”. These are usually a con and way to get money up front out of you. Genuine agencies DO NOT find their models this way.
7. Parents and children need to have the ability to cope with rejection and don’t take it personally. Be prepared for a lot of waiting around and waiting for the photographic/ film set to be prepared. When a booking is made, always put aside extra time in case there are delays. No-one likes a pushy parent you must show tact and diplomacy at all times.
8. MOST importantly, your baby, toddler or teenager must enjoy participating – the minute they do not, it is time for the modelling hobby to stop!
9. Teenagers can fall into an awkward gap from age 13 to 16 years as they are not children and not quite adults. Many child model agencies find work becomes more sporadic until teens reach 16 when they would if they reach the correct height criteria, look toward joining an adult model agencies books.
Baby & Child modelling is fun and can give you both something wonderful to look back on as your child grows. Even something to show their first boy or girlfriend when they finally bring them home to meet the parents!
So if you think your child has that little something extra…give it a go!