December 14, 2017

Model Portfolios

Model Portfolios

Model-Famicia

Model Famicia © Frank Marchese

I am often asked by parents looking for information about how to get their children into modeling. Many young children do not have to go through the process and expense of putting together a portfolio of pictures of themselves. Because a young child grows up fast and changes from year to year a recent picture of the child is in most cases good enough for a modeling agency to review. If the modeling agency has interest in representing the child, they may ask the parents to provide to them a professional head shot to be considered for their website.

Some agencies may suggest to the parents that the child do a series of shots in order to put together a composite card. Usually these are oversized postcards printed on both sides. The pictures here may be a series of the child wearing different outfits showing different poses and expressions. One side of the card is usually reserved for the head shot. When it comes to selecting a child for an advertising shoot, most agencies will submit these composite cards to clients for selection. In most large cities, a child might have to go to a casting call where a casting agent would take the child's picture and measurement information. And they do this with good reason. Like I mentioned, children grow up fast. Their composite card might be out of date. The child has just recently cut her hair. The child might be missing some of her baby teeth and if she were to smile...well, you get the picture, right?

Most parents think their child is beautiful to be a model. But be careful what you wish for. Just like soccer moms running every which way chauffeuring their child to practices and games, a mom taking her child to casting calls isn't any more fun. It's time consuming. Yet if the mom and child are very committed then they're rewards. A child selected to be part of a still ad or brochure or a television commercial gets paid. The modeling agency acts as the representative handling the monetary compensation. The child becomes part of a photo shoot. The shoot itself can be a fun experience for the child and if the child doesn't lack self esteem most likely the child will have a great experience.

Sometimes these child actors or models as they grow up into adults may continue to pursue a career in the modeling or acting field. In my sample this actress needed new shots for her portfolio. She is custom to go on auditions so having a body of work to present to casting directors is a must. But in most cases actors just need a good head shot to go along with their personal resume.

So how does a parent go about getting decent pictures of their child? One is to hire and pay a professional photographer. The other is to see if a professional photographer would in exchange for money photograph the child to be used in the photographer's own portfolio.

This is called testing. Over the years if I had an idea for a picture or I wanted to put something together for a specific portfolio, I often sought out talent willing to be photographed in exchange for prints to be used for their personal portfolio. This type of agreement works out for both parties.

If this sounds like a good direction to take then seek out commercial photographers in your area. See if they are interested in testing with your child, and if so take a meeting. Another way is to research the professional modeling agencies close to you (not modeling schools), and check out their website. Ask the agent what is needed for your child to be considered to become part of the agency. Ask to refer names of some photographers they have relationships with.

Lastly, the same advice applies to the parent as well. Many modeling agencies welcome new faces. A young mother may have the bug to model herself once she sees what is needed to get into the business. It could be a source of extra income. And a boost in self esteem. Enjoy the journey.

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