Your baby’s chance at model life might come sooner than you think.
According to the Buffalo News, Fisher-Price, a major American toy company, has called for more infant models because of a “shorter supply.” The company recently sent this invitation out to employees, asking for children who are 6 months or older.
“We capture every stage of early childhood development – from newborns being soothed in our baby gear, to infants sitting up, crawling and walking, to preschoolers using their imagination with a play set,” Lisa Skorupa, a Fisher-Price spokeswoman, told the Buffalo News.
Baby models aren’t a new thing. We see them posing with toys and for stock photos all the time. But parents may be a little concerned about whether their youngsters should commit to such a career so early in their lives.
Experts told BabyCenter it’s not very easy for babies to jump into the modeling life so early since they’re faced with pressures that most babies don’t face. These babies need to be ready to handle pressures and a heavy time commitment if they want to be successful.
“No one will book a kid if they’re not nice,” said Patti Fleischer, owner of Generation Model Management in New York. “Being sweet is important. But most important, a child should be well behaved and able to take direction.”
Still, there are a lot of questions that go into potentially setting your child up for a modeling career. Here are 10 tips on baby modeling, from ways to know if your child is ready to be a model to things to do once you’ve decided to go for it, based on expert advice we’ve found.
Your baby needs to have a good temperament
Cary Olsen, of Ford Models in San Francisco, told BabyCenter that a baby’s temperament can make all the difference in whether a child is successful. Babies need to be comfortable around strangers and model workers, otherwise they might scream their lungs out or act out irrationally while on set.
“Temperament is very important,” Olsen told BabyCenter. “A child must be comfortable speaking with strangers and taking direction from them. She should also be able to handle large crowds of kids and stay focused on the audition.”
Your baby needs some serious confidence
You want your baby to strut down the catwalk and earn the cheers of audience members? It all starts with a little confidence.
That shouldn’t be too hard, since babies are uber-confident, even though they’ve only been on this planet for a short time. As Time magazine reported, a new study from France found that babies know a lot more than they let on, especially when it comes to where they put their favorite toys. Babies also aren’t afraid to ask for help when they’ve lost something, either, showing they have confidence with seeking advice, too.
Your baby needs to have fun
Babies don’t model for the fancy clothes or expensive cars. It’s about having fun and doing really silly things, according to Robin Goldstein of Parents magazine. In fact, Goldstein’s daughter models, only working when she’s up for it. She can make anywhere from $50 to $1,000 an hour. That’s some serious dough. But it’s not all about making money for the young model.
“I know some parents are skeptical about putting kids in front of the cameras, but I don’t see this as Sydney’s career,” Goldstein wrote. “I know she’s having fun. Even when she was a newborn, she always lit up when she saw a flashbulb. The moment I sense that she’s no longer enjoying herself, we’re done.”
Get that portfolio ready
If you want your child to get into the business, he or she will need a portfolio. What does that look like? It should have three photos: a close-up set of the baby’s head and shoulders, a full-length shot of the entire body and one that shows the child doing something specific to his or her personality, according to About Health.
“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,” according to About Health.
Test your baby with family and friends
This is a perfect strategy for parents who aren’t sure if their baby can make it, or those who don’t handle rejection well. Expert Debi Clark, who works for Bizzy Kidz, said parents may want to test some model photos of their baby with their neighbors and friends to see what reactions will be.
“Ask a neighbor or family friend that your baby doesn’t know very well to pop round and pose with your baby,” Clark said to Mother & Baby. “Leave them alone for a few moments to see how relaxed your baby is with a stranger.”
Stay away from scams
Parents can do a number of things to make their babies’ modeling careers a little easier. It starts before it even begins, according to Parents magazine. Parents may want to look into different modeling agencies, but should also be careful about which ones they’re trying to work with. Most agencies don’t start collecting money until a child has already started a career, for example. Many others will try to scam you by tacking on fees and raising prices that don’t fit with industry standards.
“Be leery if an agency or individual asks for money upfront,” booking agent Margaret Pelino told Parents.
This is why experts say parents should also research the industry before diving in.
Don’t oversell your baby
When it comes to baby modeling, sometimes less is more, according to Jessica Hartshorn, senior lifestyle editor for American Baby magazine. Sometimes parents spend too much time putting wacky outfits on their children and giving them toys to play with. But in reality, parents should include less zany material with their portfolios and keep their child clean.
“Agents have told us that they get tons of pictures with food smeared on babies’ faces,” Hartshorn wrote for CBS News online. “They don’t want that. Don’t include props in the picture either. The best pictures are of babies wearing only diapers or maybe a simple dress or shirt, sitting on the floor with virtually nothing in the background. No earrings, no bows, just a clean baby in an unfrilly outfit.”
Be realistic about potential success
So it’s very unlikely your child’s going to rack up millions of dollars. That’s just not how the game works, according to Parents magazine. Your baby might only get two or three jobs every month, and it won’t pay that much at the beginning.
“Sometimes the most prestigious places pay the least because you get such a good tear sheet for your child’s portfolio out of it,” Pelino told Parents.
She suggested parents manage their expectations so they’re not disappointed.
Know the jargon
Baby models and their parents will soon be introduced to a new world of fashion, design and exposure. This world includes new words and phrases about the industry. That’s why Sharon Sandell, who runs the modeling agony Kitsch Kids, suggests parents learn the industry jargon before they enter the business.
Some of the words – like casting, recall and wardrobe – are self-explanatory. But Sandell also mentioned the phrase “buyout,” which is the fee you’ll receive if your child is on the final cut of a commercial. There’s also a “basic shoot fee,” which is the daily rate of a baby’s photo shoot, and the “call time,” when your child is expected to arrive on set.
Encourage positive values and education
If your baby stays in the business long enough, he or she may grow to an age of school involvement. Parents should work to promote education among their modeling children and see if there’s any way they can learn while they’re on set, Sandell explained.