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As with older models, most baby models make a few hundred dollars for photo shoots here and there, while a few lucky babies make thousands. According to the child model website The Cute Kid, baby model rates start at $25 an hour -- if you can land a photo shoot for the kid. If your baby is a success, he may receive recommendations for other photo shoots or called in again by the same company, and you may have a chance at a higher rate.
By the Hour
The Cute Kid states that the minimum baby model pay rate is $25 an hour, and that $25 to $75 is the industry standard. However, you and your child are only paid for the time that the child actively participates in the photo shoot -- most agencies do not compensate for travel time and the model news outlet Jezebel notes that most photo shoots start with a long and unpaid waiting period.
The Cute Kid claims that if your baby's name and photos are passed around agencies and advertisers with positive reviews from past customers, the amount of money future clients offer goes up, as does the time blocks your baby may be scheduled for. Proven baby models can be called back for day-long photo shoots where the pay starts at $500. However, few babies have the temperament to remain cute and sweet throughout a long photo shoot.
The casting website Instant Cast reports that some baby models may have the opportunity to win bonuses for particularly good photographs chosen to appear in prominent advertisements or residual pay. TV spots and commercials offer baby models residual pay, a type of compensation dependent on the amount of airplay, which is similar to royalties. Instant Cast claims that residual pay can reach into the thousands of dollars from one commercial, but that only a handful of babies out of thousands of models manage to snag that kind of opportunity each year.
The Cute Kid and Instant Cast caution that baby modeling comes with its share of expenses and frauds. First, most models must work with a local modeling agency to for referrals to casting calls. Reputable agencies charge commissions on all models' earnings, usually about 20 to 25 percent of the total earnings -- -- disreputable agencies, agents and scouts ask parents for money up front. Additionally, parents need good photographs, resumes and business cards, and the time to drive to casting calls, dress up the baby and wait, often for no compensation.
Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.