Photographing children makes up a large portion of my photography business, and I'm happy about that because they are one of my favorite subjects. They're cute, silly, happy (most of the time); they have clear skin and bright eyes; and they are pretty much open to anything...as in, they haven't developed much of the self-consciousness that creeps up on us as we grow older.
Do You Think My Child Could Be A Model?
Most of the time during a session my back is turned to the parents as I'm photographing their child, but when I turn around, I see that glimmer of hope and wonder in their eyes as they watch their adorable little one smile perfectly for my camera. They know I shoot a lot of covers for BaystateParent Magazine because they are all over my studio and facebook page, and then they ask, " Do you think my child could be a model?"
Some things to consider before diving in head first:
- Is your child shy or outgoing?
- Does your child take direction from adults well?
- Does your child really want to model?
- Does your child like having his/her photo taken or do they have a meltdown whenever they see a camera pointed at them?
I only see a child for maybe 45 minutes, so my answer many times is, "Yes, it's possible that your child could become a model" because it is possible. Anything is possible; however, the bigger question is "Do you really want your child to be a model?"
Do You Really Want Your Child To Be A Model?
The world of modeling seems pretty glamorous, right? Who wouldn't like traveling to exotic places, wearing beautiful clothing, having your hair and makeup professionally done, and looking your best in every photo? Sounds fantastic, right? It does to me, BUT I'm a grown woman. To a child, much of this doesn't matter. They are more concerned with when they will get their next snack or be able to play outside.
Many parents love the end result: cute photos of their kids. What they don't always consider is the behind-the-scenes to achieve those photos. Finding the shoots, scheduling the shoots, setting up the shoots, waiting around the set while everything is perfected, sitting still for hair and makeup, and then cooperating with the photographer after sitting and waiting for so long. It can be a long and tiring day, and many children aren't cut out for it.
In the beginning, many child models work for free or for very little money. For all of the time that you and your child invest, the monetary payout may not be very much, if anything at all. Many times, you will be spending much more money than you make (think modeling agent, comp cards, travel, etc...all of which I will cover in upcoming segments of this series).
Another factor is do you want your child's photo everywhere? While it may seem amazing at first, your child's photo could be in print and all over the internet and social media outlets. In the photography world, there has been a lot of controversy lately over what is appropriate to show of our children. Is the clothing and posing appropriate for their age? In 10 years, will your child have a problem with their photos being on the internet?
All of the above aside, modeling isn't all bad and can be a very rewarding experience. There certainly is money to be made in the industry. You and your son or daughter may love seeing their modeling photos everywhere, and it may open up other amazing opportunities for them such as commercials, acting, and scholarships. Modeling can also be a great way for your child to discover self-confidence.
Want To Give the Child Model Thing A Try?
One of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give is don't spend a TON of money on your child's modeling portfolio in the beginning. If you've done any investigating into the world of child modeling, you've probably heard about the casting calls where they tell you that your child is PERFECT for them and all you need to do is pay them $3000 and your phone will be ringing off the hook with jobs. NOT TRUE! I will be discussing modeling agencies in a future post, but until then, don't fall for this scam.
If you don't want to spend a lot of money, and you want to test the child modeling waters, BaystateParent Magazine will be holding a Cover Model Contest. You can view all of the details and rules here: Cover Model Search. For just $25, you can get a taste of the child modeling action. I will be the photographer on Friday, April 24, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Mall at Whitney Field, Leominster
Have Child Modeling Questions?
If you have any child modeling questions, please ask them in the comments, and I'll be sure to answer them in an upcoming segment.
Shawna Shenette is a Premier Massachusetts Child Model Photographer. Her work can be seen in BaystateParent Magazine, PurePetites Magazine, Bride and Groom, Chic Critique, and many other prestigious publications. She specializes in newborn photography, child photography, maternity photography, family photography and wedding photography in Central MA, Worcester County, Boston and surrounding areas.