What does a child model agency look for in a photograph?

Ten of the best tips on what agencies are looking for in a child model application

What does a child model agency look for in a photograph?

Founder of top child model agency Urban Angels, Alysia Lewis, gives us her advice on how to style model application photographs.

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She and her team have around 5,000 applications on the books at any one time. Alysia says, ” We ask parents of aspiring models to submit two images. It is imperative that these shots are clear, as we judge whether we would like to see the child in person from these initial pictures”. She adds that what model bookers are looking for is to see a child in a natural environment or situation. They don’t want to see children, “over-posed, or with any props”. So, before taking your photos, take a look at these top tips for the best chance of being seen.

1. No hats

No headwear, hats or hairbands. “We get hundreds of babies submitted with huge headbands over the heads and this completely takes the focus away from a tiny baby. We don’t need anything like this in the shot. For older children, if the child has a hat on we can’t see the hair, and again, this is really important to the whole look.”

2. Sunglasses are a no-no

No sunglasses. “This is so common, but how can we see the colour of a child’s eyes by sunglasses taking over the shot? They may look cool, but from an agent’s point of view, we cant see what we need to see.”

3. No food included

No food smeared on the face, either. “This may seem cute but we can’t see their face. This is extremely important, as you are taking away from the child’s face by submitting shots like this.”

4. Head up, shoulders straight

Head and shoulder shots are what agencies are looking for. “Photos taken in simple attire is always best with no make up or jewellery visible.”

5. Wear hair down

Hair down and as natural as possible – this means without product, too. Again, no make up or jewellery either.

6. No dress-up

Natural every day shots, not professional portfolio prints, are fine. “‘Professional’ shots are often too posed and too many times the children are put in dressing up outfits that take away from their natural look.”

7. Smiling and neutral expressions

Ensure some variation of images. “Images should be ideally one taken smiling and one taken neutral, as a person’s face shape changes dramatically when they are smiling.”

8. No face paint

No face paint or fancy dress costumes are necessary at all. “You would be surprised how many tigers or butterflies we have been submitted. As an agent we can’t judge a child from such a picture, as we can’t see their face.”

9. The natural look is best

There is no need for make up “This makes them look too old. We are a kids’ agency, and children that look too old wouldn’t suit the agency.”

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10. No naked

Please keep them fully clothed. “Make sure children are wearing clothing, even for babies. Again, this maybe cute to you as parents, but as an agent we would not agree.”