Modeling Glossary
Bookmark and Share
This is a list of common terms and lingo used in the modeling world.

If you want to suggest a term to be added to the list, leave a comment at the bottom of the page!

quick links:



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

Accessories - Fashionable items that you wear to complement your clothing, such as jewelry, belts, pocketbooks, hats and scarves.

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.

Advertising - The action of getting the word out or letting the public know about a product or service.

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.

Appointment Book - A calendar or date book used to record bookings, go-sees or any other business activities. You may also use this book to keep a record of your expenses for tax purposes.

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.

Audition - This is a trial performance which is given to show the casting directors how well you are qualified for the job.


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.

Black and White Photo - A picture that is taken specifically to produce black, white and gray images. Usually black and white photos are suggested for head shots.

Book - This has two meanings: To book means to assign or a book can mean a model's portfolio

Booker - A person who gets the jobs for models; the same as an agent.

Booking - This is an 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 Back - When you go on an audition and the casting director likes your performance and wants to see you again.

Carriage - The way a model carries herself or walks.

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.

Cattle Call - This type of audition where hundreds of models will show up to be viewed by casting directors or photographers. Usually new models are sent by their agents so that they can be introduced.

Celebrity Model - A model who has become top in the field and who earns very high salaries. Also referred to as a "Top Model" or "Superstar".

Character Model - A model who is not necessarily a beauty, but who may have strong interesting facial features and selling attributes for specific products.

Checklist - A notebook which is referred to daily where you list all of your "things to do".

Child Model - A young model (usually between the ages of 2 and 12) who promotes products such as toys, clothes and food in ads on television.

Client - A person or company who a model actually works for and who pays the cost for advertising or production.

Commentary - A dialogue or script that explains the fashions being presented at a show.

Commentator - The person who gives the commentary at a show.

Commercial - Ad advertisement which is broadcast on radio or shown on television.

Commercial Look - A look that is appealing to the targeted audience. Usually this is someone that they can identify of the same age or ethnic background.

Commercial Model - A model that sells products that are generally purchased by their targeted audience. Fashions are not sold by this type of model.

Commissions - A percentage of the total amount of money paid to an agent on behalf of a model.

Competition - A contest between rivals or a term used to describe models who are just like you and working in the same market.

Composite - A photo card which is comprised of several different pictures of a model (usually 2-5 poses). This card can be produced in either 6x8 or 8x10 inch formats and should contain at least one head shot and different poses which show your best physical attributes.

Contact Sheet - This is a photo which includes all of the shots from one roll of film. (Each image is the size of a negative and should be viewed through a loupe or magnifying glass) It is printed so that the model can compare the slight differences in the poses and angles and select the best ones for the portfolio or composites.

Contract - A binding agreement which outlines specific terms and performance guidelines between two or more parties, such as an agent and model or model and client.

Coordinator - A person who brings together all of the aspects associated with a specific production, such as the hiring of models and the selection of location and production staff. The coordinator's tasks begin when the production is developed and ends at the completion of the project.


Day Rate - This is the amount of money paid to a model for one day regardless of how many hours that model works. The time, however should not exceed eight hours.

Demonstration - This is the act of showing an audience how a product works.

Designer - A person who conceives and creates fashions or other unique items.

Director - The person who supervises or oversees the production of a show. This person is responsible for the flow of the show and makes decisions about lighting, staging and overall presentation.

Dressers - The people who work back stage at a fashion show to help the models with quick changes by having the garments ready for them and helping them with buttons or zippers. They also keep the dressing room neat by hanging garments after they are worn.

Dry Skin - Sometimes dry skin is tight or itchy and it may appear dull. Be sure to cleanse with a cream or lotion (soap may dry your skin even more) and always use a moisturizer.


Editorial Print - These are pages in a magazine which tell a story or idea and where a model might be presented in a role that complements the storyline. There is the opportunity for a variety of models to work in this category from fashion to general or commercial looks.

Electronic Media - This is generally related to sounds or images that are made for the purpose of selling a product or idea. They can be presented live on radio and television or in video, film and slide productions.

Esthetician - A trained skin specialist who works to enhance the skin by using certain products and special massage techniques.

Exclusive - This means that you can work for only one specific agent or group because of contractual obligations.

Exposure - This term is used in relation to a section of film, such as the number of exposures; or it can mean the amount of publicity a model receives from ads, commercials, promotions or public relations.

Expenses - The amount of money that you spend on items or travel related to your work as a model.


Facial Features - This could be your bone structure or cheekbones, your lips, nose or eyes. These are viewed most often by clients in the hair or cosmetic industry.

Fashion Model - This is a model who meets the specific size and height requirements to model designs in live fashion presentations or fashion layouts in newspapers and magazines.

Fashion Photographer - This is a professional photographer who specializes in photographing fashion models.

Fashion Shot - This is a picture that specifically captures the details of your outfit and features you from head to toe. This type of picture is a must for your composite if you are a fashion model.

Fee - The rate of pay that an agent will charge the client for booking you. This can be an hourly rate or daily rate.

Fit Model - A model with standard proportions who tries on newly manufactured clothes before they are presented in a show or layout.

Flat Fee - A set amount of money that has been negotiated for a particular job.

Formal Fashion Show - A formatted fashion show which takes place on a runway, stage or other locations that can house an audience.

Format - A specific arrangement or plan for a presentation.


Garment District - The area in a city which houses a majority of fashion designers and manufacturers, such as New York's Seventh Avenue (also known as Fashion Avenue).

Glossy - The type of finish on a professional photo which is most commonly used for head shots. A glossy can be ordered in quantities of 50 and sent out to casting directors or agents with a resume attached for the purpose of getting booked for commercials or films.


Hairdresser - The person who cuts, colors and styles your hair on a regular basis or on the set of a job.

Handbook - A book that gives you knowledge about or guides you through a successful career.

Hand Model - A person who works in print or commercial jobs that photograph just your hand. For instance, a model with long slender hands which are well groomed should take a few photos of the hands holding different products.

Headsheet - This is a poster or a book produced by an agent which includes pictures of several of the agency's models. The agency mails the headsheet to prospective clients as a form of advertising the agency's models.

High Fashion - This is a term used regarding the best of the current fashion trends.

Highlight - To highlight is to bring out, enhance or feature something or someone. This is also a term used in makeup where you blend lighter shades to add balance to your features.

House Model - A model who works for a specific designer modeling within the design studio.


Image - What you present as a complete or total look or fashion statement.

Interview - A meeting at which information is obtained, usually between a model and an agent or client.




Layout - The way photos and words are positioned in an ad to make it appealing.

Leg Model - A model who has well-proportioned legs and who models stockings and beauty lotions or products specifically made for the legs.

Live Promotion - A trade show or other event where a model may demonstrate products or hand out samples or flyers for a specific client.

Location - A area outside of the studio where you go to take pictures, such as a beach, a vehicle or a specific building, street or country.

Loupe - A circualr-shaped magnifying glass used to enlarge the view of composites so that you can see all details of the shot.


Madison Avenue - A well-known street in New York that houses many top advertising agencies.

Mailing List - A very important list of names and addresses that a model should have to send composites to on a regular basis. Even if you have an agent, you should continue to promote yourself until you become a top model by mailing to ad agencies, manufacturers, designers, catalogues and department stores. You can get these lists through label houses or through resource books - many are available at the "Models Mart" in New York City.

Major Markets - These are cities that, because of their large populations, pay the most money for commercials and advertising. Great areas to launch a successful modeling career are New York City, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Makeup Artist - This is a person who applies makeup professionally to models and other people before they appear on television, in films or any other public platform.

Makeup Kit - Usually a plastic cosmetic bag or tote to carry all of the glamour essentials.

Male Model - A man who models designer fashions and who wears a size 40R with a 6' height.

Mannequin - Another word used for a fashion model. It also a style of modeling in which the live model appears to be inanimate.

Market - An area that is frequented by models for fashion work.

Model - A person who works in the field of fashion to wear clothes for viewing or who demonstrates or displays other items for consumer interest.

Modeling Agency - An agency that specifically finds work for models.

Model's Release - A form that a model signs granting the rights to a photographer to publish her pictures.


Negatives - The images necessary to produce pictures after a film has been processed.


Oily Skin - This type of skin requires drying products to reduce the oiliness. Products are available for this and to help in reducing the pores which are usually enlarged.

Original - The first of its kind to be made as a designer's sample garment.

Overtime - Any time that you may work after an eight hour day, after hours, on Sundays or on Holidays.


Parts Model - A person who models, hands, legs, feet or any other part of the body specifically.

Personality - The characteristics or traits that make a person unique.

Petite Model - A model who is under 5'6" and who wears sizes under a 6.

Plus Size Model - A model who wears a size 12 and above.

Photo Session - The time a model spends taking pictures.

Photographer - A person who takes pictures professionally of people, places and things.

Photography Assignment - A paying job for a model to take pictures for a specific layout.

Platform Model - A model who appears on stage in a demonstration for beauty or hair techniques or on behalf of new products that may be introduced.

Portfolio - A presentation book with a model's best pictures and tearsheets used to show prospective clients how you photograph.

Pose - A specific way a model might stand in front of a camera.

Poster - An enlargement of a photo (with or without printing) used to advertise a product or service. This can be a great way for a model to get visibility.

Posture - This is noted in models by the way they stand. The position of the shoulders and control of the stomach, the buttocks and the pelvis are important to a model's good posture.

Potential - Something that can develop of happen successfully in your behalf.

Presentation - The act of presenting or showing something in a formal manner.

Print Model - A model who is photographed regularly for catalogues, newspapers, magazines, billboards and other advertising announcement forms.

Product Demonstration - The act of showing how a product works either live, in front of a group of people, or on film or video.

Professional - A person who participates in a given occupation over a period of time and makes it a career.

Promotional - An event or task which is used to increase visibility or a specific fashion, style, product or service.

Proof - This is the same as a contact sheet.

Public Relations - A business whereby the public is introduced favorably to something new or pre-existing.

Publicity - An act or service devised to call attention to someone or something, usually through print or electronic media.



Rate - The amount of money agreed on for a specific assignment.

Reading - The term used when you are auditioning for the purpose of "reading" the script. Your agent may ask "How was your reading?"

Reshoot - You may be asked to come back and be photographed a second time for a job because of problems that may have occurred or changes requested by the client. You should be paid for this at the same rate as the original shoot unless a new rate has been negotiated.

Residual - This is an additional form of payment which you will receive for a commercial which airs more than the number of times stated in your original contract.

Resume - This is a background information sheet on all of the work that a model has done.

Rounds - This is a term used by models when they go from place to place to introduce themselves, leave a composite and look for work. Usually you work from a list and see photographers, designers and advertising agencies.

Runway - This is the place where you walk when you're giving a live fashion presentation. It is also referred to as a catwalk or ramp and is always elevated above the crowd. A runway can be shaped like a "T", an "L" or a straight line.


Sample - This is the first garment or original garment made by a designer which is then used to fit, to show, and to copy from.

Sample Size - This is the size that the designer cuts his or her garments in. There are different sizes for each type of modeling - such as junior, petite, plus and fashion.

Scheduling - The act of making appointments.

Script - The words that a model must speak for a commercial.

Shoe Model - A female shoe model wears size 6-7 narrow and a male shoe model wears size 10. They model shoes in shows and print display ads.

Showroom - A room in the designer's establishment which is used to show buyers the new fashions.

Showroom Model - A model who works in the showroom so that the buyers can see and order new fashions.

Slides - This is a special type of 35mm film that has been processed into strips, cut and encased in cardboard or plastic. A model can use slides to be reproduced into photos or composites.

Specialty Model - A model who specializes in body parts, such as legs or hands.

Speech - An individual manner or style of speaking.

Spokesperson - A person who speaks publicly about a product or service on behalf of a particular client or cause.

Spread - This can be a photo layout that covers two pages of a magazine, booklet or portfolio.

Statistics - These are the measurements of a male or female and include clothing size and height as well.

Stylist - This is a person who selects accessories to complement the fashions that are going to be worn in a presentation or layout or put on display.


Tearsheets - These are pages that a model would tear out of a magazine, featuring actual work. It is essential for a model's growth to collect tear sheets and put them in a portfolio or on a composite.

Test Shoot - A shoot that is mutually agreed on by the model and photographer which results in both parties obtaining pictures for their portfolio. The photographer's fee which should be minimal will be used to cover expenses such as film.

Totebag - This is the bag that a model uses to carry the necessary tools for the job.

Trade Show - This is an event or convention where products and services are promoted to the industry or public.

Translucent Powder - A light, natural powder that blends into your skin town and reduces the shine or oiliness on your face.

Trunk Show - A type of fashion show that's usually held in a store to promote a particular designer. This show travels from city to city and the garments are carried in a trunk.

Typecasting - This is when you get a part in a film or video because of the way you look.



Voucher - A printed form that is filled out after a model has completed a job and presented by the agent to the client for payment. The time worked is logged on this form with the rate of pay and signed by the client and model at the end of the assignment.


Wardrobe - The collection of clothes that you own.

Wholesale - Fashions or products that are sold for less money than regular retail prices in major stores.




Select: most recent | by category