Child modelling can be very rewarding for both your child and you. But you can come up against unscrupulous businesses just out to make a quick buck. Here are ten useful tips to make sure that you both enjoy her days in front of the camera:
Choose your agency carefully. A good model agency will save you time, money and stress, and help your child’s modelling career. It should help you find the best jobs for your child, whilst making sure her needs are put first and the law is complied with.
Don’t waste money on professional photos when applying to agencies. A good model agency will need only to see snapshots to decide whether your child has potential. If your child is taken on by an agency, it may suggest you then pay a photographer to take some good pictures for the agency to use. An agency can also charge a “reasonable” amount for your child to be shown on its website.
Avoid agencies advertising for children; a genuine agency will have enough children applying to them not to advertise. Also steer clear if they charge fees up front for a consultation or interview (illegal from October 2010). And never hand over money at your first contact with the agency.
Don’t rush into signing a contract at an interview, take it home to read. Genuine agencies will always want to meet your child in person and will let you read any paperwork in your own time.
Visit the website of the National Network for Children in Employment & Entertainment (NCEE) for more information on the employment of school-age children. If your child is offered work, she will need a performance licence from your local authority. A good children’s model agency should help you to organise this.
Be a good timekeeper, reliable and prompt. You will need your own transport and be prepared to travel and to be flexible.
Be realistic. If you don’t want your child to work during school time, she’s unlikely to get work as most shoots will occur during the working day. Both you and your child must be prepared to cope with rejection and lots of hanging around.
Take food and drink along to the shoot – it may not be provided and you may be there over a mealtime. It’s also a good idea to take along books and games to keep your child occupied.
Make sure your child has clean and tidy hair and nails, and a clean face when you take her to a shoot. A few changes of clothes are also a good idea. Your agency should tell you what you need.
Above all, make sure everyone is enjoying it. If either you, or your child, stop having fun – don’t do it.