Do I need a portfolio for my child?

by Guest9356  |  earlier

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I have a 3 year old boy who is just getting started in the industry. I was told that at bare minimum, he needs a portfolio consisting of no less than six photos and preferably 10-15. The cost I was quoted was approximately $1000 which includes a full shoot with hair, make-up, change of wardrobe, etc. and then $40 to purchase copyrights for each individual photo. Not having any prior experience, does this sound reasonable? The agency offering this is an all inclusive full service agency, unlike most in town, according to what I was told. Also, is 15% an average cut to an agency.

Thanks in advance for your advice. I hope to hear from you soon as my son is scheduled for a photo shoot on Sept. 19th if I do not cancel beforehand.

 Tags: child, portfolio



  1. John

    Does this sound reasonable? No, it does not. In fact, it sounds illegal, or at the very least it sounds like extortion. Commercial print models do not generally use portfolios, and when they do it is similar to a fashion models portfolio - which is supposed to contain photos/tear sheets of the work you have done, not what you have paid for.

    Most of the time a commercial print model uses a modeling composite card (also called a Z card). In the case of young children and babies, they often only use a headshot or snapshot as what they look like changes so quickly from month to month.

    And, depending on what state you are in, an agency that offers services other than agency services (such as photography, printing, classes, etc.) that may be illegal. A full service agency is an agency that represents actors and models - not one that provides conflict of interest services. Unfortunately, there are some states that do not regulate agencies - but please check with your states department of business and professional regulation or licensing bureau.

    If you are looking for a full service agency, check the Screen Actors Guild website for a list of franchised agencies in your area (, under Resources, Agent Information) Those marked FS (full-service) are those that represent commercial print models in addition to actors. You will need to call to see what ages they represent - but if they do not represent children, be certain to ask if they could recommend someone who does. A referral can be terrific.

    There are also a few books out on child modeling available in your local library, bookstore or online. I am pretty sure at least one of them contains a list of agencies that specifically represent children.

    As for the 15%, yes that is normal (it is usually 10-20%) but there is not much motivation to get your son work if they are charging $1000 for photo shoots. Lets say there is a print job that pays $200. It takes your agent a week of negotiating with the client, sending over a selection of photos for them to choose from, scheduling with the talent, doing paperwork, etc. Then they get paid two weeks after that $30. Or, they can schedule in ten people in the same three weeks time to have photos taken for whatever is the profit on $10,000 plus $40 for a minimum of 60 photos (another $2400). That is why some states have made a conflict of interest business illegal for an agency to run. You are either a photography studio, or an agency. If someone is doing both, find someone else.

    Good luck to you and your son

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