If strangers are constantly commenting on how your child is the most adorable baby they've ever seen, you might be wondering if he has what it takes to enter the modeling industry.
Having Realistic Expectations
Modeling may seem glamorous, but it's first and foremost a profit making business. A child model needs to be outgoing and comfortable around unfamiliar people. He also needs to have at least one parent who will be available to take him to all of the necessary baby modeling casting calls and photo shoots.
The pay for baby models is not as high as many parents are led to believe, mostly because child labor laws limit baby models to working no more than two hours per day. Models working in catalog or editorial typically earn between $25 and $125 per hour, depending upon the type of job. Television jobs pay more, but are much more competitive. In addition, if your child earns more than $4,300 per year, you will need to file a tax return for him or her. Contact your accountant for details.
Start Finding Baby Modeling Jobs
Some parents think that entering their child in pageants and cute baby modeling contests is the best way to start a modeling career. Although some of these opportunities are affiliated with legitimate talent scouts and baby modeling agencies, many are not. And, since the entry fees and associated costs can be quite high, it's often more economical to skip the baby model search and contact agencies directly.
Parents has published a list of agencies that they work with when recruiting models for the magazine. You can use this list as a starting point, although all of the agencies are in New York City. If you research baby modeling agents on your own, remember to check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Baby modeling scams are plentiful, especially those which involving asking for a large "investment" or "service" fee in order to take your child as a client. The About Fashion article Avoiding Modeling Scams has more information on this topic.
Preparing a Baby Modeling Portfolio
While it's true that teens and adults need to have professional portfolios to be considered for modeling jobs, infants and toddlers do not. Snapshots taken at home are fine, as long as you follow basic guidelines for good photography.
For a baby modeling portfolio, you generally only need three photos:
- One close up head and shoulders shot
- One full length shot that shows the entire body
- One portrait that shows your child doing something specific to his personality, such as playing with a favorite stuffed animal
All photos should be taken in a place with bright and even lighting. You don't want to use a flash, since this will create harsh and unflattering shadows.
It is fine to use software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements to crop and make minor adjustments to your photos. Do not use any sophisticated image editing techniques, however. The photos should be a realistic representation of your child.
Parenting magazine has a slideshow with examples of some photos they've received from child models seeking work, along with tips from the magazine's photo editor.
Trust Your Instincts
Under the right circumstances, baby modeling can be a fun way to meet interesting people and earn some extra cash for your child's college fund. However, you need to do your homework before making any major decisions in this area. Research your options carefully and remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.