Ask an Agent / Upfront Charges By Kids Model Agencies

Ask an Agent is a regular monthly feature answering your questions about the business of photography– the photography industry’s first Agony Aunt! If you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to Questions can be on anything to do with the photography business, such as photoshoots, marketing, professional practice, pricing, contracts, legal stuff – anything.

This week for Ask an Agent we have a question regarding aspiring young stars.

Dear Ask an Agent,

My 11 year old daughter would love to become a model. I have looked into model agencies and I have heard that you may need to pay when you sign up or pay to have their photographer shoot a portfolio for you, is this right?


Shanti Kapoor

© Patrick Harrison / Departures Design / Welsh Government

Hi Shanti,

Thanks for your query. We have consulted a few of the UK's leading kids model agencies so we can answer your question as accurately as possible.

In general, the most successful and legitimate model agencies will not ask you for any money up front. However, some may ask for a publication fee which covers the management of online profiles, any admin and paperwork, spotlight management and an in-house photoshoot. There is a process to being accepted onto an agencies books although you do not always have to have a portfolio before you sign up. There will usually be a casting/assessment day where the team of bookers and agents will decide if the child is ready for representation, depending on their confidence level.

We hope that helps. Hopefully we'll see your rising star on the books of an agency soon!

Whether you’re a creative director or a student, a photographer or a designer, an art buyer or an assistant, if you have any questions you’d like to ask a photographers agent please send them to and we’ll answer as many as we can!

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