Every gurgling giggle and heartwarming smile from your baby might make you wonder if they’re cut out for the camera. If you’ve ever considered turning your baby’s natural charm into a modeling career, this guide is for you—from initial preparation to finding gigs and getting signed with an agency.
- What kinds of infant modeling are there?
- How to know if modeling is right for your baby
- What kind of headshots does my child need?
- How to get started in baby modeling
- How do I get my baby signed as a model?
- What age should my baby start modeling?
- Baby modeling tips and techniques
- How much do baby models make?
- Top baby modeling agencies
When you think of modeling, runways and high-fashion shoots might come to mind, but the world of infant modeling is far more varied and approachable. This domain primarily revolves around showcasing babies in a natural and authentic manner. Types of jobs include:
- Advertisements for baby products like diapers, baby gear, and infant food
- Print catalogs to promote children’s apparel and toys
- Movies and TV series portraying everyday life scenarios
- Digital platforms and social media featuring baby influencers
While most of these opportunities focus on babies’ innate adorableness, certain roles might require specific looks, moods, and activities. Whether it’s a serene sleeping scene or a bubbly bathtub splash, infant modeling is as diverse as infants are themselves.
Looks: Let’s face it—your baby needs to be cute to make it as a model. Still, while every parent believes their child is the most photogenic one in the world, there’s more to modeling than just an adorable appearance.
Temperament: A significant factor to consider is your baby’s temperament. Does your infant remain calm in new or unfamiliar environments? Are they comfortable with strangers or being held by someone other than close family? A happy disposition, adaptability, and patience—especially during long shoots and waits—are key.
Ability to commit: Another consideration is your own readiness and commitment. Modeling may require traveling and unpredictable schedules. Parents also need patience as they navigate through shoots, castings, and auditions.
Reasons: It’s worth reflecting on your reasons for pursuing this path. If it’s purely for fun, exposure, or a unique experience, that’s one thing; but banking on your child for a steady income might lead to undue pressure. Above all, it’s crucial to ensure that the experience remains positive for your child, prioritizing their well-being and happiness over any gig or opportunity.
Headshots serve as the introductory glimpse that agencies and casting directors get of your little one. Unlike adult models or actors, the requirements for infant headshots are less stringent but still demand attention to detail, including:
- Natural light: The best photos are often taken in soft, natural light. Morning or late-afternoon sunlight can create a gentle glow that accentuates your baby’s features without harsh shadows.
- Neutral background: Opt for a plain backdrop, like a white or off-white wall, which guarantees the focus will remain solely on your baby.
- Minimal distractions: Dress your baby in simple, solid-colored outfits. Avoid logos, overly bold patterns, and accessories that might detract from the main focus: your child’s face.
- Variety: Include a close-up of your baby’s face and a full-body shot. Capturing different expressions—such as a smile, a curious look, or even their neutral face—can offer a comprehensive view of your child’s range.
- Current: Babies change rapidly during their first few years. Update headshots every few months so they accurately represent your baby’s current appearance.
- No over-editing: While it’s tempting to use photo filters or editing tools, it’s essential to present a genuine image of your baby. Mild corrections for lighting or color are acceptable, but avoid altering facial features or removing natural characteristics like baby acne or drool.
Hiring a professional photographer will give you high-quality shots, but it’s not always necessary, especially when you and your baby are just starting out. With a good camera and the right setting, you can capture perfect headshots at home.
Remember, the primary aim of a headshot is to show your baby’s authentic self. Keep it genuine, and let your child’s natural charm shine through.
Diving into the world of baby modeling begins with preparation and research. Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting the stage for your little one:
1. Take photos. While your baby doesn’t need a formal portfolio initially, having a few high-quality, natural photos can make a difference. Images should capture your baby’s personality without the distractions of props or fancy clothing. Remember, agencies are interested in seeing your child’s natural look.
2. Submit to casting databases. Our comprehensive casting database includes calls for baby modeling and audition opportunities.
3. Sign with an agency. Look for reputable agencies that have a track record with infant modeling. Verify they’re licensed and have good reviews from other parents. Always be wary of agencies that ask for upfront fees.
4. Build a portfolio. Even if your child is just starting out, creating a modeling portfolio that includes basic details, any previous shoots, and skills (like “giggles on cue” or “loves the camera”) can be helpful.
5. Stay updated. Join online forums and communities dedicated to child modeling. These platforms can provide insights, casting calls, and experiences that help guide your journey.
6. Be wary of scams. Unfortunately, the modeling industry isn’t immune to scams. Stay cautious of agencies that demand high upfront fees or push for expensive photo sessions with specific photographers. A legitimate agency earns its revenue through commissions from jobs it books for your child, not from fees charged to the models.
7. Be patient. Just like any other industry, baby modeling has its own share of rejections. It’s essential to understand that rejection isn’t a reflection on your baby’s charm but might be related to specific requirements of a project.
8. Maintain your child’s health and well-being. Ensure your baby is well-rested, fed, and in good health before any shoot. Always have a familiar toy or a comfort item on hand for assurance.
Securing representation for your baby is a significant milestone. Agencies act as the bridge between your child and potential employers, confirming that opportunities are aligned with your baby’s best interests. Here’s how to navigate the process:
1. Follow submission guidelines. Each agency has its own set of submission guidelines. Some might ask for digital submissions, while others might prefer mailed photographs. Always provide what’s specifically requested. Include updated headshots and a brief cover letter or introduction.
2. Attend open calls. Many agencies conduct open calls (or go-sees) where they meet with prospective models in person. It’s a chance for agents to interact with your baby and assess their comfort level in a new environment.
3. Interview. Once an agency expresses interest, they might schedule an interview. This is an opportunity for both parties to get a feel for each other.
4. Sign a contract. If all goes well, the agency will offer a contract. Thoroughly review any agreement, and consider seeking legal counsel or advice to understand the terms fully.
5. Maintain communication. Once signed, establish open communication channels with your agent. Keep them updated with new photos and any significant changes in your baby’s availability.
6. Stay flexible and patient. The modeling world is competitive, and jobs may not roll in immediately. Trust the process, maintain a positive attitude, and remember that every audition or casting call is a learning experience for both you and your baby.
Deciding on the right age to introduce your child to the world of modeling can be a point of contemplation for many parents. The truth is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but several factors can guide your decision:
Industry demand: Brands often seek babies as young as newborns for certain campaigns, especially those that market to new parents or focus on infant-specific products. However, the majority of opportunities arise for babies in the six month to one year range, as they can sit up, exhibit a range of facial expressions, and interact more with their surroundings.
Baby’s temperament: Some babies are naturally more sociable, adaptable, and calm in unfamiliar settings from an early age, making them suitable candidates for modeling gigs. Others might benefit from waiting until they’re a bit older and can better cope with new environments and people.
Parental readiness: It’s not just about the baby’s age but also the parents’ preparedness. Are you ready to commit to the unpredictable schedules, travel demands, and the rigors of the industry? Can you provide a stress-free environment for your child during shoots or auditions?
Health considerations: It’s advisable for newborns and very young infants to avoid crowded places due to health risks, especially during certain seasons or in particular regions. If considering modeling for a newborn, confirm the environment is safe and sanitary.
Career span: The baby modeling phase is fleeting. As babies grow quickly, their look evolves, which might or might not align with what brands are seeking. Starting earlier could give your child a longer stint in baby modeling, but it’s always essential to ensure the timing aligns with what’s best for the baby and family.
Embarking on the baby modeling journey comes with its own set of challenges and triumphs. Here are some succinct tips and techniques to help your infant shine:
Stay natural. Let babies be babies. Natural expressions, moods, and actions are what brands often seek.
Comfort first. Always prioritize your child’s comfort, making sure they’re well-fed, rested, and in familiar or cozy attire for shoots.
Use props. Familiar toys or a favorite blanket can help soothe and engage your baby during shoots.
Practice. At home, get your baby accustomed to the camera’s flash and the process of posing by making it a fun game.
Remain calm. Babies pick up on parental energy. Keeping calm and staying positive can influence your child’s mood.
Be ready to adapt. Flexibility is vital. Plans might change, moods might shift; always be prepared for the unpredictable.
Celebrate every moment. Whether it’s a successful gig or a learning experience, cherish each step of the journey.
Much like the adult modeling world, pay for baby models can vary widely based on the brand, as well as the location, duration, and nature of a project. Rates can range from $50 an hour for smaller local gigs to upwards of $500 for national commercials or print campaigns.
Typically, modeling agencies take a commission, usually between 10–20% of the total earnings. Always clarify this up front when signing a contract. If the brand wishes to use the images or video for extended periods or wider distributions (like national campaigns), the pay will generally be higher. For commercials or projects with repeated airings or reproductions, baby models might earn residuals, which are additional payments made for each subsequent use.
Selecting the right agency can set the tone for your baby’s modeling career, ensuring they’re presented with the best opportunities while also safeguarding their interests. Over the years, several agencies have established themselves as leaders in infant and child modeling, including:
- Babes ’N Beaus: Based in Atlanta and Chicago, this agency has carved a niche for itself in baby and child modeling, representing talent for both local and national campaigns.
- Bensimon Models & Talent: This SoCal agency retains a boutique feel while being instrumental in launching the careers of children.
- Future Faces: This agency, with offices in NYC and Miami, has been instrumental in casting babies for numerous films, TV shows, commercials, and print campaigns.
- Wilhelmina Kids & Teens: A subsidiary of the renowned Wilhelmina Models, this agency specializes in young talent, representing newborns through teenagers.