How I Got My Start

KM101-Lorraine 1Hi I’m Lorraine Eastman. Like many girls, I wanted to be a model. After having numerous people stop me and tell me that I had a “good look,” I decided to call some agencies that I had heard about through friends. All three agents with whom I interviewed wanted to sign me.

After doing my research, I finally signed with an agency. My height being five feet seven inches held me back from doing high fashion or runway, but I did very well booking catalog, editorials, and commercial print. I loved the work! I never minded waiting or traveling. The glamour and pay was worth it all.

After modeling, I worked as a photo editor for two fitness magazines, which led to a job as an editor for a women’s fitness magazine. I loved the photography end of the business. Photography became my passion. Before I became a full-time freelance child photographer, I took a few of my photos to a well-known photographer in Los Angeles. I asked him his opinion of my work. He said he thought my specialty was kids and my work was amazing. From that day forward I started taking pictures of kids for modeling and theatrical agencies. Kids modeling cards became my niche. I was constantly on the lookout for kids to photograph to help build my portfolio.

I remember one time in particular when I was walking down the sidewalk along the beach in Marina del Rey,California. Coming towards me was a Costa Rican woman named Damaris with her two beautiful girls, Minka and Ambia. I asked her if I could take some pictures of her girls.

Damaris was excited about my offer. The following week Damaris and the girls came to my house and I tookthe pictures in an alley in front of a garage. Minka was wearing jeans, a tank top, and untied tennis shoes. Her younger sister Ambia was wearing a white, ribbed undershirt and jean shorts. I used black and white film for the photo shoot. The photos came out amazing! I was able to capture both of their personalities. I was very pleased with the photos. They were a great addition to my portfolio, and Damaris was pleased with the wonderful keepsake photos of her children.

Shortly after my photo shoot with Minka and Ambia, I took pictures of a six year-old girl named Alexandra, who was referred to me by a small modeling agency. Without telling me, her mother took the photos to an interview she had with Ford Models. Ford loved my work! The next day I received a phone call from Ford asking me if I would be interested in coming into the agency and showing them my book. That was my lucky break into the world of kids modeling. I did not have any actual tears (referring to jobs — not crying — and pronounced as “to tear paper”) to show in my portfolio, but I had all the wonderful photos I had taken of my cousins, and of Minka and Ambia. I remember the excitement even now. I had an appointment with Ford Models to show my portfolio. What more could I ask?

The following week I went to the appointment with my book in hand. On that day, not only did I get a job as a photographer for Ford Models, but the agent also asked me if Minka and Ambia would be interested in coming in for an interview. I was then able to help my new friends get into Ford Models (for print) and Abrams Artists (for commercial work). Not even a month went by before Minka and Ambia were booking national commercials. They say when you are meant to do something, things just fall into place.

In the first five years of working as a photographer, I completed so many photo shoots that I slowly became a professional, more skilled photographer. Besides my trade, I learned how to capture light in a flattering manner for the subject, and how to work with children, and capture them in photographs.

As the old saying goes, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” That quote could not be more true. If a child’s eyes look blank (no sparkle, staring into space), the photographer has not done his or her job.

During this time, I discovered a little boy named River who was a neighbor of mine. The family lived down the street from us. When I first met River he was four years old. I asked his mother if I could take some pictures of him. I did a photo shoot, took the pictures to Ford, and they immediately signed River. River is now 14 years old, and is one of Ralph Lauren’s top models.I soon started working for other topagencies such as LA Models, ABA, Mavrick Artists, Coast to Coast, RPM,Colleen Cler and many more.

I have done hundreds of kids modeling cards. I guess you could say that I have been on all sides of the business. Having worked as a model, a magazine editor, and a photographer I can look at the business from all angles. In KidsModeling101, I will give you all the tools to get you started and guide you through steps to help both you and your child be prepared for the exciting world of Kids Modeling.

P.S. In the past few years many children’s modeling agencies have seen a large increase in modeling jobs for kids. Because of a broader diversity of families, modeling and acting have become increasingly open to ethnicities. Due to the economy, many parents are looking at ways to bring in more income for their family. What a great way to make extra money in a weak economy. We all think we have beautiful children, and we do!
A child does not have to be classically beautiful to get work. A quirky look is very often in demand. Identical twins are also popular due to the fact that one child can only work for limited hours whereas twins can alternate. Whether it’s the special sparkle in Johnnie’s eyes, Sarah’s beautiful smile, or little Sammy’s dimple on his cheek, there is something in every child that makes them special and different. The most important thing with this business is for a parent to be realistic about whether their child has the inclination and interest to be a model. As a photographer, I cannot stress the importance enough that the child must want to be a model.   ……….Lorraine