This is probably the #1 most asked question we receive on a daily basis. We certainly don’t claim to be experts in the modeling industry but we can give our 2 cents on some basic info on becoming a child model. First thing to know is that there is no standard pathway into child modeling. There are many different ways that children become models. I’m going to discuss a few ways below, but be aware that everyone will have their own individual journey.
The Agency Route:
The first thing you should do is think about what your ultimate goal will be. Are you looking to eventually book the bigger gigs like Gap, Old Navy, J. Crew or are you okay with your child modeling for smaller boutiques and gigs? If your ultimate goal is to have your child model for some of the larger companies, then the agency route is the way to go.
I know that several companies are starting to do their own casting calls and contests, but agencies are still the leading way to get your child opportunities with the larger companies. These companies work with talent agencies to pull the best talent based on their criteria. Oftentimes these shoots are larger productions with large investments so they want to know that they are getting kids that have been agency tested and recommended so that the shoot can go as smoothly as possible. Also, please keep in mind that your location will also dictate which gigs your child is able to book. Some of the larger companies only work with agencies in the bigger markets like NY, LA and Miami.
So how do you get into an agency?
Again, there’s no one route, but simply visiting an agency’s website will generally give you the agency’s guidelines for model submission. Most of them request a few clear photos (headshot/full body) as well as some basic information about your child. If they are interested they will typically contact you and ask for an in person interview with you and your child. We’ve heard several horror stories of parents getting caught up in agency schemes so we always recommend doing your research and only submitting to the well known/reputable agencies.
You should never have to pay to join an agency. If accepted, most agencies will ask that you get professional headshots/portfolio shots. Some of the larger agencies may have preferred photographers that they recommend, while some others may provide a recommended list but leave it up to you to decide who you use. Most agencies will tell you that professional photos are not required for model submission, but I’m a firm believer that a good headshot can always make a difference over a cell phone snap.
The DIY Route:
Let’s say you’re not pressed to book the larger gigs and are totally okay with booking smaller gigs and boutiques. Several moms are now going the DIY route when it comes to child modeling. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means that they are bypassing the agency route and are essentially serving as their own “agency” for their child. They reach out to boutiques, small businesses and photographers, submit to casting calls, contests, etc. with the hopes of being chosen for a particular gig. This method can certainly have its pitfalls, but it is becoming more and more common.
There are several advantages to this route as it sometimes allows your child to get some experience that will prepare them for larger gigs should they eventually work with an agency. It also gives kids an opportunity who may not have the traditional look that agencies look for.
On the downside, these gigs are typically lower budget productions, so they may only offer photos for your child’s portfolio, products or clothing in exchange for a model’s time. This method also requires a lot of time and effort from the parent to get their child noticed.
When getting started with DIY route, a social media presence will be extremely helpful. There are several photographers, boutiques, stylists, and designers that post their own casting calls on their social media accounts. You should always have your child’s photos (headshot/full body), measurements, sizes, digital comp card ready to go for casting calls. Castings can sometimes be quick and it’s best that your child stand out amongst the other submissions. I always prefer to see great photos along with any experience the child may have. Also, I like seeing some variety in the photos to get an idea for the child’s personality. Always submit at least one photo with the child’s natural hair and no/light makeup.
After your child has started to build their portfolio, you may want to set up your child’s own social media account or website so that you have an easy way to showcase their portfolio online. If you decide to go this route, I encourage you to read submission guidelines very carefully and try not to annoy the company you’re submitting your photos to. Your child will sell themselves so there’s no need to continuously reach out to the same companies over and over again.
There’s so much more that I could write about on this topic, but I will save those for future posts. For now, I will leave you with a few agencies that we recommend in various states. If you are interested in working with us, click here to learn more about scheduling a session with us.
Child Modeling Agencies in Atlanta:
Child Modeling Agencies in New York:
Child Modeling Agencies in Miami:
Child Talent Agencies in Los Angeles: