How to Survive an Infant Casting or Photo Shoot

Autumn baby girl
Arief Juwono / Getty Images

Baby modeling can be a ton of fun. Who doesn’t love hanging out with their child and constantly being told how adorable they are? But, baby modeling is also a tricky business. Schedules are tight—babies are only allowed to work for a couple of hours a day—and even the cutest babies are unpredictable. They don’t always nap when they’re “supposed” to. They get cranky. They cry. And it’s not as though they can tell you what’s wrong!

Some shoots supply a “baby wrangler,” whose sole job is to help relax overwhelmed babies and their parents. These trained professionals dangle toys, sing songs, and make funny faces—whatever it takes to keep the child calm, happy, and entertained.

But a lot of time you’ll be on your own, meaning it’s up to you to think of new and clever ways to distract your child, stave off the stranger-danger, and keep the shoot rolling on time and on budget. Out of ideas, or want to be as prepared as possible for an upcoming infant casting call or modeling shoot? Here are some tried and true tips for both you and your mini-model in the making.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to call the casting company or agency and ask what to expect before, during, and after. They can fill you in on what typically happens and offer helpful suggestions that will calm your nerves and give your child the best chance possible.

Change the Environment

Castings and photo shoots can be hectic and crowded, so try taking a quick timeout to help reset both you and your baby’s mood. Take your baby somewhere quiet for a few minutes, like a bathroom or a break room, for a snuggle and some soothing words.

Leave Extra Early

As you’ve probably noticed, a stressed-out parent often results in a stressed-out child.

So, do everything possible to show up on time and avoid last-minute panic. Pack the night before, try your darndest to nap/feed/burp your child before you arrive, and leave time for unexpected diaper changes, spit-up incidents, and meltdowns. All of this is easier said than done, of course, but it never hurts to be super prepared.

Bring an Extra Set of Hands

If you’re stressed about solo-handling the day and all of the uncertainties that go along with it, like the traffic, the parking, and the endless diaper/onesie changes, then bring along a spouse, a family member, or a friend (preferably one your baby adores). A helping hand is always useful, especially if it’s your first time attending a casting or shoot.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be a Parent

While it’s ideal if your baby doesn’t mind being held by strangers, some newborns simply haven’t had enough time to get used to being held by people they don’t know. They just really need their moms or dads, and that’s okay! It’s not unheard of to photograph a baby sitting on a parent’s belly or being held in their hands (with the mom or dad cropped out, of course). A loving touch can be just what the baby needs to pull off a great photo.

Bring Something Familiar

Every baby has something that they absolutely love.

Maybe it’s a swing, a well-used baby carrier, a special toy, or a random object that, for some strange reason, holds their attention (like a broken calculator or an empty mint container you found in the bottom of your purse). Whatever it is, bring it! Babies love a sense of familiarity and this one item could be the difference between an on-set meltdown and the cutest photo ever taken.