Any parent will tell you that kids require patience, but how do you teach patience to pint-sized models? Photo shoots involve a lot of waiting—waiting for hair to be styled, waiting for outfits to be chosen, waiting for the photographers to set up. It’s difficult enough for adults to stay focused, so imagine what it’s like for a seven-year-old, sitting in a studio on a beautiful summer day, who is being told to stop squirming and to use an “indoor voice.”

Some kids fight the boredom by bringing books, video games or in one case, a string game with moves reminiscent of “cat’s cradle” that brought back my own childhood memories. Some kids hound you for attention, hanging on you, peppering you with questions like, “if an orange and apple fought, who would win?” And sometimes the pent-up energy devolves into what my gym teacher called “rough housing.” But for me, the most difficult situation is when the concentration required for the shoot is too taxing; it’s heartbreaking to watch a child who really wants to please you break into tears.

So how did this year’s young models perform? Devin, who has never worn a bowtie before, looked and acted like the perfect gentleman. Julianna was excited about every frame we gave her, particularly a magenta Lafont she wore even when she wasn’t in front of the camera. Taylor patiently perched on a stool, answering our questions about dancing and beauty pageants. And Max, who is new to modeling, was so calm and collected that we would have sworn he’s been modeling for years.

They may be kids, but this bunch couldn’t have been more grown-up on the set.

— Iris Johnson
Art Director, 20/20