We all think our little ones are beautiful, but does your son or daughter have what it takes to join the baby modelling world and appear in campaigns for the likes of GAP, Pampers or Next?
Modelling is a rare profession that isn’t just reserved for adults, with most agencies actively featuring children on their books for big-name clients and campaigns.
Products like nappies, toddler shoes and even newborn baby essentials like baby’s prams all need people – or rather – babies to model them. And the industry is always on the lookout for new talent: particularly those who look cute and can smile or laugh on cue too.
With this in mind, we asked representatives from two reputable agencies to give us their insights into baby modelling, pay and trustworthy agencies.
How do I get my baby into baby modelling?
It all starts with a photo or two. Baby modelling agencies obviously need to see your budding child model to gauge if they have potential for the industry.
“First you need to send a few recent clear photos that you have taken,” says Charlotte Evans, owner and director of Elisabeth Smith agency. “They can be just head shots but no hats or anything on their heads. They do not have to be professional and you don’t need a portfolio or website.”
Bonnie Lia, founder of modelling agency Bonnie and Betty agrees: “You do not need expensive professional images, particularly for babies. They are changing too often and these will need updating regularly. Nice clear current snaps should be acceptable.”
Once you have your photos, be sure to spend time researching the different agencies out there and reach out to one or two that appeal to you.
Find the agency’s online application (usually found on their website), and send off your images. The agency will then be in touch if interested and will explain how to go about the next steps.
How much do baby models make in the UK?
Agents will put your child forward to clients for potential shoots and opportunities. If successful, your child will be paid for their time. Though fees vary and are dependent on a number of factors.
“The hourly rate is between £45 – £52.50 depending on the age of the child,” says Charlotte Evans. This is generally the fee expected from shoots and is pretty synonymous across the board even if your baby is modelling for Gap or other big brands like Next and Pampers.
Bonnie suggests a similar rate and notes how the fee can increase for TV or if involved in a buyout deal.
“Typical fees start at around £60 per hour for photographic work to around £180 per day for a TV commercial,” she says. “Then there’s buyout fees which can go into the thousands for just one job. TV/Film work can start from around £60 per day upwards.”
According to the agents, a buyout arrangement involves more money and is dependent on where the images are used. For example, Charlotte says that your fee will greatly increase if the images are being used in other countries or your child ends up as the face of Pampers nappy packets.
Bonnie also stresses that agencies can’t guarantee a modelling income upfront. So, those who state this should not be trusted.
“Of course any agency who guarantees you work of any kind or a set amount of income should be avoided,” she tells us. “We can’t control who our clients book and so the popularity of one child to the next can differ lots.”
What is the best age to start baby modelling?
The consensus on this is the sooner the better. Starting your child off young will mean they’ll grow comfortable with being on set as they age.
“Often getting a baby in the studio early can help,” says Bonnie Lia. “Studios can be extremely bright and daunting with lots of new faces around, so the more used to this they are, the better. If they have grown up knowing no different, this really helps.”
Charlotte also says that newborns are at an optimum age to start baby modelling. “Although any age is okay if you have a baby that is happy to go to strangers,” she says.
Charlotte adds that parents are always on set as chaperones during shoot days. She equally stresses that if a parent is not happy with any requests or behaviour, that they should contact their agency. Agents never encourage parents and their child to continue if they are not comfortable.
How do you know if a modelling agency is legit?
Research is key when first looking into baby modelling, according to Bonnie. She recommends parents conduct a thorough search on an agency before applying.
“Firstly, do your research before falling victim to any scams. We receive daily calls and emails from those who have unfortunately paid out hundred, sometimes even thousands, to scam agencies or portfolio companies for photos which then aren’t usable for agency purposes,” she tells us. “Avoid sponsored listings, check out parent’s forums and ask other parents what agencies they are with.”
Agency websites are a great way of gauging if a modelling agency is legit.
“Check out agency’s websites and look at their client list and recent work on their social media pages,” Bonnie adds. “Can you see their models in recent jobs?”
Both agents state that budding baby models should not pay an application or joining fee either. This is a tell-tale sign that a modelling agency might not be legit.
The only potential upfront cost might be a small website fee to cover the admin of a website says Bonnie. Though this is usually after an agent has reviewed your application and is happy to take your little one on. In terms of fee, Bonnie tells us it “should be no more than £100, as a maximum.”
It’s important not to “feel pressured to join” either, adds Charlotte Evans. She tells us that parents should also steer clear of agencies that guarantee paid work. The nature of the industry means the choice of casting is firmly down to the clients and not the agents. They can only put your child forward for a gig.
What are the best baby modelling agencies to look at – and what to watch out for
We recommended parents go directly to a baby modelling agency’s website. Here they can better understand what they are about and if they can be trusted.
According to Charlotte Evans, pop-up advertisements on social media platforms tend to appear too good to be true. These are things you should watch out for and instead go directly to the source.
The following baby modelling agencies have children who have appeared in campaigns for the likes of M&S, John Lewis, Very and Burberry. There’s also evidence of their child models appearing in magazines like Tatler and Vanity Fair.
Best baby modelling agencies:
- Elisabeth Smith Agency (ran by Charlotte Evans, represents babies that live in London)
- Bonnie and Betty (founded by Bonnie Lia, have a London and Manchester division)
- Grace and Galor (for babies who live in or near London)
- Alphabet Kidz (for babies who live within 2 hours of central London)
- Bruce and Brown (represent babies that live in or near London)
- Model Mode Agency MMA (represent babies in Birmingham and the Midlands)
- Kids London Model Agency (has London and Manchester divisions)
What happens once my child is registered with an agency?
Once your child is registered with an agency, they can be put forward for work. So, expect a lot of liaising with your agency representative.
“Once your child is registered, depending on the agent, they will appear on the agencies website and then be put forward for suitable work,” says Charlotte. “If your child is selected for a casting or job you will be contacted to check your availability and given the details of the job. A child performance licence will need to be obtained by the agent to allow your child to take part in if they are booked.”
Bonnie Lia notes that “each agency will work in a slightly different way” but there are obviously common practices.
“Generally as a rule of thumb you wouldn’t be notified each and every time your child is being submitted for a job by their agent,” she tells us. “Instead you would normally be contacted as and when one of agency’s clients ask to see your child for a casting, or on occasion, directly book from their photos for the job.
“It is vital, particularly with babies and toddlers (as they are changing so often), that you work closely with the agency to update them regularly with photos, measurements and updates,” Bonnie adds. “This is because without these, the agency cannot do their jobs properly and in turn cannot be expected to achieve work for your child.”
Unless otherwise informed, baby models are expected to be mostly available for shoots. So it’s also recommended you forward on any unavailable dates.