Of course every parent believes that their baby or child is the cutest, and my husband and I were no exception. In fact, the first thing that my husband John said when Kyle was born was “he’s so cute!” over and over again.
When Kyle was around 3 months, my brother and sister-in-law were telling me about a friend of theirs who had her son with a modeling agency. I contacted their friend and asked her what she thought about the agency and the overall experience. She said that it was actually a lot of fun! So I immediately went and signed Kyle up. It wasn’t long before we received an e-mail for his first photo shoot. It was a cover-shoot for a Harlequin romance novel, how could I say no 😉 For those of you picturing Kyle with his shirt off rescuing a girl baby from a burning building, it wasn’t quite that cool. He was wearing a sailor’s outfit though! And it was a lot of fun.
Since the start of his professional baby “modeling career”, Kyle has had over 10 calls and has made over $700 (after his “agent” took their cut). Not bad for an 18 month old. Unfortunately, he’s a terrible saver and has managed to spend all of this money! I regularly receive questions about how I got Kyle into modeling and what it’s like, what agency we use, etc… so, here are the details for anyone interested in having a little fun and who wants to put their kids with a model and talent agency.
Kyle’s with Minor Details agency (http://www.minordetails.ca/), owned and managed by Lee Gallagher-Ingram, a former model. We paid $50 upfront (and annually thereafter) and sent in a picture of Kyle with a few details such as height, weight, hair and eye colour. Within a few weeks we got an e-mail telling us where we have to show up to the next day for the photo shoot. We can either reply back saying “we’ll be there” or not. It’s as simple as that, no hassles. Of course, if you reject too many, you might be overlooked for future opportunities.
Most of the shoots take place during the week between 9am and 5pm. However, for babies and toddlers, it’s usually between 9am and 11am. Therefore, if you’re working full-time, this is probably not right for your family. But if you have the time and access to a car and only one or two kids to care for, this might work out well for you.
The photo shoots themselves are generally quick in nature. You get booked for an hour, and will get paid by the hour; usually, $50 (and $25 for showing-up if you don’t get picked), unless they get booked for a cover page of a magazine or for a commercial (payment for those run in the thousands). However, most photo shoots only take 15 minutes. For baby shoots, they typically book two kids. This is because babies (as we all know) can be unreliable. Maybe they’re having a fussy day or they’re sleeping. By booking two children, they can ensure that the photo shoot can go on regardless. When you arrive, someone comes and choose which baby they want to shoot. You then go on the set, change your baby’s clothes (Kyle favourite part – ya right) and place them by the backdrop. The cameras go click-click-click, and you’re done! Now just keep your eye out for the final results as it goes public (that’s the best part).
Personally, we’re not doing this for the money. Let’s be real – $50 an hour is great, but it doesn’t happen often, and it’s usually only 1 hour a month. We do it because 1) Kyle “enjoys” it. And I wrote enjoy in quotation because I don’t actually know if he enjoys it, but it’s an outing for him, he laughs when we’re there, he’s never fussy or cries and I like the outcome. During one shoot, he was fussy and he cried, so I immediately requested that the second child be put in instead of Kyle. It was not an issue at all and Kyle was instantly calm (he just needed his nap). 2) It gives me something to do with Kyle as a stay-home mom and 3) It doesn’t interfere with any other stuff we have going on.
John and I always said that we’d do this until Kyle turns two, and he’s just around the corner from that milestone. We MAY continue longer, but most agencies don’t take two-year olds anyway due to the “terrible two’s”.
There are a few other agencies in Toronto including Kamera Kids (part of Sutherland Models), and Carolyn’s Model & Talent Agency. I don’t know much about Carolyn’s agency so I won’t comment on that. However, I have heard and read a bit about Kamera Kids so I will do a quick comparison between that agency and ours. Kamera Kids represents much fewer kids and tends to turn away a lot of applicants. The only upside to this is that IF you do end up working with them, your child will be more likely to get picked for photo shoots since there isn’t too much competition within the agency.
However, if you are selected (after you attend an open house), you will have to pay an annual fee and if your child is over 3 years, you might have to pay up to $1,500 for a professional photo shoot and comp card. While this charge isn’t bad if you’re an adult model, this might be too much for a child model – unless you want this to be their career (and I hope most parents DON’T want this for their children). I’ve also heard that Kamera Kids frowns upon parents who can’t make the photo shoots; even if it just happens once. I believe the commitment from the parents has to be much more intense and serious with Kamera Kids versus with Minor Details.. But let’s be serious people, we’re talking about children models. Kids are kids, and they’re bound to act like kids. There’s not much we can do about it – or should force them to do for the sake of modeling. One thing is clear; this is NOT TODDLERS IN TIARAS. If I ever get to that point, please pinch me! Let’s live in the life of reality, not fantasy. Let’s let kids be kids and keep the fun in everything we subject them to do.
Feel free to leave me a message if you have any questions that I haven’t answered or if you want to correct anything that I’ve written above. I’m definitely not the expert in this field, and this is just based on my experience to date.