It’s natural for parents to think that their child is adorable and especially photogenic. Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents out there who have the same biased opinions. Fortunately, there are exceptions when some children or infants are discovered and used in spot commercials, product advertizing and even television and movie appearances. The demand is high, but so is the competition. Any parent wishing to showcase their little one in front of a network or agency must know a few things about how to get the best attention and results. There will be some sacrifices and toils but the rewards are there for any parent who wishes to start their baby in a modeling career.
Photographs and the Portfolio
Contrary to popular belief, a baby model does not require a professional photography session for the purpose of compiling a professional portfolio. If the parent has a reasonable quality digital camera that takes high-definition shots, or a good quality 35 millimeter outfit, they can manage to take adequate and even superb quality photos. Basically, three types of photos should be included in the photo portfolio: a close up of the face and top of the shoulders, with a few different face profiles, if you wish; an overall body photo and an action shot showing the child in the act of some favorite play activity.
The photos should be taken in natural lighting sans flash so there are no flares or distracting shadows. It’s perfectly acceptable to use a software program like Adobe Photoshop Elements to refine and crop the picture, yet no special effects or special imaging techniques should be used—the photo should be realistic in tone, appearance and setting. A physical description should be included on the side or underneath the photo that includes the child’s full name, height, weight, age, hair and eye color, shirt, pant and shoe size. Adding distinguishing marks are optional.
(Go here to learn about Modeling Jobs for Teenagers)
The images should be taken to a photo store and developed into 8 by 10 glossy color prints and then put into a nice presentation folder, one that might have a leather or vinyl cover with the child’s name across the front cover. Several prints of the same pose are advisable since many photos will be sent out in mailers, depending upon how many solicitations the parent sends out. Dozens of small, expendable folders will be needed to contain the photos when they are left with a prospective employer or mailed.
Presentation—on the Hunt
Print up some business cards that include a physical description of the child and a thumbnail photo. Parents should list their name and contact info on the card. Starting locally at first is the most logical step. Parents can visit stores and boutiques in their area that use baby or child models in their product advertizing. Leave a few business cards and an expendable portfolio package with them. Collect store catalogs that feature models and write down the contact information for further reference. If you are offered a modeling job and it is successfully completed, the experience can be added to your child’s resume.
Parents can use the Internet or yellow pages to find a local modeling agency that might represent your child. Beware of fee-charging agencies that demand an upfront processing fee which could be very costly. Minor processing fees might be acceptable, but you will still have to check out the agency on the Better Business Bureau site to make sure they have no unresolved complaints. You can ask the agency for references and their history of booking child models. You want a legitimate agency with a solid track record of placement.
Photo contests are a great way to start. Entering local photo contests are easy to find in the local newspapers or magazines. Photos can be sent in by mailers or personally delivered. These types of photos are often published at the completion of the contest and often contain rankings, such as Grand Prize Winner, Second Runner-up, Most Congenial, Honorable Mention and so forth. Any ranking can be added to the resume. National contests create a lot of publicity and buzz, and winning any title in one is a big plus. Sometimes tear sheets are given to the parent who can use them in local newspaper write-ups, and they can even lead to TV and radio interviews. Seasonal holiday contests like Christmas or Halloween provide photo competition opportunities that should be exploited.
Pageants, Fashion Shows and Expos
Pageants, fashion shows and expos are another way of gaining exposure for your child. These venues will require a little pre-planning and execution. They often involve themes, where dress, grooming and costumes are required. This might involve a little expense for preparation and traveling, but the child is likely to gain experience in the midst of an audience or crowd and learn to adapt to the setting. Some shows and expos require a small fee, so the parent should be aware of this contingency. Fashion coordinators, talent directors and contest judges are the most influential contacts for these events. Parents should take numerous portfolio packages and business cards and pass them around to any of the VIPs who are in attendance. Talent scouts and agents are frequent visitors of such events as well as the local press.