A Newbie’s Guide to Baby Modeling
You know you have the cutest baby ever, right? The almost exceeded storage limit on your phone proves it. Everyone tells you that your baby has the best smile and is photogenic. That’s when you have an “ah-ha” moment, “Maybe my sweet pea can be a baby model?” But, when it comes to baby modeling, it’s a little more involved than just snapping a few pics before naptime. Modeling for babies is not child’s play; it’s a business, and just like any other business, you need to know the ins and outs if you want your experience to be successful.
Before baby strikes a pose in front of a professional lens you need to get people to see pictures of baby, preferably people in the baby modeling business. Whether you go the agency route or take another approach, you’re going to want to put baby’s best face forward.
- Submitting Pictures. While you don’t need to get professional photos taken to start in baby modeling, you shouldn’t scroll through your phone and just pick any old shot. You want to take pictures that show off baby’s best assets. Top children’s modeling agent and photographer Nina Lubarda Stropnik of Future Faces NYC says a child’s personality should shine through the picture. “We are always looking for beautiful or unique face features such as big bright eyes, high cheekbones, great smiles, clear skin and a great personality,” says Lubarda Stropnik. Some tips include not using hats or any kind of makeup in your pre-baby model pics. Also make sure baby’s hair is out of his or her eyes so your infant’s entire face is showing.
- Attitude Is Everything. Besides looking cute and being photogenic, a baby model needs to have a good attitude. If baby is temperamental, sitting for a photo shoot may be next to impossible, and unfortunately no amount of cuteness can compensate for that. Perhaps baby modeling is not his or her calling!
- Do Your Homework. Seeing that baby can’t speak up, you need to be his or her spokesperson. This means knowing where to go. “Parents should submit photos to model agencies which are specialized for children and baby modeling,” says Lubarda Stropnik. Don’t waste time with places that won’t be able to help you on your baby or infant modeling mission.
You wouldn’t walk into a new job not knowing how much you were going to make. The same rule applies to baby modeling. The pay rate for a baby model varies with the gig. Hourly rates range from $25 to $75 an hour, and if baby scores a “super gig” they may receive $125 an hour. But don’t get too excited—that’s not standard. Fifty dollars an hour is more the median rate.
There are different routes to go to sign up baby for infant modeling. You can try one or a couple depending on how aggressive you want to be.
- Baby Modeling Contest. Finding a contest is as easy as googling one. Many times big name companies like Gerber and Gap sponsor annual contests looking for the next fresh face. If you submit your baby’s picture in one of these contests, you can ask friends and family to vote for your baby so she can become the next baby model.
- Open Casting Calls. This requires time and effort on your part. Keeping eyes and ears open is a big part of getting on board one of these baby modeling trains.
- Baby Modeling Agencies. Just as actors and actresses have agents to help them land gigs, so do baby models. Remember all of those great pictures you took? Send them off to several agencies. “All of the major baby campaign requests are sent by companies or casting directors to agencies,” says Lubarda Stropnik. Baby will get more gigs if she is “represented by a reliable model agency which works with the main baby brands,” according to Lubarda Stropnik.
Before you get swept up in all of the excitement of baby modeling, keep a mama bear eye out for scams. If it seems too good to be true that’s probably because it is. Always trust that parent’s intuition especially when it comes to business with your baby.
Once you’ve decided to take the agent route, the next question is what are the top baby modeling agencies? Take a look at this guide from The Bump to find the right one for your aspiring baby model.
John Casablancas Modeling & Acting Agency. Established in 1987, John Casablancas is the premier modeling agency in Connecticut.
Pros: The agency has ongoing relationships with more than 400 Connecticut companies. Clients have been featured in Target ads as well as ads for Eastern Mountain Sports and Eblens.
Cons: If you’re looking for an agency that is strictly for baby models, this is not the one. The agency also serves teens and adults.
Contact: For more information on getting your child to become a baby model, you can fill out an online form or call the agency at 860-563-5959.
Future Faces NYC. Future Faces NYC has an excellent reputation as being one of the top children exclusive agencies for baby modeling.
Pros: Future Faces is a “boutique agency,” meaning it carefully hand picks each model with the certainty of success.
Cons: Because of its reputation, the agency receives hundreds of submissions daily, so competition is fierce!.
Contact: For more information, e-mail Future Faces at email@example.com or call 212-203-6898.
Model Scouts. With decades of experience, Model Scouts of New York City has placed clients with big name companies like Vogue and Marie Claire.
Pros: There are a lot of success stories to come out of this agency like placements for the winner of America’s Next Top Model.
Cons: Besides receiving a high volume of applicants, this agency does not specialize in baby models, but still places them frequently.
Contact: To get started you can fill out an online form and upload photos. The agency can be reached at 888-888-0512.
Wilhelmina Kids & Teens. Wilhelmina’s routes can be traced back to 1967 when it was founded by Dutch supermodel Wilhelmina Cooper. Wilhelmina Kids & Teens in New York City represents newborns to teenagers, making it a good choice for baby modeling.
Pros: Wilhelmina is a big name and carries a lot of prestige. Being repped by this agency is a big deal.
Cons: Everyone wants to be represented by the best, so competition is fierce. Bring baby’s A-game!
Contact: Your best bet is to submit online. You could always go the snail mail route, but why waste time?
Paloma Model & Talent. A family-owned and operated business, Paloma Model & Talent is run by two sisters in Southern California.
Pros: The agency is on the smaller side, providing more personalized attention. Even better? The owners are mothers who can relate to many parents’ concerns about baby modeling.
Cons: The agency is rather new, having been established in 2011. Some parents looking to get their babies started in the industry may see this as a drawback.
Contact: Paloma Model & Talent is extremely eco-friendly, so nearly all submissions are done electronically through an online form.
Expert: Nina Lubarda Stropnik, Agent Children, Babies & Teen modeling at Future Faces NYC / Nina Lubarda Model Management