Modeling Terminology

Tired of not understanding the modeling jargon that comes with this business? This list should provide some help!

# | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X Y Z

3/4 Shot – photo from head to mid thigh.


Abroad – places outside of the United States where you can go to model, such as London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo.

Advance – a sum of money paid to you by your agent on behalf of an advertising company that wishes to book you for a job. This is usually paid in advance of your working to secure your services particularly if you are in demand as a top model.

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is a union for performers that establishes specific fees for different types of performances and protects the model’s or actor’s rights.

Agency –
an establishment that does business on behalf of the model, such as booking jobs and collecting payment for the model for a specific fee (usually 15-20% of dollar amount collected).

Agent –
a person who works for an agency or who has a privately held business to book models.

Art/Creative Director –
artist who creates layout for ads, illustrates model’s poses

Assignment –
this is the same thing as a booking or modeling job whereby a model is paid for services performed – runway, print, trade shows and other types of employment associated with modeling.


Beauty Shots – pictures that are taken from the shoulders up, featuring the hair, the skin, the eyes, the smile and the makeup. Also known as head shots.

Book (noun) –
a collection of photographs and tears a model uses to promote herself. Also called a portfolio.

Book (verb) –
to secure a job

Book Out –
when you tell your agency that you are unavailable to work for certain day(s), for example, a vacation or another job

Booker –
person at agency who sets appointments for models

Booking –
specific job assignment

Buy-out –
when a client arranges a one-time payment or flat fee for a commercial instead of paying residuals for the job. This means that you will not get paid every time the commercial plays – the fee should be quite substantial.


Call Time – actual time you are due on set

Call Back –
second interview after a go-see or audition that means they are narrowing down the selection and they are considering you for the job.

Casting –
the act of choosing a suitable model for a particular assignment.

Casting Director –
the person who works with advertising agencies to select the talent for a particular modeling job.

Catalog Work –
modeling for photographs which will be used in catalogs produced by a manufacturer or distributor to sell clothing or other items.

Catalog Modeling –
these models are hired to appear in catalogues like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears or other major department stores, and sell everyday products to average people. Requirements are flexible.

Client –
company who hires the ad agency, pays the model’s fee

Collection –
group of coordinated clothes being shown by a designer

Commercial Print Modeling –
This refers to models photographed to promote a product on billboards, buses, magazines and newspapers. This type of modeling can be divided into two sections- Fashion Advertising and Product Advertising.

Commission –
a percentage of model’s fee required as payment to agency

Composite Card, Comp Card, Card –
card with 3-5 photos of model and their height, eye and hair color and size information to promote and distribute to prospective clients. Currently, postcard-size is popular. One side contains a head shot, the other side several small photographs together with information about the model. Also called sed or zed cards.

Convention Modeling –
also called trade show modeling. These shows use many female models to demonstrate products and answer questions. You must look professional and believable to be a convention model!


Dresser – helps models dress backstage for fashion shows


Editorial – this refers to photography for magazines, including covers. This work is very eagerly sought after by models because of the exposure it provides.


Fit Modeling – modeling the original sample garment to test for sizing – clients choose a model whose measurements match the sample size exactly.

Fitting – when the clothes are fitted to the model. Usually, a model gets paid less than the normal modeling rate for this time.

Freelance – modeling for many clients without agency representation


Glamour Modeling – a glamour model is used to draw attention to something – a product, an idea, a mood or a message. Whereas the fashion model should not draw attention away from what they are selling, a glamour model should do the opposite. A viewer’s eyes will fall upon the model first, and then notice the message of the commercial. Sometimes when models are famous, there is no product, just the model – her or his body and personality, e.g. Swimsuit calendars, etc.

Go-see – job interview, model meets a client and shows portfolio


Hold – when the agency puts you “on hold” for a job, it means the client is seriously considering you and wants you to keep the time available for them first (if anything else comes up for that time, you must notify the agency before accepting another job)


Informal Fashion Show – in stores or restaurants, walk around, no runway. Also called Tea Room Modeling.




Line­Up – position of model and garment in a fashion show

Location –
assignment site outside the studio


Market Week – 4-6 times per year when seasonal clothing lines are shown to buyers

Model Agency –
represents model for employment and receives a percentage of the bookings

Model Bag –
a large tote or suitcase in which you carry all your makeup and working essentials

Model Release –
contract in which the model gives permission to use the photo as the client specifies



Open Call – casting when the client sees all models suitable for the type requested. Also refers to a specific day and time of the week when an agency sees new models who do not have a pre-arranged appointment.


Photographer Release – contract signed by the photographer. It gives permission to the model to use the photographs taken during a particular sitting.

Portfolio –
a collection of photographs or tear sheets demonstrating a model’s abilities in front of the camera. Also called a Book.

Print –
a photograph printed in newspaper or magazine form
Printwork – photography taken for catalog and mail order, books, brochures, ads for magazines or newspapers, magazine covers, commercial photography for household products, business products and services, glamour products

Producer –
person responsible for the day-to-day decision-making on a production

Product Conflict –
representing competitive products; i.e.,
modeling for Revlon and Cover Girl



Release – same as a Model Release or Photographer Release

Residuals –
additional money paid when a piece runs in repeat, rates dictated by the unions


SAG – Screen Actors Guild, union for TV and film performers

Sample –
a piece of clothing from a line that is specificly created for a shoot or a fashion show. Many samples are one of a kind pieces that are produced before the line is created. Samples are sometimes maked with permanent ink or have defects so that they cannot be resold.

Scout (noun) –
a person who scouts.

Scout (verb) –
to look for prospective models from smaller agencies, other locations, at the mall or on the beach; finding model potential in a crowd.

Set –
arrangement of props and furniture in a TV or photo studio

Shoot –
photo session

Showroom Work –
manufacturer’s showcase of a clothing line to buyers using live models – when the seasonal clothing designs are being shown

Stats –
statistical information of a model, including measurements, size, height, etc.

Stock Photographer –
one whose work is not for a specific client or job, but whose photos get listed in a general catalog by number for any client to select (for example, a photo of a barn house, of a cowgirl, of a male model with a horse)


Tear Sheet – a page containing the model’s image removed from a publication, usually a catalog or magazine. This sheet is usually added to the model’s portfolio.

Test Shoot –
a photo shoot used solely for the purpose of building a model’s book. Typically, a test shoot involves the model paying the photographer.

TFP (Time for Prints) –
photographer provides time and prints and the model provides a subject for the photographer to shoot. Generally offered by photographers who are transitioning into a new area of photography or trying to build their portfolio of work. Some photographers who are normally paid for their work will offer TFP shoots if there is a model he/she is particularly interested in working with.

Trunk Show –
informal modeling of one specific designer line, usually in a store or small boutique.


Usage – additional fees paid to the model per use of the model’s image. For example, a model may book a shoot with a client for use in magazine advertising. If that client also decides they want to use those images in TV ads, billboards, point of sale products, banner ads, or packaging, the model will also receive an additional amount per use of her image. Usually, duration of use is also negotiated with the initial shoot, so if a client decides they want to extend that use, they will pay the model an additional fee to renew.


Voucher – multiple page form with a model release on which client acknowledges hours worked by the model, agency copy used to bill and get paid.


Weather Permit – a location job that is dependent on fair weather, may be canceled the day before or that morning




Zed Card – see Comp Card

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