Modeling Resources

Modeling Terms and Phrases

For Models and Photographers

Here is the most complete, most detailed glossary of modeling terms and phrases (model lingo and modeling slang terms) that you will find anywhere on the Internet. I have defined more than 150 modeling industry terms in detail and included links to additional reference material.

Every industry has its own unique vocabulary, and modeling and acting are no different. If you want to become a model it is important to learn the language so that you can communicate effectively with other models, modeling agencies, and photographers. This includes the proper inductry terms used by modeling agencies as well as model slang words used across the internet.

Modeling Tip: Don’t be a poser! When you meet with an agency, client or photographer – that is a business meeting and it is important that you understand what you are being told. If you don’t understand something they are telling you – ASK for an explanation. Remember, they were new to the business at one time and I assure you, they would rather have you understand so that everybody is on the same page, then to have you pretend that you got it and then screw something up. This is one case where “fake it till you make it” will ultimately make you look like a fool.

Modeling Terms A-Z

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

Modeling Terms – A


When a modeling agency or agent spends money on your behalf for marketing materials (photo shoots, comp cards, post cards, etc.). These are costs that the model is ultimately responsible for – so the agency “advances” the money to the model and then deducts it from his/her earnings. Note: Most agencies do NOT give advances. This practice is generally reserved for the top fashion modeling agencies in the world.


A newspaper or magazine advertisement that looks like an editorial piece but actually promotes the advertiser’s product, services, or special point of view is referred to as an advertorial.


Formerly the television performers union American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, in 2012, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) merged with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to create SAG-AFTRA. Some modeling agencies also provide talent and casting services so they become members of SAG-AFTRA so that they can submit their talent for television and movie projects. (See also: SAG-AFTRA)

Art Director

The person who is ultimately responsible for the creative decisions that are required to produce a print ad, TV commercial or industrial video. The “AD” coordinates with the client as well as the stylists, photographers, and / or cinematographers to create the “look and feel” of the finished product. Their decisions frequently determine the type of models or actors that are used for the project.

Age Category / Age Range

The age range in which a modeling agency intends to market you is your age category. You generally don’t see a model’s actual age on their comp card, modeling agency website listing, or other marketing materials. You will usually see a range that is between 5 – 7 years over and under the models actual age. This range will of course vary based upon the model’s look.

Agency – (See: Casting Agency and Modeling Agency)


A person who actively pursues work for the model/actor and receives a commission for each booking he/she sets up. Generally models don’t work directly with agents, they sign with modeling agencies and are managed by a booking agent. (See also: Booking Agent)


Similar to a job interview, this is where you meet with the client or the decision makers who have been appointed by the client. This term was originally used for acting jobs, but it is commonly used for models as well. (See also: Casting – Go-See – Cattle Call) If the client or your agency is calling this meeting as an audition, it means that you will probably be expected to demonstrate some type of talent. That could mean anything from your ability to look excited to how good or bad of a dancer you are – it all depends on what the client needs you to do in front of the camera.

Modeling Terms – B

Background – (See: Extra)

Modeling Terms A-Z

Beauty Shot

A headshot with excellent, clean makeup and a very simple hairstyle is labeled a beauty shot. The shot is lit and composed by the photographer to show a model’s beautiful skin, excellent bone structure, and incredible eyes. Big hair, jewelry and heavy makeup are distractions that don’t belong in a beauty shot. This is a common image in a modeling portfolio.

Learn more about Beauty Shots in this article: What is a Beauty Shot?

Big & Tall

The male model version of “plus-sized” is “big & tall”. These men are generally 6’4” and above and wear a size 44 suit or larger. As with their female counterpart, they must be fit and proportional.

Billing Form(See: Voucher)


A large modeling agency may have a Fashion Board, a New Faces Board, a Teens Board, a Men’s Board, etc. In a larger agency, each of these groups will also have their own dedicated booking agents. This term originated with big city fashion modeling agencies. They would place the model’s comp cards on shelves or in racks on the wall. Different parts of the wall represented the different categories (boards) and there would be a supply of each model’s comp cards so that the bookers could easily mail them to clients or hand them to clients visiting the agency.

Book – (noun) (See: Modeling Portfolio)


Any type of modeling job, paid or in trade is referred to as a booking. Ex: “I have a booking next Wednesday to shoot a catalogue.” or “I have been booked for a print job.”

Booker / Booking Agent

The person at a modeling agency who represents the agency’s models to clients is a booking agent. A booker’s responsibilities include consulting with clients regarding which models will best suit their needs and then setting up appointments for the models and communicating to the models information about the assignment.

Booking Conditions

Most modeling agencies have a cancellation or rescheduling fee known as a booking condition. Examples of other fees that could be agreed on between a modeling agency and a client would be overtime or weekend booking fees, extreme weather conditions and nudity – all of which generally pay more to the model.

Booking Fee

The charge that is made by a modeling agency to the client for the agency’s services is a booking fee. Most agencies charge a 20% booking fee to the client and then take 20% from the model. Ex. If the model’s rate is $100 – the modeling agency then charges the client a total of $120.00. The modeling agency earns a total of $40.00 for the booking. (See also: Commission)

Booking Out

When a model notifies their agency that they are not available for work on specific days. When you have notified your booking agent that you will be on vacation, you are “booked out” for that time. This prevents the embarrassing situation for a booking agent where they get a job for a model and then are forced to call the client back and say that the model is not available because he/she is out of town.


A style of photography that is usually set in a bedroom with the female model wearing lingerie or very revealing clothing. Very little boudoir work is booked professionally through modeling agencies, but this is a very popular category amongst amateur models that book shoots through online modeling websites.


Information given by the client to the agency about the details of the job is referred to as a brief. A separate brief is then created from the agency to the model with details about call times, locations, specific preparation details, etc. (See also: Call Sheet)


A one-time payment issued to the model for use of his/her photographs for a specific time without making any additional payments to the model or agency. Many clients will choose a buyout instead of paying residuals. This is always negotiated in advance and is generally a payment on top of the model’s fee.

Modeling Terms – C

Call Back

A second audition or meeting with the client. This is generally used to help the client to narrow down their choices by having the people they liked come back and try out again. It’s not uncommon to get a call back before getting the job or even before being turned down for the job.

Call Sheet

The notice that is provided to all people participating in a photo shoot or TV commercial shoot is referred to as a call sheet. The call sheet includes details about times, location, and how you should prepare. Preparation details may include what you should wear or what outfits you should bring, how you should prepare your face (arriving bare faced or with light makeup), how you should do your hair, etc. The details outlined on the call sheet are not suggestions, they are terms of employment – follow them to the letter. If you have questions, call your booking agent immediately.

Call Time

The time that the model is expected to arrive and be ready to work. A good rule of thumb is to prepare your model bag the night BEFORE the job and arrive at least 15 minutes early.

Camera Left / Right

Directions that are used by the photographer, assistants, and stylists on set when referring to the position of lights, props or modifications that are needed to clothing or accessories. These are from the photographer’s side of the camera – not the models. Ex: A photographer that needs the stylist to fix the models left sleeve would ask the stylist to fix the sleeve on “camera right”.

Camera Ready

A direction on a call sheet or brief that means you are to arrive for the job with your hair and makeup done and ready to get in front of the camera with minor touch-ups. This tells the model that there will not be a makeup or hairstylist on set and that they are responsible for their own hair and makeup.


Short for advertising campaign, this generally refers to a series of print ads or TV commercials that will be done for the same advertiser. Well-known examples of talent hired for campaigns include The Verizon Guy and Flo from Progressive Insurance.


When a job is cancelled – usually 24 hours before a booking is scheduled to begin. Most modeling agencies have Booking Conditions that provide a cancellation fee paid to the model when a job is cancelled on short notice.


The process of selecting model(s) for the specific job is casting. Clients will give a brief to the modeling agency describing what they are looking for in a model. The brief will detail specific physical features or skills that the job requires. The modeling agency will then make recommendations to the client based on their available roster of models. Clients are then given the option of making a selection based on the digital submissions or comp cards, or scheduling a casting call so that they can meet and interview the models before making a selection.

Casting Call

A job posting for modeling and actors for a specific job or role is a casting call. A closed casting call is one where the talent has been pre-selected by the agency or the client and invited to attend. An open casting call is one that is broadcast to numerous modeling agencies and often posted in trade journals and online casting and modeling websites. Open casting calls are open to anyone who would like to attend. Scam Alert: You should NEVER be charged to attend a casting call. If there is a fee involved – DON’T GO!

Casting Agency

Similar to a modeling agency, casting agencies specialize in finding people with specific talents like acting, singing and dancing. Casting agencies frequently also represent models on a non-exclusive basis.

Casting Detail Sheet

Similar to a Brief, the Casting Detail Sheet contains all the important information about the casting; date, times, client, directions and any preparation notes.

Casting Director

The person who represents the client (often a booking agent) to help find the best talent for the project is called the casting director.

Catalogue Model

Models who model clothing or pose with products for mail order companies and online retailers.

Cattle Call

When several agencies send many models of the same general type to a casting because the client or the casting director posted the job publicly in a trade journal or on a casting website. (See also: Go-See)

Catwalk – (See: Runway)

Character Model

As the name indicates – these are models that are hired to portray characters. That could range anywhere from a Mom to a nurse to a businesswoman. These are the models that look like attractive, everyday people and have some basic acting ability.


If you flake and don’t show up for a job, the client can charge your agency for the loss it incurred since the photographers, makeup artists, and stylists all got paid because they showed up. These charges can be very hefty and the agency will charge them back to you, and after you pay them, they will most likely drop you since you embarrassed them.


The politically correct term used to describe older models – generally age 40 and over.

Clean Clean

A direction on a call sheet or brief that means you are expected to arrive for the job with clean hair and a clean face. That simply means you should not have any product like gels or hair spray in your hair and you should not have any makeup on your face.


The company that hires and pays the model is the client. Remember – modeling agencies don’t hire or pay models – clients do. The agency invoices the client after the job is complete, the client then pays the agency and the agency then deducts 20% (in most cases) and then pays the model the remaining balance.

Cold Read

A short script that you are asked to read at an audition, casting call or go-see. It is referred to as a cold read because you are not given time to rehearse or memorize the lines. It is handed to you and you read it – cold – with no warm up.


A group of coordinated clothes being shown or photographed for a fashion designer are called a collection.


The dialogue or script that is read during a fashion show to describe the clothing and accessories.


The person that reads the commentary at a fashion show. Frequently also called a host.


An advertisement appearing on TV, radio, and other forms of audio and visual media is a commercial.

Commercial Print Advertising

An advertisement appearing in print is a commercial print ad. Newspapers, magazines, brochures, posters, and billboard are all examples of commercial print advertising.

Commercial Print Model

A model that appears in commercial print advertising is a commercial print model. These are the models that appear as characters in everything from ads for various products and/or services. Because commercial print models are representing “real people” the physical requirements are not as strict as they are for fashion models. People of all different body types and sizes work as commercial print models.


A commission is your agency’s fee for getting you work. Most agencies deduct 20% from whatever you earn. (See also: Booking Fee)

Comp Card

The best images from a model’s portfolio and the equivalent of a business card for models are displayed on a comp card. Printed on heavy card stock, comp cards are given to prospective clients by agencies and models. A comp card generally has the model’s headshot and name printed on the front and between 3 – 5 photos on the back along with the model’s stats.

Read: What is a Comp Card? for more detailed information.

Composite – (See: Comp Card)

Contact Sheet / Proofs

The term Contact Sheet refers to the rarely used paper proofs (made by laying the film negatives directly on a piece of printing paper in a darkroom, exposing the paper to light and then developing the print) of the film days. In the digital realm the more commonly used term is Proofs, which refers to the un-retouched digital images that a photographer posts online after a shoot so that the model and or his/her agency can review them to select which ones should appear in the model’s portfolio.

Copy Book

Busier models in larger media markets (New York, Los Angeles) sometimes need more than one copy of their portfolio. A copy book is a second or even third portfolio. Depending on the model and the market, variations are made from one book to the next to cater to specific clients or segments of the market (ex: One book is geared for fashion and the other is geared towards fitness)

Creative Director

The person that oversees the overall creative direction of the project is called the creative director. This person is hired by the client and usually has final say over all decisions including the selection of the models.


The people who assist in the shoot are the crew. Makeup artists, stylists, photographers, assistants, etc., are all a part of the crew.

CYC Studio

Slang for cyclorama, a cyc studio has no corners. The spaces in the actual corners of the room and where the wall meets the floor are rounded and have no edges. This is used to create the illusion of unlimited space or distance and eliminates ugly edges.

Modeling Terms – D

Day Rate

The models pay rate for a full 8-hour day of work. This is the fee that the agency quotes and charges to the client before taking their 20% commission.

Daylight Studio

A photography studio that is lit with natural light from large windows or skylights is called a daylight studio.

D.B.A (Doing Business As) – (See: Stage Name)


Money withdrawn from the model’s earnings to payback loans that the agency made towards her marketing expenses classifies as deductions. This is a common practice in major market fashion agencies – not so much in smaller markets.


A model that demonstrates products at trade shows, expos, and stores.

Direct Booking

When an agency is able to secure a booking for a model without a go-see or audition. A direct booking usually happens based on the client trusting the booking agents recommendation or by the client simply reviewing the model’s comp card or portfolio online.


The person who helps model dress backstage at a fashion show is referred to as a dresser.

Modeling Terms – E


Images that are created to illustrate a story in a magazine or newspaper are considered editorial in nature. Applied to modeling, this term refers to images that are more edgy and creative than commercial advertising images.

Eight by Ten (8×10)

Refers to the standard industry print size eight by ten inches. Frequently it is used as a noun when talking about a model or actors headshot – “Eight by ten”.


  1. A contract that requires a model works exclusively with one agency. Exclusivity agreements can be based upon time, geography, or discipline (modeling / acting).
  2. A contract that insures a model will work only for a given client. Ex: a designer may sign a model exclusively so that he/she can only appear in their clothes. Ex: The Verizon Guy and Flo from Progressive were exclusive to their companies.
  3. A contract that prohibits a model from working for a competing product or designer for a specific period of time.


Short for Exposition, expos are similar to trade shows. Companies will show off their products and services and frequently need models to demonstrate.


A model or actor who appears in the background of the photograph or TV / movie scene is referred to as an extra. Extras are paid very little and rarely have speaking parts. The word background is also used to refer to an extra or extras.

Modeling Terms – F

Modeling Terms

Fashion Model

Male or female models that meet very specific height and body weight requirements as requested by fashion designers. Fashion models are generally slender, with long legs and well-defined features. A fashion model can appear live on a runway or in print in editorial layouts or catalogs. Fashion models can also work as fit models and showroom models.

Fit Model

Male or female models that a fashion designer uses to size and measure their clothes before beginning production. Fit models must fit the sample size preferred by the designer and must maintain very specific measurements. Body types for fit models vary based upon the designer and fit models do not have to be as photogenic as their print counterparts. Fit models are sometimes referred to as House Models.


A session where the model tries on clothing and shoes before a fashion show or photo shoot so that alterations can be made if necessary.


A model that works directly with clients without agency representation.

Full-Length Shot

A photograph of a model that shows him/her from head to toe.

Modeling Terms – G

Getting Signed

When a modeling agency agrees to represent a model. While this sounds very formal, frequently nothing is signed – it is simply a statement of intent that the agency is going to work to find work for the model. If the agency requires any type of exclusive contract or has special terms, then they will likely require the model to sign a simple contract that outlines the terms and duration.

Gig – (See: Booking)


An appointment scheduled by an agency for a model to meet with a client or photographer. Derived from “go see someone”, for a commercial model, a go-see would involve being seen by someone who is casting for a commercial shoot. In the case of a fashion model, a go see is simply a method of introduction to people who routinely hire models in the hopes that they will remember you the next time they are hiring for a shoot or a show. In both cases, the model is expected to take his/her comp card and portfolio and dress appropriately. Models do not get paid for attending go-sees.


Agencies in some foreign markets, specifically Asia, will guarantee that a foreign model (ex. model from the USA) will earn a specific amount of money during a stay lasting from two to six months. In the United States, no legitimate modeling agency will make ANY guarantees of earnings to a new model.

GWC (Guy With Camera)

Generally used in a derogatory way to describe someone who has purchased a fancy-looking camera and some accessories and joined one of the online modeling communities in order to find young and naive men and women who are easily persuaded to pose for images that are of course going to be of extremely poor quality and certainly not beneficial to the model.

Modeling Terms – H

Hair Stylist

The person who cares for the model’s hair at a photo shoot, runway show or event.


Models traditionally were paid halftime for all travel time if the job was outside the market that they lived in. This practice is disappearing, as there are modeling agencies everywhere and it is not often that a client needs to look outside of their area to find the talent necessary for their project. Ex: If the model’s day rate is $100 an hour, they get $50 for each hour of travel to and from that job. The agency also takes 20% of halftime travel from the models rate.

Haute Couture

French for “High Fashion”; couture is a specialized high-end category of clothing made for the rich and famous. High Fashion editorial models are generally used for couture.

Head Sheet

A poster that includes the headshot and stats of models at an agency that would be mailed out to the agency’s clients. This practice was very popular in the 1960s – 1990s but is rarely used today as most agencies display their talent on websites instead.


Often referred to as an “8×10”, this is a head and shoulders shot of a model or actor. In both cases, it is the most important shot for the purposes of marketing. A great headshot needs to be flattering and engaging with lots of personality.

High Fashion

Sophisticated and chic clothing that is generally shown by big name designers and top models. (See also: Haute Couture)


If a client is considering hiring you for a project and they want you to keep time available for them, they can request that your agency put you “on hold”. If another job comes up while you are on hold, you need to check with your agency before accepting it. (See also: Option)

Modeling Terms – I

Illustration Model

A model that is usually hired to pose for artists is an illustration model. Frequently employed by art schools and colleges for their drawing and sculpting classes.


A video created for educational or sales purposes – not for broadcast on TV.

Independent Contractor

Models are paid as contractors and not employees. This means that clients do not withhold payroll taxes, pay workers compensation insurance, or provide any benefits.

Informal Modeling

A type of modeling that usually takes place in shopping malls, stores or restaurants, where models walk around casually to show off the clothing. There is no runway.

Modeling Terms – J

Junior Model

A younger model, generally between the age of 8 and 12 years old.

Modeling Terms – K

There are no terms listed under K

Modeling Terms – L


A seasonal collection of clothing presented by a fashion designer or clothing store.


The words that a model or actor must learn from a script.


A shooting or filming area that is not in the controlled environment of a photo studio or sound stage.

Modeling Terms – M

Male Model

Major Markets

These are larger cities that have a major media and advertising presence. A byproduct is that there is more modeling work available, which makes it easier to launch a career and earn money professionally. In the United States, the top media markets are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Dallas.

Makeup Artist

A makeup artist (MUA) is the person responsible for applying makeup and sometimes also responsible for hair styling.

Find a Makeup Artist.

Makeup Kit

A small backpack or case of hair and makeup products that a model keeps in their Model Bag for those jobs that they are expected to arrive at camera ready, which means that they are doing their own hair and makeup. Both male and female models should have a makeup kit.

Market Week

Occurring 4 – 6 times per year, this is when clothing designers show their seasonal lines to buyers from clothing and department stores.

Modeling Agency

A company that represents models and finds them work. Modeling agencies operate under the same laws as traditional employment agencies and make their money by taking a commission from the work that they secure from the model and also by charging the client a booking fee. Less savory agencies also charge up front fees to their models for photography, comp card printing, website marketing and classes.

Read: Modeling Agency Directory for a detailed listing of modeling agencies across the United States.

Model Bag

A tote or travel case that includes the basic necessities that every model should have available when on a job.

Model Release

A legal document that gives the photographer and/or client the rights to use the photographs taken during a shoot. The modeling release can be signed by the model, or by the agency. In many cases, when a model “signs with an agency” he/she authorizes the agency to review and sign all releases on his/her behalf.


Often used as part of the casting process, a monologue is a short scene or speech that is performed by a model or actor to allow a client to see their acting ability.

Mother Agency

A manager or modeling agency that signs a model to an exclusive contract and then markets the model to other modeling agencies usually in larger markets or foreign markets is referred to as a Mother Agency. Traditionally, the Mother Agency is responsible for developing the model’s skills and providing ongoing career advice to the model, regardless of what market they wind up working in. Mother agents make their money by taking a small percentage – usually 5% – of the models earnings for the duration of the exclusive contract.

Modeling Terms – N

New Faces

A term usually reserved for the larger fashion agencies, it applies to a new model whose portfolio is still in development. The agency will begin sending the model to castings and go-sees, but will not promote them to the main board until their portfolio is complete and they have gained some experience.


A job/gig that does not have union status. In other words, a job that does not require you to be a member of a union to be hired is referred to as a non-union job.

Nude Model

A model that is comfortable with the idea and willing to pose without clothes is a called a nude model. Nude modeling can range from artistic fine art type images to glamour nude images similar to the old Playboy style nudes. Nude modeling can include erotic or sexually oriented images, depending on a model’s comfort level.

Modeling Terms – O

Open Call – (See: Casting Call)


When a client has requested the right of first refusal for a specific block of time. This means that the model is expected to be available for the clients’ job if booked and cannot accept any other bookings during that time period. “First Option” means that the client has priority over anyone else for a specific time period. “Second Option” means that a client is first in line to book the model if the client who holds the first option decides not to book the model for that time slot. (See also: Hold)

Modeling Terms – P

Parts Model – (See: Specialty Model)

Pencil Booking

A potential booking that has been “penciled in”, but the client has not committed to the booking or put a hold on the model’s time. If another paid booking comes in for the time slot and the client has not yet committed, the model is permitted to accept the new booking.

Petite Model

In the fashion world, a petite model is generally 5’7” or less and wears a size 6 or less dress. In commercial modeling the term simply refers to the general size of the model.


The dictionary refers to a photographer as a person who takes pictures. In the context of photographing models, professional photographers are skilled in specific areas of photography; Fashion, Commercial, Lifestyles, Catalogue, etc.

Platform Model

A model that appears on stage in a demonstration for beauty or hair techniques.

Plus Size

In fashion terms, a plus-sized model wears a dress size from 10 to 20 with the average plus-sized model being a size 12.


A type of camera that used a film that provided a finished photograph approximately 60 seconds after taking the photo. Polaroids were frequently used for castings and go-sees to take a photo of each model and then attach it to the model’s resume or comp card. Also, fashion modeling agencies would shoot Polaroids of new models at open calls or interviews. The term is still used today to represent the “natural look” snapshots taken with digital cameras for the same purposes.


A collection of photographs of the model that were taken to show the models range and ability are referred to as a modeling portfolio. The prints are generally presented in a book of 8×10, 9×12, or 11×14 inch prints.


A position, posture, or stance that a model does during a photo shoot or a fashion show at the end of the runway.


A modeling job where the photographs are to be used in print. Examples include, but are not limited to: catalogues, brochures, billboards, magazines, etc.

Product Conflict

A no-no for all models. This is what happens if a model represents competing products.


A live event that requires models to promote a product or service.

Read: What is a Promotional Model? for more information.


A proof or proofs are generally the un-retouched images from a shoot that are used for the purpose of evaluating the images and making the final selections.

Modeling Terms – Q

There are no terms listed under Q

Modeling Terms – R

Recall – (See: Call Back)


A video tape compilation of a model or actor’s work. The video can contain video clips as well as a slideshow of still photographs.


Typically this is a payment that is made to the model after the original usage rights have expired and the client decides to use the model’s image again.

Resume / CV

A short and concise outline of your experience condensed into a three-column format on one page.


The process of calling on previous and prospective clients and photographers in the hopes of creating some interest in hiring you.


The walkway on which the model “shows” the clothing during a fashion show. Also called a “catwalk”.

Modeling Terms – S


The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was an American labor union representing film and television principal and background performers worldwide. In 2012, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) merged with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to create SAG-AFTRA. (See also: SAG-AFTRA)


The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is an American labor union representing film and television principal and background performers, journalists, and radio personalities worldwide. The union formed in 2012, with the merge of the Screen Actors Guild (created in 1933) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (created in 1952).


A “one-off” piece of clothing from a designer that a model wears in fashion shows or at a photo shoot.


The practice of a modeling agency recruiting a model to leave his/her current agency and sign with them is called scalping. This is not a practice that is appreciated in the business and generally has career consequences for the model.


A person who searches for potential new faces, by combing the rosters of smaller agencies, meeting people on the street, or holding scouting events. Larger agencies either employ scouts or use reputable freelance scouts.

WARNING: Unfortunately many modeling scams involve people or even companies claiming to be scouts for large modeling agencies. If a scout approaches you, be sure to ask for ID and then follow-up by doing research on the person and contact the agency they claim to be representing directly. If you are dealing with a legitimate scout – they won’t mind you doing so.

Sed Card – (See: Comp Card)

Senior Model

A model in his/her 40s, 50s, or 60s.


In a studio or on location, a set is the place where the photographs, film, or commercial are being shot.


Common slang for a photo shoot.

Show Card

Similar to a composite card, show cards are created by the larger fashion agencies to showcase their models as fashion show seasons approach.


A display room for fashion designers to showcase their lines to clothing buyers using live models.

Showroom Model

A model that works in a clothing designer’s showroom, showing clothing to retail and department store buyers.


A short piece of dialogue taken from a script that you will be expected to prepare or do a cold read from at an audition.

Sheet

When arriving for a casting call, cattle call, go-see or audition, a model is generally expected to “sign-in” with both his/her name and the name of the agent or agency that sent them.

SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera)

A term for digital images that have not been cropped, retouched or altered in anyway.

Specialty Model

Specialty Model

Also referred to as a “Parts Model”, a specialty model is hired for body parts such as legs, feet, hands, and other parts. Shoe models are also a part of this group and have standard sized feet (size 6-7 for women and size 10 for men).

Spec Shot

Photos taken on “speculation”, usually in hopes of being sold to a magazine.


A model / actor who is hired to represent a company or product in various media ranging from live promotional events, to print ads, to television commercials.

Stage Name

A stage name is a fictitious name that a model or actor uses in place of their own legal name. People with longer or harder to pronounce names or names that are similar to already famous people will often use a stage name for their careers. Many models that do nude modeling will work with a stage name so that a web search of their name will not match the nude images to their real name. When a model uses a stage name, they sign a modeling release by printing their legal name followed by the letter D.B.A (Doing Business As) and then the stage name.

Stage Parent

A label given to a pushy parent or guardian of a child model or actor who hovers and gets in the way of the shoot or has a negative impact on the child’s mood because of their demanding behavior.

Stats (Statistics)

The model’s specific sizes and measurements. The stats displayed on the model’s comp card or website profile will depend on the type of model. A female model will list her height, waist in inches, hips in inches, bust in inches, cup size, dress size, shoe size, hair color and eye color. A male model lists his height in inches, chest in inches, waist in inches, inseam in inches, shirt size, collar size, sleeve length, suit size, shoe size, hair color, and eye color. Teenage and adult models never list their age since the goals is to be able to represent a range of ages and they never list their weight as it is not an accurate indicator of a person’s build. Children should list hair color, eye color, height in inches, size, and date of birth. For infants and babies, weight, length in inches and date of birth are all that’s required.

Stock Photos

Photographs taken on speculation of the purpose of being sold through searchable online databases. Often, they use a wide variety of models posing as professionals and various characters expressing different emotions and representing everyday life in both a realistic and humorous way. Frequently photographers that shoot stock photography will do trades with models who are trying to build their portfolios. It is reasonable for a model to negotiate a trade and / or a percentage of any sale made of the photographs by the photographer.


The space used by photographers or production crews for a photo shoot. If a shoot is not taking place in a studio, it is a location shoot.


The person that is hired to select (style) the clothing and accessories that the model will wear and also collaborate with the photographer, makeup artists, and hair stylists on the desired look and feel of the photographs.

Modeling Terms – T


The actual printed page from a newspaper, magazine, or brochure that a model’s photographs are published in. The name comes from the idea of tearing the page from the magazine. Appearing on a company’s website does not count as a tearsheet.


A photo shoot that is done for either the photographer’s portfolio or the model portfolio as a trade. In major fashion markets it is commonplace for top-notch photographers to be paid to test with new models to boost the quality of their portfolios. The photographers will agree to do the test at a reduced rate compared to their regular fees if they have a standing relationship with the model’s agency or if they feel that the model can add something to their portfolio.

Test Shoot

A test shoot was a shoot that took place because a photographer wanted to “test out” a new piece of equipment. In this situation no money would exchange hands between the photographer, model or agency. In recent years, test shoots have given way to TFP and Testing.

TFP (Time for Print)

A phrase that became popular on amateur modeling websites like and, it is when a model agrees to pose for a photographer in exchange for prints for their portfolio. This is an arrangement that is beneficial to both new models and new photographers who are looking to get more experience working with models and also to build out their portfolios.

Modeling Terms – U

Usage Fee / Rate

Depending on the budget and scope of the job, models are sometimes paid for two different things. The first is their actual working time, which is covered by their “rate”. The second is a usage rate, which is a fee that covers specific use of the images. That specific use could be the medium like print or packaging, or it could be the difference between regional and national usage and the ability to use the images for a certain length of time. Anything above and beyond the initial agreement means that the model would be paid more money for additional usage.

Modeling Terms – V


The form that is signed by both the model and the client at the end of the job is referred to as a voucher. The model then turns the voucher into her agency and the agency will then bill the client so that the model can get paid. Clients don’t pay agency models directly. Payment is made to the model’s agency and after the agency deducts their commission, they cut a check to the model for the remaining balance. Models generally receive payment for their work anywhere from 30 to 90 days after completing the actual job.

Modeling Terms – W

Web Model

This is a somewhat derogatory term for someone who models for fun by using websites like and This is generally a model who is very new to the process and after stumbling onto either of these websites or the many copycats that are now in existence, thinks that they have found the easy path to becoming a “famous” model. Without doing any additional research they begin shooting with pretty much anyone who will point a camera at them and what they wind up with is no fame, a lot of less-than-flattering photographs and very bad habits learned at the hands of GWCs who didn’t teach them anything along the way.

Modeling Terms – X

There are no terms listed under X

Modeling Terms – Y

There are no terms listed under Y

Modeling Terms – Z

Zed Card – (See: Comp Card)

Joe Edelman

Joe Edelman is an award winning Photographer, Author, and "No Bull" Photo Educator.  Follow this link to learn more about Joe or view his portfolio. Please be sure to connect on the social media platforms below.
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