4 Things You Need To Know About Your Child Modeling

child models

4 Things You Need To Know About Your Child Modeling

Like most parents, I thought my kids were so cute they belonged in magazines. However, when they wanted to pursue little modeling careers, I found it challenging living in a small town, Wilmington, NC. Even though the town was the home to Screen Gems Studios, it wasn’t where all the major castings were held. I was left with social media submissions.

How Modeling and Acting All Started For Us

By pure luck one day when Safe Haven was being filmed, I saw they were looking for a three-year-old girl and four-year boy fitting the description of my son and daughter. I submitted their photos via email and forgot to include my contact information. Next thing I knew my phone was ringing non stop with friends saying people from the movie are paging you on Facebook. They want to know if anyone in the town is friends with Danielle Schaffer.

That day my children went on set with Josh Duhamel, Julienne Hough and Cobie Smulders. My kids were the younger versions of the principal actors for photographs within the home used on set. It was an amazing experience and they were on set for a full day and shared a trailer with the stars. I saw how natural my kids were and loved hanging out with Josh for the day, who wouldn’t?

Safe Haven is a movie based on Nicholas Sparks’ 2010 novel of the same name.

josh Duhamel kids

Catching the Modeling Bug

The seed was planted for modeling and acting for my kids. Fast forward a few years and now we reside in San Diego, California. What I did in this unknown territory was send my kids to auditions I found on social media. Without an agent I had my kids walk in several local Gap runways. This opportunity exposed them to the modeling world. I took note that they were having fun, so I continued on.

child model child model child model

In the beginning, I did some digging and submitted their photos to casting agents for brands and I would directly book them. I knew once I got an agent I would be opening Pandora’s box and the craziness would set in, so I waited till the baby was four months old. I knew the phone would be ringing a lot more and I would be in LA a lot. Of course, I knew I’d need to be mentally ready for this. Here’s what I learned:

What To Know About Kids and Professional Photos

Kids do not need professional photos before they submit to an agency. They can submit snapshots and then the agent can guide you with professional images, based on the kids look. However, you will need professional photographs once you get accepted by an agency. Kids change so much, from teeth falling out to growth spurts, so take your snapshots right before you are ready to submit, this way the images will truly represent who your child is. My snapshots were always super cute because I love photography so I suggest submitting good ones.

No matter what state you are in (after you have the agent in place) you should google kids fashion photography just to see who is trending. Whoever you find, show him or her what you are looking for so that they do not have to guess. Be sure to run it by your agent. And spend the money. Photographers put a lot of work into their images to make sure your kid looks amazing, so be prepared to spend. I wrote about this in the past, but here is what I suggest you ask for:

  • Two headshots (one smiling, one serious).
  • A body shot in fun clothes.
  • I truly love having an editorial style image which looks like a magazine ad.
  • Get two looks if you can. (For example hair up and hair down.)

Some of my favorite photographers in the “business” are:

Babies and kids can laugh up to 300 times a day. Adults typically laugh about 20 times a day. 

child model magazine child running child model magazine child ice cream


Are You and the Kids Ready for Modeling?

Are you ready to get baby sitters for your other kids and hire people to help you if you have a large family? Unless you live in NYC or LA, you will be commuting to these places for the work. So for me, I live in San Diego, and never realized that 100 miles could mean five hours going home. The struggle is real. For some reason, leaving LA is sometimes impossible. Are you willing to do all of this juggling for a five-minute audition? If so, keep reading.

Another good thing to know is there is no notice about your casting call. They can call you the day of or the night before. I don’t know why Hollywood operates this way, but castings are, most of the time, happening with minimal notice. So you can have doctors appointments, plans with friends, sports commitments and you will have to cancel last-minute on everyone and everything. According to Natashia Williams-Blach (former model, actress and “American Idol” Finalist, “You must expect the unexpected. If you’re not enjoying the ride get off the train.” You can hear more about her experience in the industry in her latest book, Mind over Model.

child modeling child modeling child modeling child modeling
Get an Agent For Modeling And Acting

Of course, this is easier said than done, but its worth it. I can definitely be described as a mama agent/photographer and even though my skills to hustle and photograph are quite good, I too need some agent help. What I learned is that once you sign on with an agent, you better be prepared to work. There is no one doing more juggling than me with four kids, a blog, two dogs and my youngest at home. It’s hard, but I do it.

It’s as simple as this, signing on with an agent means you are ready to build your child’s career and you as the parent are ready to go the distance. You really do not want to sign with an agent if you can’t super juggle your life. You will be wasting your time and the agent’s time.

If you submit to an agent and they say no, it means “not right now.”  Do not give up if you think your kid has what it takes. When people said no to my kids in the past, it made me go in a different direction, I certainly didn’t give up. I signed with an agency that was right for us.

Here are the agents I would start with for your child modeling and acting:

By the age of 6, the average child has a vocabulary of about 13,000 words. An average adult has a vocabulary of about 60,000 words.

child modeling child modeling
child modeling

Prepare Yourself (And Your Kids) For Rejection

I never get bothered by rejection. It’s innate in me as the momma bear to push forward. I do that in my personal life and I certainly instill a light and airy attitude in theirs. I always tell my kids to never be upset if they don’t get it and you will never know if you don’t try. And I also tell them to be happy for the kids who got it. That child could have been on 15 auditions and this is the first one he got, so we joke around in the car with a mini mock celebration for Billy Bob who got the job.

I keep the modeling world light and fun and they certainly feed off of me. I am in no shape or form a competitive mom, and I like it better that way. It’s important to me that I teach my children what it is like in the real world, and the more they are prepared the more they can deal with rejection without having a serious meltdown. I always tell them, lets move on and see what’s next, because when one door closes, another opens. My children are living proof of this, if you don’t let it bother you, it won’t bother them.

There is always that one person who thinks they are utterly perfect, and that’s YOU!

I would love to hear from you, comment below and let me know your experience in the modeling or acting world. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


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69 thoughts on “4 Things You Need To Know About Your Child Modeling”

  1. Love your kiddos! We are in Dallas and are trying to pursue modeling. We haven’t been able to secure an agent but the kids do light modeling for local shops/boutiques. The agents here all state to submit candid snapshots but your article says to submit professional photos. We work with a local photographer and I’m starting to think you are correct. Seems like a lot of her clients have been signed following head shots. I haven’t bitten the bullet to get headshots but I may need to.

    • Michelle my agent corrected me on this one and she says submit candid shots so i changed it in the article…. I am a photographer so I had uber adorable pics of my kids when I submitted…. The agents say candid… I say step it up a little… xoxoxo

      • Hello! Came across your blog as I am trying to educate myself on potentially getting my little one into modeling. Would love to pick your brain. My family is moving to San Diego in two weeks. Hope to hear from you. Thanks!

      • I too live in NC. Charlotte to be exact and I’m trying to get my 7 month old into modeling but as you know the opportunities here are slim. While you were in Wilmington when did you realize you needed to move to San Diego?

    • We are in Miami. In two days we have an interview with a top agency. World of kids. What should our 7 month old wesrcto her interview ? Thanks

  2. Thank you! I was about to ask you about this very topic as my daughter would love to model. We are told all the time she should model and even get stopped in stores, airports and malls. We live in Chicago and I just didn’t know how to start the process.

    • Hi! I just read this and I wonder, did you still hustle to reach out to casting directors directly after your beautiful kids got signed with an agent? My twins are signed with two reputable agents but they get no work! Could it be that I need to be reaching out to the agents more? Or reaching out directly to the people doing the casting? Or maybe it really is that my pictures need to be better. I’m pretty awful at taking pictures, how often should I get professional photos done?

  3. My son is a child Actor/model. (Mateo Franco) We love reading and seeing your posts! It is definitely a commitment and an adventurous journey. We also took your exact steps into the business, worked on solo bookings, auditions, rejections, direct bookings, agency calls. Non stop 5-10 minute auditions with 3 hour drive home. Augh! But my son enjoys being in the spotlight and traffic. 🙂 We have an appointment/interview with LA Models next month in June. .. wish us luck! Thanks for sharing every precious masterpiece of your kiddos! Enjoy the journey! Hope to see you all on set sometime.

  4. LOL, I wish I had seen this before we signed up with an agency. I thought it was just our agent emailing us at 10pm at night to go to audition in LA the next day (and we are in San Diego too). Your view point is so refreshing and does put everything perspective.

    • Hi Danielle,

      Thanks for writing this! I want to put my child out there but I didn’t know where to begin. I tried taking photos and sent them to a couple agencies but I can barely work a camera and I think the photos I sent lacked in every area. Do I need to wait a while before I resubmit new photos to the same agencies? Also, I too live in San Diego. Do you know any local professional photographers that don’t take photos that are too professional to submit to agencies? I know my kid is gorgeous but I have zero faith in my ability to take worthy pictures of him.

  5. Hi Danielle. I love your post!
    We just started becoming interested in modeling and just spent a whole lot of money on professional pictures before submitting anything to agencies. I know your post says to submit candid regular pics, but will agents be turned off by professional pics?

  6. Hi Danielle

    Your post was just what I needed to read! I have been submitting my daughters pics and feeling disheartened with the No’s . We are in South Florida and I know its booming here. You mentioned self promotion, where do I find casting info to do this any guidance would be so much appreciated!

    thank you again Carly 🙂

  7. Hi, Danielle!

    I am excited to send you this message because I found this article about 8 months ago when we were just getting our feet wet with modeling in Miami. Things were starting to go really well for my three children. Then…and here’s the IRONY…we found out we were moving to SAN DIEGO! I never forgot where you said you moved to because my family also was initially from NC, so we had that in common. I hope we can connect! It would be so nice to meet another family in our shoes.



  8. Hi, Danielle.

    Have you had any casting calls in San Diego for your kids? Or are they mostly in LA? If possible, I’d like to stay local. Not sure if we’re ready for LA traffic.


  9. Hello, how do you manage time when your kids are in school? Are you able to skip school and go for auditions? We are in SD too and my concern is how we will be able to manage going to LA during the school season. Thank you.

  10. Thank you!
    One more question 🙂 Can you sign with few agencies at ones? Is it legal? Do I have to have only one agency? We have got few offers from different places . Thank you for your help 🙂

  11. Love your input. My son got interest form,the first SD agent I sent hos pics to. I’m hoping he will love it.. jughl8ng will be an issue as I work part time. But thid could be a thing for him. I think I have to try..

  12. So much good info! I’m thinking about submitting my baby girl for consideration… do you happen to know if there are any good/reputable agencies in Orange County (where we live)? A quick Google search came up with a few but I can’t find much info about them.

  13. Great blog! Just looking at starting my kiddo – who is almost 12 yr old (boy too) as he has become very interested. We have an appointment with an agent next week. – just wish he did it when he was younger but we didn’t pursue it. He really wants to do more acting so exposure would be great. He is a total ham, easy to photograph and loves to entertain, plus has no stage fright or a shy bone in his body –total Chicago City Boy!

    not sure where that came from.
    SassyNChicago! (lol! as that’s my IG and Wellness Biz name).

  14. Cutiest kiddos, Awesome article as well.I liked your last point “PREPARE YOUR LITTLES FOR REJECTION “.It takes a lot of guts to accept rejection.As rejection leads to depression.Depression for Kids in childhood is not healthy.I wish to make my daughter a model in future.Before that, i will surely share this point with her.Thanks for such informative post.

  15. My son has been with an agency for about 3 months and he’s had three jobs. Im curious to know own how we can go about getting more jobs. You mentioned that you do social media submissions… Where do you find those? Any help is appreciated

  16. We just signed with Paloma, on average how many auditions do you get a week? I have no idea what to expect and if we will actually be able to make it happen since my husband and I both work. We do live in LA however so that is good!

  17. Hi. What recommendations do you have for career change for a mom that wants to go into this full swing with her child? My current career does not provide the flexibility needed to attend castings and gig’s… What’s a mom to do to make a living?

  18. What an amazing blog! We are from Oklahoma but moved to San Diego 2 months ago! Unfortunately we didn’t dive into modeling when my daughter was younger as our previous territory wasn’t the place! She just turned 12 yesterday and has always said, her love and passion starts with school, athlete and modeling. So as her mother I have rallied around her future in competitive soccer! She is a fantastic athlete but just told me in the last few days she wants to try and put modeling before soccer but still compete! I’m use to the long hours away from our other kids and family, as soccer is A LOT of traveling. So my search has begun and I came across your blog first! Wish us luck! I know my little Ameripak princess (I’m Caucasian and Dad is Pakistani, so that’s her nickname we gave her) can achieve anything she puts her mind too! She has the smarts to succeed in her academics and a momma that is her biggest supporter!!

  19. So much good info! I’m thinking about submitting my baby boy for consideration. You mentioned self promotion, Can you suggest me which process is more effective around this self promotion?

  20. This is a REALLY good article, and totally accurate. I own the longest running children’s agency in Australia. I wish everyone read this before they applied to our agency 🙂

  21. My daughter is really ready to get her career going and has been on me for years. She is about to start her 10 local musical theater production. I know she has what it takes but as a single mom with a full time job, I am really worried how this will work! I too live in San Diego. I would love any advice you could give to help me out! I was thinking about maybe just finding all we can that is local(modeling, photos, tv/film castings), but I have no idea where to start!

  22. Question, I noticed you recommended several agencies. Can a child be with more than one agency? Not sure how it all works. Thank you!:)

  23. Hi! Thank you for posting this. We just started to get involve in kids modelling. We sent pictures to this agency who then asked for upfront money before joining in. Is this how it works? They did say that work isn’t guaranteed. How do I know they don’t say yes to every single applicant?

  24. When tour children started modeling did you possibly ever Do you anything through the Internet like cute kids or starbaby models??? They text me and said they are interested on my daughter and asked me to pick up package where I would have to pay $200 is that something that sounds legit? Any suggestions please

  25. A lot of modeling agency doesn’t offer insurance. I know the times are are changing. Only a few is offering that kind of insurance. What’s the best private insurance to get for your young child? I have no health insurance for my children.


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