Modelling for babies and toddlers sounds glamorous and well paid, but the reality can be hard on parents.
Baby and toddler models are needed throughout the year to help sell products and services on TV, websites and magazines. For the lucky few, it’s a lucrative head start for young adulthood later on.
And for those whose children are born performers, it’s another source of income and experience on set.
However, it’s a difficult industry which has high expectations of parents and only chooses a small selection of youngsters on offer.
Read on to find out whether this is the right path for you to pursue with your tiny loved one.
Is Your Baby or Toddler Right For Modelling Work?
Firstly, your infant has to be photogenic. That usually means big eyes, a rounded head, clear skin and plenty of hair.
The industry continues to diversify, with ethnic minority babies offered more opportunities than ever enjoyed before. In addition, commercial campaigns sometimes seek toddlers with visible disabilities.
However, it’s your baby’s personality which makes the difference.
Modelling work with babies necessitates lots of photographic equipment, products, and a team of busy people. It’s a bright, noisy and unpredictable environment.
But the images which sell are those showing happy, carefree infants, full of joy and sparkle.
A shy baby frightened by the lights and crying for its nearby mother is no good to a time-pressured group of professionals watching their schedule slip.
Cheerful, confident youngsters who laugh when strangers shake unfamiliar toys at them in an alien environment quickly give photographers the images they need.
How Do Babies & Toddlers Get Modelling Work?
Increasingly, social media platforms and casting sites source babies and toddlers for jobs. Tread carefully, though, as some of these are financial scams, while others are sourcing children for far less than the market rates (or for free, with you covering your costs).
Even the occasional predator lurks behind a well written casting brief.
Babies and toddlers usually get work through a reputable modelling agency, especially the selective ones which vet the infants and their families before offering representation.
It can be hard to get accepted by these agencies. Many receive thousands of applications in the short time their books open.
So if you apply to an agency which rings you within 24 hours, tells you your baby definitely has what the industry needs, hints at the opportunities waiting, and then asks for upfront fees and costs – that’s a big red flag suggesting they are more interested in your money than your baby’s modelling potential!
Model Castings For Babies And Toddlers
Modelling agencies see industry briefs – like an advert, but for a small, specific audience – asking for babies and toddlers of specified measurements and looks.
The agents identify everyone in their books matching the requirements. Then they check that parents haven’t blocked out availability on the agency calendar, and submit the baby’s profile link.
The casting team review the large number of submitted profiles. Then they determine potential candidates for the job.
Sometimes the selection stops here, with successful babies booked straight away. That’s known as a straight job.
More often, a group of candidates are called into casting studios. Parents may or may not receive a small, flat fee towards travel costs, regardless of the distance or costs involved.
Only some – or even one – of the youngsters called into the casting room then books the job.
The other families rarely hear anything further. That’s hard to cope with for multiple reasons, from the rejection of your child through to the money spent on travel fares and new outfits.
Balancing Work And Baby Modelling
As the parent of a baby or toddler model, you’ll find this role a part time job in itself – with little promise of any income.
Firstly, you’ll be securing model agency representation or finding sources for opportunities.
Secondly, it’s your responsibility to regularly provide up to date photos showing a true likeness of your baby as they are right now. Sometimes that means a trip to a photographer’s studio too.
Next, you’ll complete measurement cards, updated every month.
Then you’ll also do a daily check of your own and family upcoming commitments.
Every single day that you have plans preventing your baby attending a casting or shoot MUST be identified on the agency calendar – without exception.
Model agency submissions won’t usually involve you until someone wants to see your baby.
Consequently, you’ll be lucky to get more than a day’s notice of a casting. Then you’re expected to arrive in central London with a well fed, well rested, beautifully turned out baby.
Your baby must never work without the correct local authority checks on each modelling assignment. If a job is booked, you’ll exchange several emails, complete forms and upload documents as the licence is arranged.
Finally, on the day of the job, it’s again your role to transport and chaperone your baby, also bringing all the items requested.
So think this all through carefully. That’s a lot of organisation, with sudden travel and time demands. How does this fit in with your own employment and family responsibilities?