Would you let your child model?

I have a 2 year old son, and it seems like this question keeps coming up. Every parent is of course proud of their child and every parent thinks their child is beautiful. When I get compliments / comments on my son, I take it as normal friendliness about a baby. However, I have honestly gotten so many comments about my son, from getting stopped in the store or restaurants, to advice from a friend who is a professional photographer. We had a session done for free as a favor and he remarked how photogenic he is. It really is true - he takes good pictures and is very laid back about getting direction. For that reason I like taking candids of him and have tons of great photos, it’s so easy to get great photos of him.

We have friends in the entertainment industry and also photographer friends. We have gotten comments from them about how our son could be a child model. I passed it off as flattery to a new parent, but it honestly happens a lot. I am starting to wonder if it is something we could or should look into. I even had an instance recently where an amateur photographer took photos of him at a street fair and posted them online (we happened upon them by accident! that was a little odd, to see your child’s photos online and the comments about them.)

Part of me says no way, not a chance. He is 2, there are too many rip-off, exploitative people out there. I have no intention of making his childhood about being a model or posing, I have no idea about how to get him started and am very very apprehensive about even trying. Try googling child model and see the craptacular results that come up.

The other part says, why not try? I have a little experience modeling, I did it in college although I only did local stuff, mall / bridal shows, stuff like that, and never was represented by an agency or anything. The only thing I know from that was it was fun, and it paid far better than any other college or entry level job I ever had. If my son could get jobs, we could put money toward his education. If he has fun having his picture taken, why not put some money aside for him?

Anyone have experience with this? Would you let your child model? Feel free to take either side, I am really not leaning towards doing this or have my heart set on it. If I had to decide one way, I would decide against it just to avoid the hassle and / or opportunity for rip offs.

A co-worker’s grandchildren modeled for a while. The kids are both very photogenic and had fun with it. However, the younger sister is more “classically” beautiful (they’re both adorable little girls) than the older, and got more callbacks, so they’ve decided to just finish out their contract and not renew. They didn’t want to create sibling rivalry or have the girls focus on their looks as their sole worth. I think the oldest is 4 or 5 now, so they’re still pretty young. They mostly modeled kids clothing, both print and online, for local companies. The girls enjoyed it, and now they have a head start on saving for their education, and it’s money they earned.

I don’t think there’s any harm in it, as long as you’re working with reputable people, and it sounds like you know some already. Why not give it a try? If it creates a problem, like with my co-worker’s grandkids, you can always stop. If he’s a ham like I was at that age, he’ll probably have a blast, though.

Sure. I had a kid who was very adorable, and I registered him with a couple of agencies. He “worked” until he was about six or seven and got freckles and lost his teeth. His career had a brief revival in his early teens. We started when he was a bit under two.

The way it worked was, we would get a call. Sometimes we’d show up and there would be a whole roomful of toddlers, and the photographer’s assistant (or the assistant director) would come out and grab the one or two best-behaved ones. But generally there were not a lot of go-sees for kids. We’d show up, get the pix made, and go home, and it usually took less than an hour. He liked the attention and the money was a bonus. He modeled kids’ clothing and toys at first, and then just toys. (He wasn’t much into changing clothes.)

Not a lot of work, but it didn’t hurt him at all. It was usually print, but he did a couple of video shots, too.

The kids get paid lots more when they have lines. The check is made out to the child, but as his “manager” I was entitled (!) to 10%.

[hijack]When in high school my daughter went to a model agency casting call here in Southern California.
I went along as she needed a driver. About 20 families were there. My daughter filled out an info sheet, and there was a presentation. During the presentation there were a couple of people scoping out the children to see who looked like what. After the presentation, they did individual interviews. The interviewer was quite surprised that I did not want to take part in the interview. I told him that she was the one that had the interest, and I was not trying to live my life over again through her. I think I could have pushed that guy over with a feather at that point. He was literally speechless for a moment.
Anyway after the interviews, they excused all but 2 or 3 families. The look on the parents faces when they got dismissed almost brought a tear to your eye. You could see them picturing their little one as the next McCalley Culkin or Drew Barrymore, and than being told that their little one did not have what it takes. Some of these familes had brought four or five kids to the interview all dressed up, and looking their best.
Anyway, they wanted my daughter to start going out on interviews, and start training. She and I discussed this on the way home, I pointed out that she would have to face a lot of rejection, and she would get turned down more that she would get a yes. I reminded her of a friend of ours that is an actress, has done Broadway, Shakespeare, and movies. never a big part, always in the background. She is now 60 has never made it big and probably never will. But she still goes out on every casting call that comes her way, because she is an actress. I told her that if she had that fire, I would support her 100% I told my daughter to think about this and sleep on it.
The next morning she came to me first thing and said that she wanted to concentrate on her studies while she finished high school.

When the modeling agency called, she told them no, and why. They asked her several times to change her mind. She thanked them but declined. I don’t know if I have ever been more proud of my daughter.[/hijack]

If you do this do it for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
Realize that it is a jungle out there. it can get very ugly. If you are normal, you will find that you may be the only normal person on the set.
Stage mothers are not a myth.

My daughter did. She was a teen (and it was by her choice), not a baby, but I got the same thing about her when she was little.

Lots of people always saying how beautiful she was when she was a baby and little girl. I thought about beauty contests or child modeling and such, but I guess I’m not a very rabid stage mom, somehow neither of us got all that enthused about it.

She modeled department store stuff up until she got married a few years ago. I don’t know how such a gorgeous girl managed, but she honestly doesn’t really care about looks, either regarding other people, or herself.

A very down to earth young woman.

She had fun with it and made a few bucks on the side. I agree with some of what others here are saying though, from what I’ve seen, the baby beauty biz can be horrible.

My friend has a daughter, evidently posessing all the current “looks” these days. The girl was pursued for over a year, doing a lot of photo shoots and promises from ad agencies. At the end of the year my friend was told “she needs to grow 6 more inches”. I don’t know if the girl did or didn’t ; she and my friend had fun and learned a lot about each other in the process. I say, as long as the good side outweighs the bad side, go for it. When it gets to be a nightmare, quit. :slight_smile:

My daughter never modeled, but she acted professionally starting when she was 9, and her manager was a former child actor.

There are ripoffs out there, but you can tell them because they try to sell you photos (including telling you to go to a special photographer) or training. A 2 year old needs neither. My daughter got her first job on a photo taken from by a friend. Her manager then gave us several photographers to choose from for her head shots, and was quite open to us going anywhere we wanted.

The most important thing for baby actors is willingness to leave the parent and cooperate with the photographer/director - mostly by not crying. Lots of kids are cute - but they audition for cooperativeness, since it is expensive to hold up a shoot for a crying kid.

One thing you should know is that modeling is not unionized, and I’ve heard many stories of it taking a long time to get paid.

BTW, babies don’t need pictures at all, since their features change so quickly. I don’t know about two year olds - there are a bunch of books that will probably tell you.

We once went undercover to one of the places that advertises they can make your baby a star. I can give the details of the scam if anyone is interested.

I’d probably allow it, if it was something the kid wanted to do. Of course, all involved would know that Daddy is a lawyer, owns various firearms, is somewhat knowledgable about various types of hand to hand combat, is very protective of his kids, and is not adverse to applying the doctrine of the landmark case of Foot vs Ass as he deems appropriate. Of course, any work would be performed under parental supervision. Did I mention that Daddy is a big scary dude, and very protective?

Prolly a good thing I don’t have kids. If I had a daughter, I’d almost feel sorry for the young bucks that came to take her out on dates. Almost.

My wife and I don’t have children, but we used to be encouraged to do so (we’re both well into middle age now and so she’s not really of child-bearing age anymore; plus she had her tubes tied) on the grounds of modeling, acting, etc. I’m Western, she’s Thai, and what’s called “luk khreung” – children of mixed Western/Thai lineage – are hugely popular here. The entertainment industry is dominated by them, and many of the top local models are “luk khreung.” (That is NOT an offensive term, BTW.)

I met one Westerner with a child by his Thai wife who did let the kid – I forget if it was a son or daughter – do some modeling for one of the local department stores, but he felt it was sort of an unhealthy environment for the kid, so stopped it after a couple of times. They had the photo spreads and store catalogues to show the rest of the family, which made them happy.

We’re childless by choice, but I can’t begin to count the number of Thais who urged us to have children “because they would look so cute.” A common theme was actually that they could take care of us in our old age from their earnings as an entertainer.

We’re thinking about it, especially since half-Japanese kids have a relatively easy time getting modeling work here. I’m not opposed to it, although I don’t want him ending up spending all his free time at shoots and missing out on having a normal childhood.

Good points, all. The time commitment is another aspect, like some have pointed out, I don’t know if I want to be at the beck and call of his schedule. I certainly am not going to quit my job to drive him around. And I don’t want him to feel like he is pushed into anything, part of me says wait until he is old enough to decide for himself if this is something he would want to do. If I did try it with him I would pull him out if it seemed like a chore for him. I have seen some “stage moms” and the last thing I want to do is go there.

I think if he was a girl I would be even more protective. Beauty pagents and such are not something I am interested in at all.

I think he could be good at it though, he really knows how to turn on the charm when people encourage him. He can be throwing a full-on tantrum and someone will stop by, he will stop mid-tantrum to bat his eyes at the visitor and beam at them like “I am the perfect child!” and then when they leave he is back to his old self. People comment about how well-behaved he is but I joke that is because he saves all his bad behavior for me. I think it would work for pictures though. But who knows? I guess the only way to tell for sure is to try it. The one benefit to doing it so young is that he won’t get his feelings hurt if it doesn’t work out, and I don’t have my heart set on it either.

I’m acquainted with a guy whose ex-wife is a (fading-fast) model. Their kid was gorgeous and photographed well, so they had the mother’s agent get the toddler some modelling gigs. His short career did better than his mom’s. All the money went into some kind of college fund.

Then he got too rambunctious and can’t sit still long enough for a photoshoot. Still, a good portion of his future tuition is paid for.

If I had a child, I’d have no problem letting him/her model (with a parent present) as long as he/she was enjoying it. And as long as he/she maintained a reasonable and healthy sense of body image.

Quick add: I seriously doubt that any creature that was my offspring would have the patience or temperament to sit for a photographer. He/she would probably start throwing things or gnawing on the tripod.

Not only would we, we have. Both my daughter and my wife are members of the oldest amateur photography club in the country.

This is interesting, I expected a lot more negative views and tales of rip-offs or horrible experiences. This thread seems to be mostly positive. Maybe I watch too much Dateline.

For those who have done it, did you just start calling local agencies until you found one you liked and who wanted to represent your child? How did you choose, or did they choose you?

My wife and I talked about it and decided it wouldn’t be a good idea because of this. We have twin girls almost four years old, and if one got picked and the other didn’t - it wouldn’t be good. Yeah, stuff like that will happen anyway but there’s no reason to make it worse.