I've worked in the industry for over ten years so it's only natural that I'd get Phoenix into modeling, Ummm no, it's not because of me and my own hard earned experience in modeling.....it's only natural because Phoenix has a lot of personality, bright eyes, a calm nature, loves people, has a positive, happy nature and is always smiling that makes it natural that I'd get him into modeling. Also he likes to be held by people beyond me and my husband, which is also helpful in baby modeling. It's not just about looks, it's about the persona and nature of the baby.
I know the industry. My baby has personality, it's kind of like a Mommy and Me pursuit. If we book that's AWESOME, if we don't then, oh well, we are still having fun together and with or without modeling we are enjoying life together laughing, learning, growing, reading, playing (and check out our baby book club blog here).
I also think it's great for Phoenix to be in a creative environment and around creative people.
With my own background in modeling I went to the agencies I knew. Print agencies I've worked with over the years and still work with. Just like when a shorter girl is looking for a modeing agency, it's the same ballgame, I'd look for a print modeling agency in your area that works with models of all ages. Many print modeling agencies have a kids division. You could reach out to the agents and ask if they work with babies your baby's age, or look at the website and you should be able to tell if there are photos of other babies they work with, the ages, the type of photos. Then the best thing to do is get your baby's digital photos together. Snap, Snap, Snap.
BABY DIGITALS TIPS
I sent digitals of Phoenix in outfits of all types and learned that a basic onesie is the way to go, so if you are interested in your baby modeling, get some basic, plain white onesies and snap off some pics. I emailed the agents low res jpegs, and on the website of most print modeling agencies it will tell you how to submit photos to the agents. Agents want digitals instead of professional portrait photos of your baby because babies change so much and so fast and when you start working with the agencies they will want fresh digitals often. So frame your professional portrait but send the digitals to the modeling agencies.
Just like in print modeling you should look at some baby ads, like for formula and the Gap.
Phoenix, at four and hald months, can now sit up pretty well himself, but just a month ago he was wobbly, so here's how I positioned him for the digital shots:
Bright Starts portable swing while taking digital photos of Phoenix. Phoenix can sit in it all relaxed, and without turning on the swaying motion I sway the swing with my hand and control when it swings back and forth while I make a happy sound to get the smile and stop/pause the swing with my hand to get a still shot, allwhile holding the digital camera ready. It can be tricky to hold the swing, hold the camera and keep everything looking pretty but that's the job of the baby-model-Mom. :)
You can lay your baby horizontally or vertically on the pillow.
*Laying on a blanket is also a good idea. It makes for a pretty shot and it's easy to do. Grab a blanket, cream, white, blue, simple, nothing with a crazy design or patterns, just basic like your onesie.
You want to show the light in your baby's eyes, so be aware of where the light is, and let your baby's personality shine, shine, shine! :)
Now Phoenix is sittting up pretty good on his own so I'm taking new digitals all the time of him and this week will be taking a few of him sitting and smiling.
BEING DIGITAL AND STAT READY
Just like many print modeling jobs for adults, with baby modeling castings and go-sees are last minute, so being available as a parent is key ( or perhaps your caregiver or nanny can help with it) being able to get to the casting with a day or less notice is how you book work.
Agencies ask their models to get them fresh digitals ASAP often so they can be submitted to the client on a weekly basis sometimes, the more recent the better. And in general you will need to and want to make sure you update your digitals at least once a month so the agency can submit photos of your baby in real-time.
Make sure when submitting photos they are at 72 DPI which is web size, I usually make images around 6 x 8 inches with a 72 DPI.
Also you will need to update your agency /agencies on the measurements of your baby. For retail clothing catalog jobs, fit modeling and jobs that require wearing a certain size of clothing you need to keep the agency updated on your baby's length, weight, hip, waist and chest measurements.
Your doctors appts. can tell you this but at home, more frequently you'll want to know your baby's measurements and I suggest getting a fabric measuring tape.
To weigh your baby, step on the scale and weigh yourself, then pick up your baby and see how much the scale changes. The additional weight is your baby's weight.
BABY MODEL CASTINGS
The Lowdown. For castings we don't need a comp card actually. Agencies have told us we don't need a comp card, but we can bring our portfolio if we want to the casting. Instead of a comp card, a 4 by 6 inch photo with the agency's info/sticker on the back can be handy to leave at the casting.
Have your onesie already on your baby before you arrive or be prepared to change your baby into one at the casting.
Usually Phoenix sleeps in the stroller and so he isn't fussy at the casting or modeling job, I make sure he gets in a nap before the casting, is fed, burped, changed and I wake him a few minutes before we arrive so he gets to wake up, I can get the sleep out of his eyes, clean his face and give him some snuggles and giggles and he's ready with his adorable smile already on when he arrives.
Leave early for the casting, you don't want to be in a rush and have your baby show up fussy because your stressed. Leave time for panic attacks and crying or a diaper change. In my opinion it's very important to be on time but also you don't want to show up with a wailing baby.
At the casting you could be in the room with your baby while some digital photos are taken of him or her, or your baby could be taken into the room with the photographer without you, and this allows the photogapher to see how the baby acts in front of the camera and without you. Your baby might have to be held by the "model Mom" during the job so the photographer and casting crew want to make sure your baby acts calm when being held by strangers. It's a good idea to have your baby used to be held by different people other than you. Read about one of our baby modeling casting adventures here.
YOU AND YOUR BABY ON THE JOB
You will find yourself being a cheerleader for your baby on the job. When we booked a job with a formula company I worked too. Meaning I was keeping Phoenix upbeat and happy throughout the job, fed, changed, smile ready. Okay getting him to smile wasn't hard, but this was the first time he had been on a photography set and was being held by his "model mom" for the day. He was happy being held and I stood by the photographer's shoulder to get Phoenix to look toward the camera and kept cheering Phoenix on, "Hey honey, Phoenix my love, look over here Champion." Over and over.
When the crew was deciding on the next pose, I got on set holding Phoenix and helped with positioning of the next shot.
Yes Moms, expect to be a part of the shoot and involved, at least to encourage your baby to smile. Your baby knows you best and the rest of the people at the shoot are strangers to your baby, and your enthusiasm is needed and appreciated.
At the formula shoot there was a diaper changing area but always have your own diaper pad with you and bring everything you'd bring for a full day because although your baby can only work on set for 2 hours it will most likely be spread out over 15-20 min sessions throughout what could be a 4-5 hour span or so.
Do you know the baby modeling labor laws?
No minor under 7 years of age shall be employed, used, exhibited or caused to be exhibited as a model for more than 2 hours in any 1 day and not more than 10 hours in any 1 week nor shall such minor be so employed, used, exhibited, or caused to be exhibited during the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.
Some Agencies in NYC for Baby Modeling
Future Faces NYC
Modeling agencies typically get 20% taken from your baby's paycheck so if the job pays $1000 expect your baby's check to read $800. I'd open a trust account for your baby since checks will be in your child's name and he/she can put the money toward college or their future career goals.
When your baby gets paid keep in mind it will be in your baby's name so open a custodial account for your baby.
BABY MODEL MOM LIFESAVERS
At castings you'll need onesies for your baby to wear too. The first casting we went to we were told for the baby to be in a onesie or t-shirt, and when you're baby is in front of the camera to limit distractions and keep the focus on your beautiful baby, a simple solid color or white onesie is best.
Clean face wipes
We use Johnson & Johnson Hand and Face Wipes.
Back up outfit
Always in the diaper bag anyways there is a back up outfit, cause you never know!
Beyond being for a newborn we have scratch mittens in our bag too, on the job and day before castings and when Phoenix sleeps we put them on him because he's very active and scratches and bumps on the head happen, but I try to keep his face clean and scratch free the day of castings and modeling job bookings.
A toy or stuffed animal
When your baby is on set you'll want to encourage your baby to look at the camera and bringing his or her expressions, it helps to have a toy or stuffed animal your baby loves handy.
Baby nail file emery boards
In our Red Cross healthcare and grooming kit there were nail files which we love and use. They are similar to these nail files.
We like Aveeno products and this Aveeno Baby lotion is always in our bag.
And of course every thing else you'd normally have in your diaper bag.
Sooo, get your digitals together, send me them off to agencies and wait and see. Having an adorable baby doesn't mean your baby will be a good model, I believe it takes the right personality of the baby too to get the job done. :)
Other articles on baby modeling that caught my eye: