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Is child modeling lucrative? How to get started in the industry

Each day, maybe even without knowing it, you flip through magazines, pass a billboard, or see a commercial on the television with an adorable cherub-cheeked child that is the "face" of a brand or is helping to promote a specific product. You might find yourself wondering how you can get them into the business, knowing fully well how adorable they are. But is child modeling a lucrative business? We delve into the topic a little more so that you'll be informed about the basics of child modeling careers and how much it pays.




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What You Need

  • Access to the internet

  • Access to either a photographer or camera

  • Modeling agency

Why child models?

Advertisement agencies need to reach certain amounts of customers. People create an instant connection because, well, humans relate to other humans. What better way to catch their attention than with another person? Of course, it depends on what is being advertised. But when it comes to clothes, baby accessories, and more, children make great models that parents can relate to, since they have children themselves.

That is why advertisement agencies are constantly looking for child models to help advertise their products. Just take a look at any department store kids' clothing or toy section, and you will see a bubbly child on a sign somewhere.

How to find a reputable modeling agency without breaking the bank

So many parents think that they need to spend massive amounts of money on photographers to get expensive headshots, a new wardrobe for their child, and modeling classes in order to get their child in the modeling business. But this is simply not so. Here are some tips on how to find a reputable modeling agency for your child:

Step 1: A great way to begin is to do a quick Google search of modeling agencies that are around your area. However, one must note that if you live closer to a metropolitan area or a more populated area, your chances of finding reputable modeling companies are high. But if you happen to live in a remote area, there may not be one close to you, unless you are willing to travel.

child modeling lucrative camera lens
Ailbhe Flynn/Pexels

Step 2: If you find companies of interest during your internet search, write them down and make a list.

Step 3: After you have made your list, take a good, hard look at it. Look up the agencies or companies that you have on your list. Make certain that they have decent reviews and a good reputation because the last thing you need is to be scammed, especially when it comes to your child. You do not want to lose money on an irresponsible agency or person that may claim that they can get your child into modeling.

Step 4: The best thing is to ask around, too. Find some groups online, and see who they may recommend.

How to get great pictures

After you have found your list of reputable agencies, it is time to start taking photos. But you do not have to go out and spend a ton of money on glamour shots. Taking simple photos with some simple clothing will do just fine. Here are some tips to help you get great pictures on a budget:

Step 1: Pick out colors of clothing that bring out your child's eyes and keep it simple. You don't have to find pageant dresses or tuxedos, just regular clothing.

Step 2: You can hire a photographer or you can take the shots with your phone.

Step 3: If you want to retouch any of the pictures you can use home-based software or retouch them at any photo kiosk in any multitude of stores.

Submit your pictures

Now comes the time when you submit your photos to the agencies that were compiled on your list. Some will call you back, and others may not. They'll ask you to come in for an interview with your child. Some agencies may hire directly on the spot if they are interested in having your child model for them. Other companies prefer to mull it over and will get back to you. Some may not get back to you at all, and that is okay. You do not want your child to have too many modeling jobs, anyway. You still want to keep those precious childhood years, after all.

Is it worth the money?

This all depends on how much money you envision making with child modeling. It could be a small side business for you and your child, especially if you are in a more rural area. If you live in a metropolitan area, a few agencies can offer all the way up to $150 an hour. However, some agencies prefer to pay by the day. It all depends on what agency you are going with. If your child does land a gig, make sure you look over the contract carefully so that you don't miss anything.

At that point, it may be wise to get an agent for your child, depending on how far you would like to go with it. If you and your child would like to even possibly make a career out of this, an agent will be able to help guide you throughout the process.


Things to consider

Having your child model may sound like a fun way to help them earn money for their college fund, but there are things that every family needs to consider before introducing their child to the world of modeling:

Your child's size

The agency will likely want to know your child's clothing size, as that will most of the time be a factor for if they will land a gig or not. Some of the most popular sizes are 3, 5, and 10. So, if your child lands in one of those categories, there is a better chance that a modeling agency might want to sign a contract with them. However, if your child is not those sizes, do not get discouraged! Children of all sizes are needed — it just depends on the agency. So, if one agency does not want to book your child or sign a contract with them, you can simply move on to the next company.

What's the right look?

Your child does not have to be drop-dead gorgeous to be a child model. Actually, quite the contrary. Many companies are looking for kids that fit in with today's demographic of children. They are looking for kids who are easygoing and "fit in" with their aesthetic. If you do end up signing with a modeling agency, make sure you have done your homework on them and make sure that it is a legitimate company, as sadly, there are many scammers out there. Every company is different, as is every audition.

Auditions can be short notice

Sometimes, you have about only 24 hours' notice to get to an audition. You have to be willing to travel at a moment's notice if your child's modeling company calls you up and says there is an audition that would be a great fit for your child. That isn't to say that they will absolutely crush the competition and land the role, but auditions are an integral part of child modeling. The company not only has to see how the child looks, but how they act, their demeanor, etc. Those are all important factors in whether or not they may land a gig.

Time is a factor

Modeling can be a time-consuming activity for children, especially if they do land a gig. There is a lot of "hurry up and wait" going on. This is because the photographers want to get the light just right, or if the shoot is outside, it has to be at a certain angle. There are plenty of factors that can take up time.

We suggest bringing snacks and something for them to do while they wait. The same goes for when they are at an audition and the line is out the door. You can keep them occupied by bringing a tablet and some snacks that they can munch on while you wait in line. That way, they won't be bored.

So can child modeling be lucrative? It all depends on the factors listed above. If you are willing to travel, it can definitely bring in some extra cash for your child, and it might even be enough to start a college fund! If you are interested, it is definitely something that you could look into and get more information on it.

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Jennifer Passmore
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jennifer has written two books on how to deal with living with chronic illness using the power of positivity. She has written…
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