Is Your Baby Fit To Be A Model?
First, you need to know the qualities that make a successful baby model. Being adorable isn’t the only requirement – casting agencies look for other important qualities, like the following:
Naturally, baby models have to be, well, infants. They need to be anywhere between three months to two years old. Toddlers fall under a completely different category.
Babies can often be friendly to family members but uncomfortable with strangers. Still, for them to become models, they need to be fine with being held by adults they’re not familiar with. Casting agencies specifically look for kids who smile to anyone who interacts with them.
Any parent knows that it’s hard to make rugrats stay still to have their nappy changed. What if they have to stay still for hours during a commercial shoot?
Photographers and directors want to work with kids with the right temperament. The baby has to have a bubbly personality, but they shouldn’t be too rowdy.
Baby models need a parent who can bring them to auditions and shoots. If both parents are busy and can’t bring their precious one to auditions, modelling agencies usually give the talent a pass.
How To Get Your Little Star Into Modelling
Now that you know which qualities modelling agencies look for, let’s submit a portfolio. Believe it or not, this is easier said than done.
Pictures need to be of professional quality. The child’s features should be clear and not obscured by accessories like sunglasses or hats. Costumes are unnecessary but make sure children are fully clothed.
A simple, clear, and well-lit photo of your precious one wearing casual clothing will suffice. They also need to have a beautiful, bright smile. Submit these images to the modelling agencies through their websites.
Expect to receive requests for updated photos every time you apply for work. A baby’s appearance changes quickly, so the photos on your portfolio may not reflect your little one’s features after a few weeks or months.
Choosing A Baby Modelling Agency
Choosing the right modelling agency is the key to success. But before you sign a contract, know that there are agencies that charge parents exorbitant fees to prepare a portfolio for their little ones. They can also charge a hefty registration fee, though there are reputable agencies that allow your baby to join for free.
When looking for a company to represent your little one, ask them about their clients, agent fees, and commissions. In general, they will take about 20% of your baby’s income or more. Most companies also charge an annual membership fee. Make sure you know about all the fees and know that you’re comfortable paying them before you seal the deal.
Ask talent agencies about their payment terms, as well. Some companies only send payments every six months.
To get you started, here are some reputable agencies that are regularly hired by big brands and production companies:
1. Bambini Models - NSW, QLD
Bambini Models is one of the largest and most well-respected child modelling agency in Australia. The company represents about 500 clients.
2. Bettina Management - VIC, NS, WA, QLD
Bettina Management has a 25-year history of working with Australia’s largest brands in lifestyle and fashion. Their talents have worked with Colgate and Target.
3. Brats Model Management - NSW, QLD, VIC
Brats Model Management is a talent agency that works with advertising and production companies. They’ve worked with Bonds, Osh Kosh, Puma, and Target.
4. Bubblegum Casting - VIC
Since 1981, Bubblegum Casting has been representing child actors and models. They’ve served famous brands like Huggies and Nike.
5. Mostly Kids - National
Mostly Kids is a talent agency that supplies talents to clients who want to book kids for commercials, parades and catalogues. The company’s clients include McDonald’s, Maggi Noodles and Harris Scarfe.
Work Opportunities for Babies
Getting signed with an agency is just the first step. You and your baby need to work together to secure contracts. This means attending auditions regularly.
Talent agencies can help your baby land modelling gigs for product catalogues. Advertising companies also hire children to model for TV commercials.
Tired of attending casting calls but never hearing back? Winning competitions can give your child a significant advantage in future castings. One example is the Bonds Baby Search, an annual contest that gives the winner a professional photoshoot and a chance to star in a video campaign.
Once you’ve secured jobs for your baby, take note of the special laws that exist to protect their welfare. In Australia, those under three years old can work a maximum of four hours a day, three days a week.
How Much Can Your Child Earn?
Baby models earn about $USD58.20 (or $AUD85) an hour for catalogue work, and they can earn about $USD6,800 (or $AUD10,000) for television commercials.
All the money they earn must go to a bank account in their name. Note that agencies will require you to apply for a tax file number for your child. You’ll also need to provide tax file declaration forms.
Aside from tax filings, you’ll also need to secure child employment permits. Usually, these permits will be sent to you by your modelling agency once your baby has been cast for a job.
Fame, Fortune and Fun, Here We Come
Baby modelling is a real job for both the child and the parent. You have to attend photoshoots, maintain your child’s portfolio, and supervise your precious bundle of joy each time they’re in a studio.
But don’t let this scare you. Baby modelling can be a fun activity for your child, and it can also help them grow a savings account for when they’re older.