Child Modeling

Children's Modeling Information

disclaimer: this is NOT legal advice.  Consult a professional attorney for help in understanding your own situation.


Remember the old adage that "if it's too good to be true -- it isn't."

Anytime someone promises that you (or your daughter, or any model for that matter) can make lots of money and get lots of fame -- walk away as fast as you can. Either the person is trying to take your money in large gulps -- or they are a complete idiot and have no idea what they are talking about. Modeling is part lottery and part hard work. Like the lottery -- no one can predict "success," and while hard work can increase your chances -- it does not guarantee them.


If you want a job -- you need to find someone who will hire you. It's just like any other job -- employers don't leave their busy offices to walk down residential blocks knocking on doors to see if anyone has the skills they need to hire.


Employers expect qualified and willing candidates to come to them -- and these folks are already the most capable and best suited for the work they are applying for.

SO... if you're going to get a modeling job -- YOU have to continually search out jobs which you are qualified for, prepare for them, contact the people who need models, and do this on a continual basis (because most modeling jobs last a few hours and then the process starts all over again).

The more you keep in contact with people that hire models -- the more likely you will be hired for modeling jobs. If you sit back waiting for someone to call you -- you'll be very lonely and bored.


Modeling is geographically limited. Models are most often hired by large advertising companies. Large advertising companies are located in industrial and economic "hubs" -- where tens-of-thousands of businesses are located needing their services.

There are only a few sites where modeling work is routinely available. These are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Miami -- in that order.

Anyplace else in the US is likely to have almost "squat" for modeling work. Sure -- you may get occasional work -- but you certainly can't make a living off of it. If you want to make money in modeling -- you have to move to where the money (agencies and their clients) are located.


When you are a model -- you are running your own small business. And unless you have lots of money -- you have to do all the work and pay all the bills. You have to pay for advertising, phone and travel expense, wardrobe and make-up, and hundreds of other expenses that you normally would not need to pay. IF you get signed by an AGENCY -- you have to remember that they are your EMPLOYEE (they work for you -- you don't work for them).

This means that every decision about your modeling career lies solely on you. While you can take advice and ask for recommendations -- you don't have to follow that advice, and often times it's best to follow your gut rather than someone else's second-hand guess.


Are You Sure?

If you think your baby "has the look" -- then my best advice to you would be to pay for some professional shots IMMEDIATELY. Babies change so quickly that what may be a completely perfect look one month will no longer work a few months from now because the child has drastically changed. If you are going to capitalize on your baby's good looks -- you need to do it NOW.

However, before going out and getting photos made -- you need to first ask yourself a BIG question. That question is  "WHY?"


Why do you want your child to be a model? Is it for money, fame, recognition, parental pride? Or is it because it seems like something FUN to do?

Unless the ONLY reason to do it is for fun -- then be warned that you'll likely NOT have fun doing it.

For instance -- if you are interested in having your child make money in modeling, you have to realize that your family will need to relocate to Chicago (or New York, or Los Angeles, etc.). It's a fact that most of the midwest modeling and advertising work happens through Chicago. If you don't live there -- it means almost weekly trips (during weekdays when businesses are having auditions) to meet with agencies, prospective clients, and photographers (all at your own expense). It also means being ready to leave at a moment's notice for a possible interview (often times, models will receive a call in the morning from an agency and have to show up for an interview or job a few hours later).


While many home-town agencies my "puff" that they have lots of local modeling opportunities -- they quickly stop when you ask to talk to their "top" 5 models about their earnings and jobs. Almost all of their "top" models are scrambling to hold down a day job to SUPPORT their modeling "hobby."

Doing It for Fun!

On the other hand, if making money is not the main concern -- but rather you think it would be neat to have your child in some advertising, or posters, or calendars -- then that's a whole different ball game. If this is your goal -- I would bypass the modeling agencies and instead approach photographers directly. Many have a list of "pet projects" they would like to shoot -- but need someone who will be completely cooperative with ANY IDEAS they want to try. In return, most would be willing to use the child (model) in some of these ideas and provide the model with some prints in addition. You may still need to travel to do shoots -- but at least the schedules should be a lot more flexible. These types of projects may lead into more paying work for the models -- but just as often -- it does not.


If you're going the "money" route -- then avoid "agencies" that have any "school" or "training" program associated with them. Many times there is no "agency" -- because the business makes almost all their money from "classes" rather than booking models with "clients."

You may also want to contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any have outstanding and unresolved complaints. Similarly, it's good to contact the secretary of state in the agency's state -- to see if they are properly registered and licensed to act as an agent (someone who has the legal power to "sign" and "form contracts" for the model).


Unfortunately -- some of the biggest offenders are the best known "national" names. In my opinion, avoid national "chain-charm-schools" -- because they charge HUGE sums for "training" -- and almost no one gets any paying modeling work. I've worked with huge numbers of _________ "graduates" and none had gotten any paying work through the business.

CLUE! Look around you at the OTHER people that got "picked!" Do you think THEY look like models? If not, you're likely fallen for a scam agency. Get out before you write a check (or make sure to stop-payment as soon as you leave).

Other Options

If you're going the other route (not worried about the money, but interested in the exposure and fame) -- then approaching photographers who do regularly do commercial photography would be recommended. The best would be if they have had work published -- and if they are looking for models to continue projects for publication.


I would set up an appointment to see their work (or ask their secretary if they have an on-line portfolio on the internet you could view). If you like their work -- then make your "pitch" to have the photographer use your child for projects.

If you don't like their work -- then don't waste your time or their time with making such an offer.

Keep Smiling!

I hope that I haven't discourage you too much. But since you now have your feet firmly on the ground -- you'll like be more "street-wise" about modeling.