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Model Glossary

Common model terms to help your career as a model

(Just some of them, anyway!)

Affiliate Marketing

A type of revenue sharing programme where a publisher receives a commission for generating a lead or sale for an advertiser online.


See Model Agency or Casting Agency.


This is your portfolio of work, either in a physical format of a book provided by the agency which holds your pictures, or more often than not now, a digital version of your book which you can download to your iPad/tablet.


A booker is your agent, he or she will take care of your career path and will be there to guide you through everything.

Book out

Notification to your agent that you’re not available for a casting or job, for either professional or personal reasons. Clients cannot book you during that time, and you’ve “booked out”.


This is the payment for the use of model images. Often this is negotiated on top of the day rate and sometimes it’s included. The type of use must be set (poster, advertisements, internet, TV etc.), as well as the run-time and the countries. Extra buyouts sometimes happen after a job has finished because the client decides to use the pictures for a longer period of time or wants to buy a different usage in a different medium.

Behind the scenes

Film, video or still photographs taken during a booking and usually, subsequently published on a client’s website. Never allow this to happen unless your booker has agreed.

Brand Ambassador

Where a model becomes a spokesperson for a particular brand

Call time

The time at which a model must be at the location and ready to work.

Call Back/Recall

After the first casting a call-back or recall is held to narrow down the selection process. It is not unusual to get a call-back before getting a job, or not.

Casting Brief

Castings are notices of modelling jobs which are made to models, through casting agencies. They show details of the types of models required for an upcoming production. This could mean a call where every model’s agent might apply or a date on which (preselected) models are introduced through their agents to the client, who will then make the final decision. The client sets the requirements and makes his/her choice. But, remember to beware certain briefs and make sure your agent approves first.

Casting Agency

Casting agencies are agencies specialised in finding talented people for different fields like modelling, singing, acting, dancing and others. They search for perspective persons who could participate in different kinds of projects like TV, photo, video, advertisement casting and others. They are critical to the Fashion Weeks around the world.


The appointment where you meet the client and show your book, sometimes you may need to try on clothes or walk if it is a show casting. This is your chance to impress the client.


Catwalk or runway describes a narrow, usually elevated platform that runs into an auditorium, used by models to demonstrate clothing and accessories during a fashion show.

Classic model

A classic model is a professional model in his or her 40s/50s/60s. As the average age is constantly rising, advertisers are using older models more appropriate to their target groups. A classic model will have a strong book with a lot of experience. A classic model will always have been modelling for some time. It is not possible for an inexperienced, older person to suddenly become a model. It takes experience.

Close up

In film, television or photography a close-up tightly frames a person or an object. Close-ups are one of the standard shots used regularly along with medium shots and long shots.

Composite Card

Also referred to as a comp card, sedcard, (zedcard) or model card. A composite card is a piece of card which is printed with at least two photos of you in various poses, settings, outfits and looks (the widest variety possible). It includes your name, your agency’s info and all your measurements. Comp cards come in lots of different formats depending on the city, agency and the type of model you are. Agencies will issue comp cards for you after they sign you. A composite card serves as the latest and best of a model’s portfolio and is used as a business card which you leave with the client at a casting.


Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. These rights can be licensed, transferred and/or assigned.

Cover Shoot

A photo shoot for the cover of a magazine. Depending on the magazine, it has great significance for the awareness of the model.


See Plus size


Digitals are needed for agencies/clients or scouts. They are snapshots usually taken in the agency to show a client how you look naturally, before you go to a shoot, check skin/hair/shape.

Digital (on-line)

An increasingly important medium whereby magazines and newsprint is now on-line, usually alongside hard copies. However, there is a myriad of literally hundreds of digital on-line only e-zines.


Sales of goods directly from an image on a web page.


Photographs made to illustrate a story or idea within the context of a magazine. Usually a fashion story. Print or digital.


The right of a client to use a model in a given category for a given period of time in given countries whereby no competitive brand can user that model. Typically these are high fashion clients including fragrance and cosmetics as well as clothing. The wider the exclusive rights, the higher the fee.

Featured artist

Is where a model can be clearly recognised for whom he or she is. Usually in a TV commercial, commanding a higher fee, as opposed to a background artist – one of a crowd.


The session that takes place before the photo shoot where the clothes to be modelled are fitted onto the model. Based on the model’s particulars, the clothes are often altered to fit. When you go to a fitting, be prepared to stand around partially clothed for a long time, in front of several people. These people will usually be stylists, seamstresses and designers. The fitting is often included in the day rate.


A model’s appointment to see a potential client, to present their book and themselves in person, and to leave a good impression. Often a client keeps the model in mind for a future shoot.

Hair Stylist

A hairstylist is someone who cuts and styles hair. He or she often offers other services such as colouring and hair extensions. He or she cares for the perfect hair style of the model at the shoot, runway show or event. Remember, never let anyone cut or dye your hair unless your booker has previously agreed.


Lingerie is another word used for underwear.


Any place where a shoot (photography or film) takes place. When you are on location, it means you are outside the controlled environment of the studio or soundstage and should prepare accordingly.

Make-Up Artist

A makeup artist is an artist whose medium is the human body, applying makeup and prosthetics for theatrical, television, film, fashion, magazines and other similar productions, including all aspects of the modelling industry. Mostly, of course it is the face that is being made up.

Model Agency

A model agency is a company that represents fashion models, to work in the fashion industry. These agencies earn their income via commission, usually from the deal they make with the client. The model agency presents the models to its clients, promotes them to foreign agencies and is in charge of the model’s chart, book, portfolio, buyouts, travel etc.

Model Chart

This is the calendar that your booker keeps of all your work and prospective work, wherever you are.

Model Release

A legal document provided by the client/photographer/client and signed by the agent. It gives permission for the use of photographs taken at a particular sitting. If photographs are used without a release, or in a way different from what is stated in the release, then the model can sue for breach of contract. You must always speak with your agent before signing any forms on a shoot.

Mother Agent

This is usually the agency that scouted you and in the country of their origin. This agent will decide the most appropriate overseas agencies with which to place you, if they think they are right for your look and personality.

Mother Agency Commission

If you work in a foreign market with a local agency, your Mother Agent will have a shared commission arrangement with that agent. It will NOTcost you any more commission.

New Faces

New Faces or newcomers are models who are new into the business. They are just starting out in their career.

Plus Size

Plus-size model is a term applied to a person who is engaged primarily in modelling plus-size clothing. This term is becoming a little outdated and the preferred term is Curve models. Curve models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.


Prints are printed negatives, the real photos.


See Composite Card. Once the exclusive right of Sebastian Sed who traded under the name Sed Cards, which are sometimes mispronounced as Z (“Zed Cards”)


This is where the action or shoot takes place usually within a professional studio or within a location. It includes all the elements which make the shoot. For example the lighting, camera, art direction and art directed scenery.


Shooting in general means the implementation of photo or film shoots.

Social media

Everything from Facebook, Snapchat, Periscope to Twitter, Pinterest and, the fashion world’s adopted platform, Instagram. Usually carrying extra usage fees.


The stylist is in charge of the outfit and look of the model and discussing at length with the photographer or director, about theme of the shoot.


This is where magazines or photographers have certain rights to use photography across different titles and in countries. These rights must be pre-negotiated in advance wherever possible.


A term used to describe high profile models or personalities/actors in a modelling role


Sometimes called a tear. This is a term used by agencies to denote a page taken from a magazine and is used in the model’s portfolio.

Test Shoot

An agreement between the model and photographer whereby they work for each other on a mutually beneficial basis. No fees other than sharing film, lighting and studio expenses are usually involved. They work together on a new idea or on their portfolios. The photographer provides a selection of prints from the shoot in recognition of the model’s time commitment. The photographer will have limited rights for the use of this work and your agent must agree these appraise you of them.


A term used to describe a model as being unrecognisable in use. Usually a feature of e-commerce clothing websites


Models get paid for each different medium in which their photograph is used. These different media, or usages, may include: consumer magazines, trade magazines, product packaging, print ads, bus ads, billboards, magazine covers, direct mail, magazine editorials, posters, catalogues, brochures, point-of- sale (POS) book covers, newspapers, etc. The model receives an additional fee for each usage the client buys. Also, increasingly there are digital usages which are constantly evolving as digital media is changing.

Usages also vary according to time and region. The longer the ad runs and the more markets in which it appears, all driving up the model’s fee. The largest usage is a worldwide buyout. That means the client can use the photograph across every city in the world in every possible usage until the end of their term. The maximum term normally granted is 3-5 years, however in some circumstances this may be increased.


Usually applied to a ‘wardrobe mistress’ who is responsible for the garments at a fashion show, TV or print shoot.