Mostly every mom has heard someone say, ‘You’re child is so cute, he/she should be in a magazine.’ Well, the opportunity arose where my daughter was asked to be in a photo shoot for a nationally known children’s company’s catalog. I was unsure if this was something that I wanted may 18 month old daughter to be involved in. As a licensed social worker, I wondered about how the modeling life style impacts young children emotionally. After careful thought, I decided that I would try it out once and then come to a determination if my daughter would be involved in this again.
Waiting. When you originally think baby modeling, the first words that may come to mind are ‘exciting’ and ‘adorable’. No one thinks about the waiting and the amount of time it takes before the shoot. I had to travel an hour an a half to the location of the shoot. I thought that was long, but the parents of the other children at the shoot traveled up to six hours to get to the location. My daughter had a call time of 1pm. I wrongly assumed that meant that she would be getting prepped at 1pm and the shoot would begin at 1:30. Because of delays from the shoots of the other models, a longer them expected prep time, and preparing the set, it was 2 and a half hours before my daughter even got in front of the camera. My daughter was occupied playing with the other children during that time, but any parent knows that trying to keep a child occupied for that long is not an easy task. It is especially not easy when you are also trying to ensure that your child does not get too tired so they will be cranky on-set.
The Shoot. After 2 1/2 hours, we were finally on-set. Thankfully, my daughter loved being in front of the camera and was smiling and doing the tasks the photographers asked. The photographer got the pictures he needed in about 5 minutes and she was done. There was another little boy there, about 5 years old, who refused to get his picture taken. He would cry and hide behind his mother. Perhaps the little boy was just not in the mood today. One thing I wanted to be sure of was that my daughter enjoyed it. She appeared to love playing with the other children and being in front of the camera. This should never be something that a child is forced to do if they do not feel comfortable.
Post-Shoot. One thing I did notice was the reaction my daughter had when she was done being on-set. During her shoot, all the staff were looking at her, doing things to get her to smile, and clapping for her when she did what they asked. She loved it. But then, she was done, and the attention focused on the next child. I could see that my daughter was confused by this. I gave her a high-five, which is her favorite thing to do this week, and a big hug. She smiled. We then moved to the side and watched the next little 14 month old girl be photographed. My daughter clapped for the other girl, and smiled as she saw the other little girl playing with the props on the set. I wanted her to understand that even when the focus was no longer on her, that she could still be happy for the other person who was now in the spotlight. If you do chose to have your child be involved in modeling, be sure to help your child process that they are not any less special when the attention is no longer on them.
Overall, my daughter appeared to have a great experience. It will be exciting to see her picture in a catalog. I will most likely cut the photo out and put it in her baby book. The whole experience was draining for me. The long drive to and from the location, occupying my daughter during the wait, and getting my daughter to smile on-set was a lot of work. I am not sure if we will do it again, but it was a good experience to have. If you do choose to get your child involved in modeling, use a trustworthy modeling agency that does not ask you to pay a dime, make sure this is not something that you are forcing you child to do, and make it fun for your child.