September 11, 2018

How To Get Into Child Modelling (UK)

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After I shared photos of Isaac modelling for Next a few weeks back, I had lots of messages and general curiosity asking me how I got him into it. I had always liked the idea of seeing him on print for brands on the high street and luckily for me, I had a couple of friends who already had their babies doing some modelling and were generous enough to take me through the steps. 

Isaac had quite bad baby eczema when he was born which didn't disappear until around 4 months, so prior to that, modelling would have been out of the question. 

At 7 months old, I sent off his applications to 5 different modelling companies and he had offers to sign him up from 4. We ended up choosing Kids London and were signed with them, but it wasn't meant to be. After being on their books for almost a year, Isaac had zero shoots and had only been to one casting, and communication with the team was frustrating for me so I made the decision to switch agencies.

Isaac is now with Bruce + Brown and has been since February this year. He's had lots of opportunity through them which I am so grateful for! 

If you are interested in getting your kids signed up to do modelling, here's what you'll need to do. 

Take Good Photos
The photos that you take of your child does not need to be from a fancy camera, and please do not spend money taking them to get it professionally done, it really isn't necessary. Have your child wear a plain top and photo them against a plain wall or floor. Zero distraction is key, as is good bright lighting. 

Wipe the lens clean and have a steady hand when you take the photos - blurry photos will not do you any favours. You'll need to take some close up head shots and then a full length body shot too. I'd say pick 2-3 of each head and body shot for your final images to use. Don't mess around with filters or do any editing to the photos and leave them natural.   

Here are some of the photos I submitted for Isaac, and the more recent ones are monthly updates for his agency.

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Choose Your Agency
As mentioned before, I whittled down to my top 5 agencies and emailed them all the selected photos of Isaac with a covering note of his full name, date of birth and present age, gender, height in cm and shoe size. I also included my name, address, and telephone number too. The agency you choose to submit your application for will have all the contact information on their website and any thing else they may want you to include. 

The agencies I used for Isaac were:
-Bruce + Brown
-Kids London
-Sandra Reynolds
-Ora
-Grace + Galor

All these agencies are sole agencies which means you can only have them as your agent and not accept other work you see elsewhere. I chose these ones in particular as there are no sign up fees with them and they only take a commission once your child has been booked onto a job and paid for it. There are plenty of scam agencies around, and any that ask for anything more for £150 for fees and photos should be well researched into. 

It's well worth noting that top end agencies will take longer to reply you than the newer and larger agencies, so wait a few weeks before you make a final decision on who to sign up with. If the agency isn't interested in your child (harsh I know!) you won't hear from them. 

I follow a few other mums of child models on Instagram having met them all at shoots, and some are with these following agencies:
-Kiddiwinks
-Tiny Angels

There is a closed group on Facebook called Child Modelling Advice/Help Group UK which has more info on agencies and all sorts of helpful advice. You'll need to request permission to join though.  

Being Committed!
This one shocked me a bit but once the jobs started rolling in, I found it super tough to get on morning rush hour trains with a toddler to get to castings and shoots. It's not unusual to get a call time of 9am and you don't get to choose your time slots, it's an expectation that you will be able to turn up to the job on time if you agreed to it in the first place.

Once on set, I found it physically exhausting to try and get Isaac to co-operate for the photographer. He's had separation anxiety since 16 months and getting him to stand in a spot full of strangers was a real challenge. It involves lots of running around, singing songs, putting him on the spot and running off so that I don't ruin the photos, and I am usually dripping in sweat by the time they get the photos they need. He's gotten better with the more shoots we do, and if it's a studio he's been to before, he tends to be less scared and will do fine on set. 

I'm lucky that as a full time mum my times are quite flexible, but many mums (and dads) who take their child in for a shoot work as well and need to arrange for time off work etc, and sometimes at very short notice. This can eat into your annual leave, so do give it some consideration on how your timings might work if you want your child to do modelling.   

You need to look out for the photos yourself on the clients website as they don't usually send you any of the photos but when you do spot them, it is the most surreal and proudest few minutes of your life! I may be biased, but just look at how cute he is! 

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Do come and follow me on Instagram for more of Isaac's photo as and when they come out. To date, he's done almost 10 shoots for Next and is now in the Next lookbook online. He's also done a shoot for John Lewis and Sainsbury's which are yet to come out. 

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