Monday, May 23, 2011

Tuesday Tip #2: Breaking Into Baby Modeling

If you are a regular reader, you know that both my boys do a little baby modeling.  I often get asked how we learn about auditions and how we got started.  Here are a few quick tips for breaking in.

  1. DO NOT spend money for professional headshots or pay any money AT ALL to an agent!  Reputable agencies will never ask you for money, and one agency specifically asked for non-professional shots.  It is standard for the agent to take 20% of the child's earnings, but that is taken AFTER the child has worked.
  2. When you send pictures to an agency, make sure the baby is looking directly at the camera, you see their full face, and they are not wearing a hat or holding any other props.  
  3. After sending pictures to an agency, if you do not hear anything back after a couple months, try again.  I was told by our current agent that they get thousands of pictures every month and only go through them once a month.  When they do go through them, they are looking for something very specific.  For example, the current blue-eyed, bald baby is getting older, so they need a replacement to send on calls for that "type" of baby. 

This model mommy was really great for my self-esteem!  But at least she was super sweet and helped me make sure none of the cake actually made it into his mouth.  About 2 inches outside of the frame, I am standing behind JD propping the stupid hat on his head and keeping his hands away from his face.  Oh, and I had to watch a you-tube video on my phone to figure out how to pin on the old-school cloth diaper because the wardrobe lady had no clue.

JD was a mini-celebrity in Target when people saw me snapping this pic.

A few things to know up front:
  1. It is not all "Toddlers & Tiaras".  I have never seen fake anything on a child at any of the go-sees or jobs.  All of the moms I have met are very down-to-earth and friendly, and most sets are very low key.
  2. Most print jobs pay $100/hr and last less than 2 hours, which sounds great, but you also have to factor in the time and cost of getting them to the job, the go-see, and sometimes a call back.  Larger commercial or TV jobs require special permits, bank accounts, and much more time, but the pay is much better.  And don't forget the agent takes 20%.  
  3. EVERYTHING is done last minute.  Most times we get a call in the evening about go-see the next day.  
  4. We have never been able to keep any of the clothes or toys from a shoot.  The best perks are the catering, but sometimes that is for the crew only.  
  5. We probably have only seen 1/3 of the work JD has done.  Sometimes a shot is used that he wasn't in, they re-shoot it at a later date, or they scrap the idea all together.  Sometimes the shoot is for company materials and is never public or they are a foreign/out-of-state company.  The agency doesn't know (or care) what the pictures are used for, and I am always hunting them down.  
  6. You can always say no.  One audition we showed up for wanted me to make JD cry.  Another job asked if he could eat cake when he was just starting solids.  You are always the boss of your baby!
I searched for JD's face (or tush) in a Huggies ad for months before I tracked down somebody who told me these were his toes.
O had a ton of great pics in this wholesale catalog, but I can only see it online.

I could write a book about the things I have learned from going to auditions and jobs, so please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.


  1. Your baby is famous! I am totally going to look for JD at our Target every time I go.

    It's too bad we live in nowhereland and couldn't make it to NYC for shoots - because OBVIOUSLY my kids are adorable and could get hired all the time.

    When I was a kid, we lived on Long Island and went to church with a guy who directed/produced commercial and print advertising. He needed a bunch of blond haired blue eyed kids so encouraged my mom to get my sister and I into child modeling. I vaguely remember a few go-sees but my strongest memory is shooting a cover for a toy slushy machine box. I thought the slushy looked delicious and tried to eat a little bit...but of course they don't use REAL ice under the lights and I ended up eating some sort of plastic. Yeah, I was a kid but I was WAY too old to do something that dumb.

  2. @Suzanne How did I not know you lived on LI??? Where? And you could totally model with your kids! They are always looking for pretty mommy/child combos! (Just another reason to move to LI. haha)

  3. i am totally emailing this post to my husband! we ahve been talking about getting hendrix into modeling and this has inspired me to really pursue it! great post.

  4. My son was a preemie and at 3mnths he is barely 7-8lbs so every1 keeps telling me to get him into baby modeling or acting since he could look like a just born baby.. it sound cool but I'm still iffy.. do u think itsa good idea?! And also did u jus send pics to random agencies or.did u call.first??

  5. @meredithIf you are comfortable, go for it. I started just sending pictures, but a phone call could be a good idea for you, especially because your time when he can play a newborn is limited and an advantage! They may give you an email address to send pics to so they can see him sooner. A child being small for their age is always an advantage, especially for tiny babies and for toddlers (they will always hire a small 4-yr-old over an unpredictable 2/3-yr-old) Some places to start: Wilhelmina (where we are now), Generations (where we started), Product, and Ford. Those are the agencies I see most babies from at calls. Good luck! PS: If your preemie has any health issues, you may want to wait because they will be in crowded waiting rooms and handled by strangers who have been holding other babies all day.

  6. My daughters have done a little work, but pretty small potatoes. One was on a billboard and they were together in promo brochures for the same water park. Another gig, like you said, their pictures were never used...but due to a delay that kept us and another family's kids at the site until 11 -- season passes for the whole family to the amusement park.

    I love that you do this with your babies.

    I think I have seen your baby's feet.

    Happy SITS day.


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