Kids Comp "Composite" cards

I'm headed to the Denver Fashion Weekend Summer show this weekend, and as it's kid's night I thought I'd chat a little about what composite cards are.

New parents in the fashion and talent industries are bombarded with information. One moment you're happily ordering your latte, and as you hand a whipped cream laden cocoa to your adorable child, someone exclaims "Oh what a gorgeous child! You should get them into modeling!" Suddenly you realize that you are wasting their precious potential by keeping them all to yourself.. what's a parent to do? Well there is a place to begin. 

First, as a parent, it is your choice and responsibility to dip your toe into the pool and test the water. It's a good idea to see if your child can sink or swim in front of the camera. The best place to see if you both enjoy modeling is during a photo shoot. "Send two or three color snapshots of your child, including head-only and full-body photos, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a short letter stating your interest," suggests Charles Ramsey, owner of Product Model Management, in New York City. A good agency will try to get back to you within several weeks, sending either a polite rejection letter or an invitation for you and your child to make an appointment. If the agents like what they see -- namely, a committed parent and a good-humored, charismatic child who seems capable of handling the demands of photo shoots -- you may be invited to sign a contract.

You only get 5 shots to make a good first impression with your comp card, and if you don’t hit the target with all 5 shots – you will severely limit your chances of being accepted by an agency. Just like your portfolio, your comp card must tell a story; the abridged version of your portfolio. It's imperative that the image on the front of the card MUST make people say “WOW!” This photo must be eye catching and engaging. Imagine if your comp card were tossed on a table with 20 other cards – Would it stand out? Would it grab an art director’s attention? Does it make them want to turn it over to learn more?


  • Actors need a strong close-up headshot and some 8×10 prints with the actor’s full name imprinted.
  • Models, once signed with an agency, will need a headshot (close-up) and then two to three other 3/4 shots or full body shots. These other shots are referred to as “LOOKS.”
  • An agency’s modeling comp card is usually about 5” x 8” on card stock and often has one headshot on the front with the model’s name.
  • The other 2-3 looks are on the back along with personal information like height, weight and clothing sizes.


Young models who book a 3 or 4 look package need to bring 3 to 4 outfits. The headshot outfit can often be used for another shot since it is not seen much in the closeup. All the other looks need to be complete from head to toe. Match footwear and accessories, like hats, bags, props etc. 


Generally I don't recommend professional makeup services for kids under age 12. Kids need to look like kids. My style is to keep it natural and keep it real. Sometimes having help with hair styles can be a good thing, but nothing too fancy, too mature or too over the top. I can book the hair stylist for my clients as needed. For girls ages 12-17, very light makeup can be nice: mascara and lipgloss.

Finally, the best thing to do as a parent of aspiring child models is to be supportive and let them explore the industry for as long as they still enjoy it. Composite cards are the beginning of your modeling career, so make sure they are a fun experience for both you and your kiddo!



Comp card kids Denver
Robin Johnson