Years ago I decided to make my niche in photography working with child and teen models. I love working with
children and their innocence and hated the scams parents fell trap to and I wound up carving a spot for myself by being honest and producing the types of photographs that the agencies wanted, the ones with the wow factor!
As an up and coming model and her parents start to put her marketing tools together there are some key things that even if everything else is perfect, missing these could cost many opportunities in this industry. What I have learned in my profession is "Not every child is beautiful, yet, every child is beautiful"! If you are serious about getting your child into the modeling industry you need to know what to put into practice NOW.
You need to know which direction you want to go in! This is easy for kids as commercial, print, and catalog are the ones most agencies look for. Study this area, see the look that sells. If every picture in magazines is of blond haired blue eyed babies, than that's the trend. This does not mean your dark haired child will not work, only that they will get less work at this time. It can take up to two years for a child model to catch on at an agency. You must be very patient. Agencies usually work filling their houses with what sells so if you get turned down now, just resubmit in six to eight months when the trend changes.
You DO NOT need professional photographs to submit your child to an agency for consideration, however you do need good pictures. Do not use school, sports, or dance photos from your child's extracurricular activities, they are not what the agents look for and they usually do not show your child in the best light even if you think it's a great shot. Take the time and go to the beach, park, etc and take candid shots of your child/teen, not posed. You want the pictures to talk, ones that you can hear the laughter just by looking at the smile! Never pack makeup on a child and never make them look sexy. I wonder why parents want their five year old daughter to look and act 16 when all the agency wants is a five year old child! Always keep your child looking their age, this is how the agency markets them, this is where they fit into the scheme of things. You will never see a five year old on the cover of Vogue or GQ! When it's time to start working on comp cards, hire a photographer that takes the time to listen to you and what the needs are for your child and your budget. Tell them what you are looking for. Never fall for the Agency Scam of " I work with a few photographers". Just thank them and check them out and than check out others in your area and work with the ones you are the most comfortable with. Unless it's a top notch agency you can pick a photographer of your own choosing, if you can't, run, chances are it's a scam!
Make sure the photographer you choose has worked with children before and I do not mean in a department store kiosk! Not everyone can work with children and right now you need photos that will blow them away. I heard this from someone eons ago but it has helped me many times over and I will pass it on to you."When you are at the store, in the checkout, watch how people scan the magazines, either a cover grabs them or it doesn't…the cover must reach out in that one instant and say hey! The same holds true in the modeling industry. Your photographer must create that stunning look…the one that grabs right away! You need to grab their attention with that one WOW photo of your child that makes them say this is the one! Demand high standards from yourself and whoever is working with you creating your modeling marketing tools. Use a critical eye when deciding which shots make the comp card, Sadly, NOT all of your child's pictures are great though as parents we would like to believe that they are. Your comp cards should only be crafted with the stunning and unforgettable photos. Do not pick the mediocre ,only the very best, the ones that will make a lasting impression into the minds of all who look upon them.