Why do I have to take my parents to my photo shoots?

  • Freya Hill

You’ve been thinking about becoming a model for as long as you can remember, you feel really confident about your ability to pose, you’ve started researching agencies and then boom! They ask for your Mum or Dad to come along with you. Is there anything more embarrassing than that?

For some girls and guys, walking into an agency with their fourty-something parent stood next to them is their idea of total hell. Firstly, they don’t look anything like a model! So in a modelling agency they seem a little out of place. Secondly, it’s really not cool to hang out with your parents when you’re trying your best to look professional and ready for work.


However, by law, child and teenager models are required to be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or model chaperone (a representative from a model agency) up until the age of 16. Let us explain why.

Firstly, although we appreciate that you will have done your research about the industry, you can never be too careful when it comes to finding modelling work as a young person. Having a parent or guardian with you is not about causing you social embarrassment, it’s about making sure you’re 100% safe.
You might be asking yourself this; ‘So when I’m 16, I’m not able to make decisions about being safe, but when I’m 18 I’m suddenly able to look after myself?’

To some extent we can see why you’d think this, but many young models will continue to attend castings and photo shoots with an adult at their side long after the legal age limit has passed. Some agencies and photographers will ask for you to be accompanied by a responsible adult even up until the age of 21. It’s all about when you feel comfortable going it alone as well as when the law says you can do so, so think of your Mum and Dad as your personal bodyguard, not as an embarrassment factor!


Your parents are there to give you advice and support. You will be amazed at how daunting your first few photo shoots are but having a familiar face in the background can be really reassuring. They will also be able to look after your bags, grab you a bite to eat and help explain any forms that you might need to read through. Who knows, if your parents are really cool maybe they could get a few back stage snaps of you for your Instagram?

If you’re totally confident about modelling and you think that having your Mum or Dad lurking around will be off-putting, don’t worry, most studios will have a separate room where your parents can sit back out of the way and enjoy a coffee. We must stress though that you shouldn’t be embarrassed turning up with them, agencies and agents will be expecting to see them with you. You will honestly look sillier turning up without them and then not being allowed to do the shoot.

Finally, you will often need a parent or guardian’s signature if you are under the age of 18 and wanting to participate in modelling. This will be for either (or both) a consent form (to say that you have your parent’s permission for you to model) or a permit (which allows you and the team to work together). Without these signatures the photo shoot cannot go ahead so don’t try and avoid taking your Mum and Dad with you, be the knowledgeable and professional person and know that they will be required.

One further word of advice; if you are over the age of 18 but you look particularly young, it’s well worth carrying your ID with you whenever you meet casting agents or photographers.

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Posted by Freya Hill

Freya is been writing for many years on fashion and modelling. Her hands are a bit too wrinkly for a 23 year old and she has worked with MTV, New Look and Vauxhall Fashion Scout.