How to become a young model for catalogues

Written by gail cohen
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How to become a young model for catalogues
Collect a portfolio to show potential catalogue model bookers. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Catalogue modelling can be one of the most delightful types of assignments for a child model because there's no gangway to fall from, no audience to capture that fall on camera and, for the most part, kids can be kids during breaks and socialise with other children on the shoot. Youthful models often become client favourites so they don't have to worry about callbacks. Catalogue modelling is known to offer steady work for child models, so if you know a child who fits the bill, getting started isn't difficult.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Photographs
  • Portfolio
  • Representation (agency or agent)

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  1. 1

    Assess your child's personality. You read that right. Good cheekbones are great, but a happy, contented child with patience and stamina offers photographers and producers the kind of cooperation that earns callbacks and repeated assignments. If your child looks good in a certain style of clothing, that can go a long way to getting a specialist catalogue company to choose her.

  2. 2

    Ask a professional photographer to take a series of photographs of your child in a variety of clothing and poses. Include tight head shots, full-body images in play clothing and formal threads. Commercial photographers know the importance of showcasing a child's face, but it's the way outfits hang on a child's body that gets them past the client and onto the catalogue's pages. Save money by heading for the local shopping centre. Tell the photographer you need model shots and he will know exactly what types of poses work best. Have the photographer put the images in JPEG format on a flash drive or DVD.

  3. 3

    Make a model's composite. If you know your way around computer software, set up a 22 cm by 28 cm landscape (horizontal) document. Import or insert at least five photos taken by the photographer to the composite layout. The best shot of all should be the largest one on the page.

  4. 4

    Add vital data to the composite layout by dragging or inserting a text box into the layout. Type in the child's modelling name, height, weight, shoe and clothing size. Consider omitting your child's last name from the blurb for security reasons. There's no need to legally change it; this is just a tip for those who wish to add an extra measure of caution.

  5. 5

    Prepare a portfolio. Use enlarged prints of the photos taken by the photographer to create a modelling portfolio. Any type of presentation portfolio will do the job as long as it includes removable pages with protective acetate sleeves. This repository is the tool that sells clients, agents and others once they get past the composite. The child wishing to specialise in catalogue modelling will need to include as many fashion-forward photos as possible. As the child's career grows, update the portfolio with tear sheets from all of the catalogues in which he or she has appeared.

  6. 6

    Get an agent. Hiring an agent to represent your child will be the most serious of your tasks in the quest to turn your son or daughter into a catalogue model. Ignore agents that make too many promises or ask for upfront fees. Reputable modelling agencies don't charge a fee to represent a child; they receive a 20 per cent commission (on average) of a child's bookings. Before you sign with an agent, ask to see a list of the catalogue publishers he supplies to make certain your child isn't stuck on a gangway.

  7. 7

    Ask agents about the services they provide when you first interview them. Some compile model portfolios or updated model composites for their clients as part of their fee structure. According to industry experts, reputable modelling agencies never advertise, so the secret to finding a good representative is to follow this tip: Find out who represents a top child catalogue model, then track the agency down and make an appointment to bring your child in.

  8. 8

    Prepare your child for rejection. The glitz and glamour of being a professional model is almost always balanced by a huge amount of rejection. Going to auditions, sitting in a room with 40 other children -- each just as cute as yours -- getting no callbacks after repeated modelling calls can take its toll on a child and a parent. Learning rejection isn't the worst thing for a child, but this is most often the single factor that pushes many kids and their parents to leave the profession. That said, once you and your child get a look at his photo on the pages of a catalogue, it might be hard to dampen his spirits, no matter how long it takes to get that next gig.

Tips and warnings

  • A modelling composite is an ever-changing document, so when you put one together, it's OK to dress the child in trendy clothing. Remember that size and height figures will change often.
  • There's no need to purchase a huge wardrobe for your child's photo shoot. Borrow clothing from friends and return them afterwards.
  • Understand that there are no guarantees. If anyone -- client, modelling school, agency -- guarantees to get your child a job modelling for a catalogue as a lure for signing your youngster, head for the door.
  • Avoid modelling schools. Many are expensive schemes established to exploit parents' desires to see their kids in the spotlight. If you are tempted to enrol your child in one, check them out online.

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