Each Saturday, I meet with parents and their talented young folks to discuss how to get agency representation, where to find auditions, the Dos and Donts and so forth. I'm noticing a trend among clients and it has everything to do with photos. I can give tons of agency contacts and tips on how to get started but the train stops at taking photos to send to them. Some clients have invested hundreds in professional photos only to find they missed the mark on what agencies truly want to see. Others have invested in affordable decent photos but still struggle with which ones to use because they have tons to choose from. Even parents who choose to do it themselves grow frustrated attempting to take snapshots at home and flopping after numerous attempts to gain those great shots. Out of all these scenarios, it's snapshots, in my opinion, that are the most crucial part of gaining representation for new actors and models. While, it is possible to secure a reasonably priced photographer, that works well with kids and captures great shots an agency will love...it's not necessary, not for beginners at least.
As I begin to schedule the next PhotoShootOut, it became clear to me that clients truly need assistance with posing and snapshots before investing in a professional shoot with TYF or anyone for that matter. Even though our prices are super low, it still wouldn't benefit you if you're child isn't comfortable with posing, finding their best angles or showing off their personality. So if this is true for lil' ole TYF, than it is certainly true for all the overpriced photographers you're considering for your next shoot. If you've spent any time researching agency websites to see what they require for new faces to submit, it typically won't mandate professional photos. Some may say you can upload them if you have it, most will request snapshots and some for sure will demand that you only send raw fresh faced snapshots of your kid. No makeup, no fancy hair and certainly not the bells and whistles of wardrobe and backdrops...just plain old you or your cute kid actually. Unfortunately, parents don't know this; we've been misinformed, improperly educated and bamboozled by companies and uneducated industry folk into thinking these types of shoots are a necessity. NOT TRUE! Agencies accept new actors and models all the time and they wouldn't expect an extensive professional portfolio because they know you're new...duh!
Here's something else to think about. Why would you pay $500 for a shoot with your 7 year old when you know their features, teeth and overall appearance will change too many times within 6 months? What if that last baby tooth finally falls out or they have an uh-oh moment with the scissors, either way dramatically changing their look? Kids change too frequently from their infant to teen years to spend that kind of money. Even if you decide to start with professional photos and your kid is great, at least select photographers that have experience in the kids and teens portion of the industry and know what agencies look for. Don't get forced into their concept of wardrobe, lighting and scenery because it sounds cool. Look at agency website and plan your shoot concept around what you know the agencies want to see. If their current talent are posted on their website, that's a pretty good reference point to what types of professional photos you'll need. However, I still say start with the basics and perfect your snapshots at home with a cell phone or digital camera. You will, in fact, take snapshots often throughout your child's career because agencies and clients are always asking for updated photos to see if your child's look has changed.
As always, it's my personal mission to educate parents and help you make the best decisions for your kid's career. So instead of scheduling another photoshoot to get your portfolio started, TYF will be offering snapshot sessions. You'll watch me in action coaching your kids through posing and angles so you know just what to do at home. Then you'll get behind the camera and snap away. If interested in booking a snapshot session, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Talented Young Folks Founder