About Childsplay Models
General Advice on Child Modelling
Should I get a Portfolio of Photographs taken of my Child?
Not before you have spoken to any agencies you may be considering joining. When applying to an agency for your child an agency will only require a nice, clear, up-to-date snap shot at that point. Most child model agencies have their own requirements when it comes to the photographs they need to represent your child. Some agencies prefer to take their own photographs of your child in their professional studio whilst others will ask you to go and have some taken by an outside photographer not connected with or working for the agency. Some agencies who work this way will give you a list of preferred photographers for you to choose from, others will allow you complete freedom.

Many parents take their children to a photographic studio and spend a lot of money, hundreds, sometimes thosands of pounds, having photographs taken without finding out what an agency needs from a photographic session and often the money spent is wasted. Unfortunately some of the more unscrupulous photographic companies have the word 'Model' in their company name to make you think they are a model agency when they are not (and this is a situation that Trading Standards will be looking into). These companies will not find your child work and often take photographs that are hugely inappropriate for use as a child model.This is especially true of teenage girls who often have beautiful photographs taken which unfortunately make them look far older than they are. If you are applying to a child modelling agency, they will need your child to look their age or younger, not older

For further information, take a look at the Daily Mirror's investigation: Click Here

Make sure any photographer outside of an agency knows why you are having the photographs taken and be sure their copyright allows you to use the photographs for promotional purposes. You will find that some photographers may charge extra for allowing their photographs to be used this way. With babies and toddlers try not to have photographs taken in frilly dresses or uncomfortable clothing. Avoid fussy accessories like bow ties or bows in hair. Do not have your childs photograph taken against a cluttered background, stood in buckets or sat in baskets. Do not dress them up in costumes. Remember above all that an agency and its clients will need to see what your child really looks like!

How should I apply to a Child Model Agency?
Most child model agencies will require you to send one or more up-to-date snap shots of your child or children, either via e-mail or by post. Any child model agency's web site should have full instructions of what to do to apply and they should also be happy to tell you about this proceedure over the phone.

What should I look for in a Child Model Agency?
Choosing the right agency for you and your child is obviously a big decision. Here are some do's and don'ts when looking for child model agency

Do not consider any agency who approach you in the street. Reputable child model agencies never do this.

Do check out an agency's website. Make sure they have a proper office and are a registered company with a company number. This information must, by law, be displayed somewhere on their website and company stationery. Make sure the company is a model agency, not just a company who takes photographs. There are many companies who use the word 'model' in their company name who are not model agencies, they are photographic companies who want you to think they are model agencies.

Do not go to a 'Promotions Agency' who claim they will, for a fee, find a child model agency for your child to join. They already have a list of agencies that they will give you for you to apply to. With a little careful research you will be able to find many agencies to apply to yourself. Reputable agencies never have anything to do with this kind of 'Promotions Agency', although many reputable agencies are on these companys' lists of model agencies without realising it and without giving their permission.

Do make sure that any agencies you have applied to send you back their information. This should be professionally presented and give you all the information about the agency that you would want to know, such as how they will represent your child, what costs are involved, how the agency is run, what work the agency has been involved with and the agency's Terms and Conditions. Make sure you read the Terms and Conditions carefully .

Do call the agency and speak to them If you are unsure or have questions you wish to ask. Any reputable agency should be willing and able to answer your questions, and give information and advice both about their own agency in particular and child modelling in general.

Do go to agencies that want to meet you and your child. If an agency does not want to meet you how can they tell if your child is ready for modelling and performance work and how do you know that they are the right agency to represent your child?

Do not go to meet an agency at a hotel or hall. A reputable company will want you to come to meet them at their office. Not only is this a chance for the agency to meet your child but this also gives you the chance to check the agency out too. A meeting with an agency should be done on a one-to-one basis and not as part of a large group of parents and children.

Do ask any questions you may have when you go and meet an agency. They should be happy to answer.

Do not be pressured into signing up with an agency there and then. If your child is found suitable and offered a contract, you should be given time by the agency to think about it, especially if you have other agencies you have yet to meet. An agency should not repeatedly call chasing you for a decision. If you decide not to sign up with a particular agency they should accept this decision and not try and change your mind.

Should I pay a Child Model Agency for their services?
One of the most common comments we receive is 'I have been advised not to pay an agency'. Whilst it is true that it is illegal for any employment agency to charge a membership or joining fee, under the Employment Agencies Act it is permissable for an agency to make charges to cover the costs of any promotional material which they produce.

Child model agencies do not work in the same way as adult model agencies. Most adult agencies make no charges when a potential model joins. However, the model is required to have professional photographs taken at their own expense, often costing many hundreds of pounds, so that the model agency can represent them. A child model agency's clients will require that the agency produce a means of promoting the children on their books. This usually takes the form of a printed model book, a digital model book or images on a website. Whichever method an agency chooses, this incurs costs which the agency will pass on to you. This will include a range of design, production, printing, cd burning, distribution, i.t. and web hosting costs. Many agencies prefer to take photographs of your child themselves so that they achieve a uniform look to their promotional material, some will ask you to visit a professional photographer yourself and supply the agency with photographs. Find out how the agency proposes to keep your child's photographs and details up-to-date.

It is so important that when considering joining a child model agency that you understand exactly how they propose to represent your child and that you as a parent are comfortable with their methods. An agency should be happy to discuss their means of promotion with you and, if they use an interactive method such as a digital catalogue or website, show you how everything works. In the case of an agency using their website as a means of promotion you should be happy regarding their website security, making sure that the agency's site is only accessable by the agency's clients, not open to hackers and that no personal information, such as your address, is kept on their computers or servers.

Some parents like to sign their child up with more than one agency. If you are considering this option, make sure you ask any agency you are thinking of joining if they have sole agency representation as part of their terms and conditions. If they do you will not be able to enrol your child with any other agency. Every child model agency will work in a slightly different way and set their fee structures accordingly. Because no child model agency is able to guarantee work to any model on its books most will not offer to take their production fees out of any work gained and parents need to understand, when enrolling with an agent, the inherent risk that their child may not gain any work within their contract period.

Contact Childsplay:
114 Avenue Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 4SA

T: 020 8659 9860

E: info@childsplaymodels.co.uk

W: www.childsplaymodels.co.uk