There would hardly be a parent in New Zealand who doesn’t secretly believe that their little one is a star. So it’s no surprise that baby modeling is an industry on the rise. Loads of hopeful mums and dads get on the phone to child modeling agencies and ask to get their baby onto the books.
Yes, New Zealand does boast its own band of baby models – tiny tots whose adorable faces and sunny dispositions earn them a spot on TV or in the pages of catalogues and magazines. But the pool of pint-sized professional talent is small, simply because the opportunities for baby modeling in NZ are very limited.
Also, where you live can affect your baby’s chances of modeling, as most baby modeling opportunities are based in Auckland.
Having said that, there isn’t as much baby modeling happening as you may think, with a good percentage of the photos of babies and children in NZ ads being “stock shots” that are bought from international photo libraries.
Many New Zealand parents have discovered the hard way that some of those who do make money out of baby modeling are often photographers passing themselves off as talent scouts or booking agents. They advertise for fresh faces and talent, make a big fuss about a child, and then charge unsuspecting parents a fortune to shoot their child’s “folio”. Down the track they might even suggest you update the portfolio, for a fee of course, suggesting that it will boost your baby’s chances of getting work.
Time is money in commercials, with photographic studios, crew and talent usually being paid by the hour. This means that even the smallest performers are under pressure to deliver the goods, usually with a big smile, take after take for TV, photo after photo for magazine or newspaper ads.
Keep in mind that babies are famously unpredictable. Even outgoing and placid babies can burst into anxious tears when they’re in unfamiliar places, surrounded by strangers wielding strange flashing things, and out of Mum or Dad’s arms. So it’s no wonder that only those rare children with both the patience and the right look can even get a toe in the door when it comes to baby modeling in NZ.
If your baby does respond well to lights, camera, action, then approach a reputable baby modeling agency. They’ll soon let you know with their professional opinion if your child has got what it takes to star in a show or an advertising campaign.
There’s a long list of rules for babies and children working as models or actors in New Zealand. And rightly so! These rules are formulated to protect babies and their parents from being exploited or endangered in any way during a shoot. For example, babies less than three months old must be cared for by a parent or by a person approved by the parent, and cannot be exposed to harsh light, extreme temperatures, irritants such as contaminated makeup, or excessive handling and stimulation.
Babies and children up to eight years old cannot work more than six hours a day, no more than five days in a row, and no more than five days in a week. These hours include rest breaks and traveling times.
Unlike other western countries, NZ doesn’t have standard contracts negotiated by the performers? union and the producers of films, commercials and ads. There is only a set of guidelines, which aren’t binding. This means that fees can vary, starting with next to nothing if the production budget is small.
To get a better idea of rates for baby modeling in NZ, ask a modeling agency to give you examples of fees for different types of work.
Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to get out there and give it a go. Consider this advice and you could soon see your little one shoot to the top of baby stardom!