Choosing a career in child or teen modelling can be a great stepping stone for a child who may want a career in the industry. It’s also a great way to build self-confidence, make new friends, and of course, save a few dollars for the future. But you know what no one tells you about child modelling? For beginners (and their parents) it can be super confusing.
From contracts to taking time off from school, there are just so many things you need to know about that sometimes it’s just too much.
With this in mind we’ve put together a few tips for beginners to modelling that we’ve gleaned from decades in the business. And this is not your usual ‘look at the camera and smile’ type of advice. It’s the things that we have learned from signing and booking work for thousands of kids. In short, it’s the real deal. The advice that’s going to help you or your child make it through the first nerve-wracking stages of their fledgling career.
Find an agency that rocks
We don’t just mean one that’s cool with a nice office and a young and hip vibe. We mean one that is also well-known for helping the kids on their books find modelling jobs with internationally recognised brands. Most importantly though, we mean an agency that really cares about the kids on their books and pulls out all the stops to prepare them for a life on the catwalk.
If you’re unsure about the agency or you get any kind of bad vibe either on the phone or when you visit in person, then just walk away. Remember, that you and your child will be working with the agency for at least a year and the last thing you want is to have your child represented by someone you’re not quite happy with.
Work even when you’re not working
Now we’re not suggesting that you spend your whole life obsessing over looks and poses, but if you’re bored and have nothing to do (we know all the parents are laughing right now) whip out the camera and get shooting.
Most photographers will tell you that the best photos of kids are when they’re acting natural, so what you want to do is make your child comfortable in front of a camera. Of course, they’re going to have to smile and look at the camera (yes we know we said it wasn’t that type of advice!) so make sure they’re comfortable doing so.
This may seem like a ridiculously simple tip but you’d be surprised at how many kids freeze when the photographer asks them to do something. So get your photography hat on and role play photo shoots with your child as often as you can.
Don’t work with people your child doesn’t like
Okay, so this will fly in the face of A LOT of advice out there but we genuinely think that if a person on the shoot is making your child feel uncomfortable, then you shouldn’t work with them again. Get the job finished and tell your agent about your concerns.
It doesn’t matter if this person is the most famous photographer in the world or the CEO of a major brand, if your child doesn’t feel comfortable around them, you don’t have to work with them again.
But don’t mistake shyness for insecurity. A shy child who is a beginner to modelling will usually warm up over the course of a shoot whereas an uncomfortable child will tell you after the shoot that they’re unhappy. Like we said earlier, if your agency cares about their kids like they should do, they’ll put your child’s happiness and welfare first.
Take food to every modelling shoot
We did say these tips were unconventional, right? Everyone knows that there’s nothing worse than working on an empty stomach and if there’s no food at the shoot, you can’t just leave your child there and pop out to pick up some snacks.
Bring plenty of food with you to the shoot but make sure it’s healthy, non-sticky food. Bread or fruit are a good idea but NO JAM! We don’t want sticky fingers messing up the client’s clothes or your child’s hair and makeup. Oh and don’t forget to bring your own water just in case.
Practice hair and makeup
This might sound weird as you will never have to do hair and makeup yourself at a shoot. However, the thing is that your child may have to spend quite some time sitting still while they get their hair done. And this is often the time when a kid’s patience can run out and if we’re honest, we totally understand how they feel.
Having said that, they still need to know that getting ready for the shoot is just as important as the shoot itself and that sitting still is a big part of that. Parents can be a huge help here as they can keep reinforcing this idea at home so that when the shoot comes, your little model is ready to get ready.
Learn about constructive criticism
This is a big one, especially for kids. There will be times during a shoot when a photographer isn’t quite happy with how a shot or pose looks. They’ll look to change things up or give instructions to a child to do something differently. All pretty simple so far, right?
The issue some kids have here is that they may feel that they’re doing something wrong. They may not understand what constructive criticism is and could feel upset that they’re not getting it right the first time. As a parent, you can teach your child that photographers need to test a variety of shots and that when something doesn’t work out, it’s not necessarily anything to do with their modelling skills.
It’s also important that as a parent, you learn to accept this too. Child modelling be just as challenging for parents as it is for children. But it pays to remember that most of the crew on a shoot are working under the pressure of a deadline. They want your child to succeed just as much as you do, so treat any criticism as an opportunity for your child to improve their skills.
So there you have it. Not quite the ‘practice your smile in front of the camera’ advice you’ll get elsewhere but we have to say, it’s just as important.
Oh and one last thing!
Remember that while child modelling and teen modelling can be fun, at the end of the day, it’s a job that takes hard work and the right attitude. Put in the effort and who knows where this adventure will take you.
If you think your child has what it takes to make it in the world of modelling, then we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch to find out when our next open casting event takes place in your city or Apply Now to join the Bubblegum family.