Many parents email the agency with concerns such as hidden costs, paying registration fees and what can baby earn. Below is an explanation of how most successful child agencies work, including our own.
It is a common misconception that if a child agency asks you to pay a fee up front then they are not 'legit'.
Adult model and talent agencies should never charge representation or website registration fees and this is no doubt the source of the misconception. Adults do a lot of the leg work themselves, actively seeking out work wherever they can find it. They are constantly networking, texting and emailing sometimes for hours during the course of a day. You also need to remember that professional actors pay substantial fees for membership to such organisations as Spotlight.
Child agencies do much of the leg work for you. You will find that the majority of reputable and successful child agencies all charge a fee for website registration and administration. Many of them will say that representation with them is FREE - but they still make a (hidden) charge for website profile and portfolio administration.
This charge is normally between £70 to £180 depending on the agency. In our case, we make a charge of £155, with £55 payable up front and the remainder taken from earnings.
One very good reason for child agencies to charge a fee is that it sorts the wheat from the chaff. Parents who have paid a fee are committed, dedicated and up to the task of making their baby shine as a baby model. If we charged nothing (and we have tried it), we would get many parents signing up on the spur of the moment and then not following through, making our job of running an agency next to impossible
When applying to an agency, professional photos are not needed.
Two decent, clear, in focus, head & shoulder pics are all that is required. No photo shopping, no silly hats, no sun glasses and in colour - not black & white.
Once you have been accepted onto an agency's books, you should consider having some professional photos taken. The agency will either have the facility to do it themselves or will have their preferred photographers.
Professional photos are not obligatory. However the competition in child modeling is intense and the website portfolio is your shop window. Professional pictures will show off your child to their very best making it easier for a casting director to make a choice. A portfolio consisting of a few mobile pictures is not going to cut the mustard and you child will never get chosen.
So, if you are serious about child modeling, get some professional photos taken. Expect to pay between £50 an £250 depending on the number of pictures chosen.
In our case, we organise a test shoot for our models. This gives us a chance to see how the child reacts to a studio environment. We supply 5 professional photos from the shoot FREE OF CHARGE to kick start your child's portfolio. Parents can buy more if they so wish (no obligation) to go on the page. The usual spend is between £100-£200.
Let's put baby to work and retire to a villa in the Canary islands!!
Retiring on baby's earning could happen but it is very unlikely. To be quite frank, do not sign up with any agency with the idea that baby is going to make £1000's per year. The truth of the matter is that by the time you have been to multiple castings and deducted travel expenses, time spent etc etc, there will be very little money left.
However, if your doing it to expand baby's horizons and abilities, that's a different matter and could possibly lead to great things later on in life.
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