Ultimate Guide: Modeling Terms You Need To Know

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Model F and F Fashion
Ronke Model

Finally, you’ve gotten your feet in the modeling industry but you don’t understand half of the modeling terms used. You just haven’t heard such words before, don’t worry its pretty normal as a newbie. Even some professional models have a tough time keeping up with the terms in the modeling industry. I researched the commonly used words and found their meanings for you. Along the line i also did some learning myself.

1. ADVANCE

 There are two kinds of advances in modeling.

  • The first is money which is given to models that are high in demand  to secure their agreement to accept a booking.  If you aren’t a famous model, don’t expect an advance.

  • This is usually the money spent by the agency when you first get signed by them for things you need. They expect a refund when you start earning.

2. ADVERTISING AGENCY

They specialize in creating ads for big brands.

 

3. ADVERTORIAL

An ad which looks like an editorial. The ad is created and paid for by an advertiser.

4. AGE CATEGORY

 The age range you are in. It’s usually between 5 – 7 years over or under your real age.

5. AGENCY BOOK

The book agencies give-out to all of their clients to promote their models. Each model’s (represented by the agency) comp card is usually in the book. Models are often required to pay a fee to have their comp card printed in the book. Sometimes, agencies can give a model advance on the book.

6. ART DIRECTOR

This is the person responsible for creating the concept and layout of an ad or editorial presentation at a magazine or advertising agency . They usually choose the models they think will fit the concept of the campaign.

 

 

7. AUDITION

 This is an opportunity to appear before people involved in the hiring process. You will usually have to prove you are right for the job.  The term “audition” is more widely used for acting jobs, but is often used for modeling.  See “casting” or “go-see”.

 

8. BACKDROP

This is usually at the background of a model during shoots. In a studio, it is usually seamless cloth or paper, or an artificial location scene.

 

9. B&W (Black & White)

 This is when the images of a picture or video has only black, white and possibly shades of grey.

 

 

10. BEAUTY SHOT 

A close-up shot of part or all the face (lips, eyes, etc.) . It is usually in form of a  head shot with detailed makeup and simple hairstyle. Beauty shots highlight your face in an elegant and beautiful way. This kind of shot is usually used in a cosmetics print ad or in a magazine editorial about skin care products, make-up products, etc.

 

 

11.BIG AND TALL

 I have never heard this term in the Nigerian modeling agency but it doesn’t hurt to include it.They are the male counterpart to “Plus Models”, used in catalog modeling and similar advertising.  They are tall, wear a suit size 44 and above, and are generally fit and proportional.

 

12. BILLING FORM

Used by models to record, job descriptions, rate of pay, number of hours worked, the names of clients, and expenses. The client often has to sign the form (voucher) . The model will then handover a copy to the client. The agency one copy and will keep one copy for herself. (see also Voucher)

13. BIO

This is the condensed story of a model’s life – basically a résumé with particular jobs highlighted.

14. BOARD

Models represented by an agency make up “the board”. They are usually grouped into different categories.  There are often a “New Faces Board,” a “Men’s Board” and a “Classic” board, for instance.  The term comes from putting model’s composite cards on a board. This was practiced to ensure accessibility for the agents for composite pulls, or to give visiting clients.

 

15. BONUS

Bonuses may come in different forms apart from cash. Designers give clothes as bonuses when they can’t pay the models’ full day rates for a runway show. Regardless of the form of bonus, the agency takes 20% of the value. Bonuses are often given when a shoot is long, or when a client loves the pictures and wants to use them more often than the original intention/contract.

16. BOOK

A model’s portfolio book of photos.

17. BOOK-KEEPER

A person who keeps track of all the income and expenses you have from modeling.  Your agent isn’t going to do it for you.  Usually your book-keeper is you.

 

 

18. BOOKER

The person responsible for negotiating with clients at to get works for models at a modeling agency. The booker may have other responsibilities as well.

19. BOOKING CONDITIONS

Factors that are often included in a booking and for which the model may be paid more. An agency establishes booking conditions that outline fee specifications for overtime or weekend fees, cancellations, weather permitting bookings,or bonuses for various other conditions.

 

20. BOOKING EDITOR

 The booker at a magazine.

 

21. BOOKOUT

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

22. BUYOUT

The client is simply purchasing unlimited usage rights to a model’s image, although a buyout is often only for a stipulated time, type of media or geographic region.  An example would be “two year print buyout in South Africa, except for Internet”.  If there are no qualifiers on the term, it means unlimited use for an unlimited time.

23. CALL BACK

A second audition or meeting with the client so they can see you again before they make a final hiring decision.

24. CALL SHEET

A  list that has information of who the creative team is for a shoot.  It may include everyone from the photographer, stylist, makeup artist, drivers and caterers.  It gives the precise location and directions to the shoot, and instructions on how the model should arrive.  Any makeup, hair, wardrobe or other requirements are usually on the call sheet.  Many modeling jobs do not use call sheets (or at least do not distribute them to agencies), and the information the model needs to know will be given by phone call to the agency, or directly to the model.

25. CALL TIME

This is the time a model is needed on the set.  The model should generally show up 15 minutes or so before the actual call time.

26. CAMPAIGN

Used to describe a set of ads for a particular product.  It can be as limited as a single print ad, or several coördinated print and TV ads.

1.  The act of choosing models for a job

2.  A go-see

28. CATTLE CALL

A casting that  large numbers of models show up for because the casting director gave broad directions to agencies, and may have used many agencies. The casting could be opened to the public or advertised in a newspaper, magazine or on the Internet.  The chances of a model winning a cattle call casting is not great.

29. CHART:

A chart is basically a timetable of your works maintained or held by your agency.

30. CHARGE-BACK

There are times as a model when you don’t go for a job that was booked for you. If you don’t, the client will charge your agency and your agency would in turn charge you. the money charged is a “charge-back”; It could be really expensive.

31. CLASSIC

  A term used to describe older models, often in their 40s or later in life.

 

32. CLEAN-CLEAN

A specification on a call-sheet that means clean hair, clean face. You have to show up for the photo shoot with no make-up on and freshly washed hair. The reverse of this is “hair and make-up ready”.

33. COLLATERAL

Additional uses that are made of an image beyond the primary print ad.  For instance, point of sale displays or hang tags.

34. COMMERCIAL MODELING

Commercial models have so much flexibility; they can come in different sizes, heights and ages. They can do everything that isn’t usually related with high-fashion, such as ads for products (food products, housewares, tech devices, travel industry, etc.).

If  you’d like to become a commercial model then you may want to check out one of the best resources  (a book) titled “How To Become a Successful Commercial Model” by Aaron Marcus.

 

35. COMMISSION

An agreed fee taken by an agency or manager based on what the models earn.  Typically, it is a percentage of the model’s fees.

36. COMPOSITE CARD

Often referred to as a comp card. A card used to promote the model that has several photos, the model’s stats and contact information.(also “composites,” “comps” or “zed cards”.)  A group of pictures (from one to as many as a dozen or more, depending on size and layout) of a model printed on card stock.  The typical composite is often printed on both sides of heavy, coated card stock and is usually around 5 ½ x 8 ½ inches.  Some very experienced models produce “double” or even “triple” composite cards.  A typical layout includes one headshot/beauty shot and the model’s name on the front of the card, and three or four pictures, the model’s stats and contact information on the opposite side.

 

37. CONFIGURATIONS

The number of models posed in a photograph. Standard fashion configurations are usually singles, doubles, triples, and groups.

 

 

38. CONTACT SHEET

Also called Proofs. A photographer’s term for a sheet of film printed with small versions of all the photos taken during the photo shoot.The shots can either be in black and white or coloured. The photographer and the client will choose which shots they want to print and enlarge from the contact sheet.

39. COPY BOOK

Models often need more than a copy of their portfolios, and it is accepted practice to make a “carry book” out of high-quality copies of original tear-sheets.

40. COVE STUDIO

Also called a Cyc Studio. A photography studio that has no corners – instead, it’s kind of rounded everywhere with built-in backdrops. Corners and edges (like where the wall meets the floor) tend to look ugly in photographs. A cove studio curtails this effect. Seamless paper gives the same effect in a regular studio.

41. CREATIVE DIRECTOR

An advertising agency (or magazine) employee who is responsible for the creative design and direction of an ad (or editorial).

42. CYC STUDIO

Pronounced “syk,” cyc is short for “cyclone” studio. See Cove Studio.

 

 

43. DAY RATE

The rate charged for a model’s services often for a full 8 hour day of work.

44. DAYLIGHT STUDIO

An unusual photographic studio that is lit with natural light, usually by way of windows and skylights.

 

 

45. DEDUCTIONS

The money taken from a model’s earnings to pay back loans the agency has made to her for their expenses.  Common in fashion agencies, less common in other kinds of agencies.

46. DEVELOP

  • Turn a person with modeling potential into a model who is ready to compete in the professional market.

  • Turn exposed film into a picture.

 

 

47. DIRECT BOOKING

Sometimes models are booked by a client without a go-see, either from recommendation by the agency  or from pictures.

48. DRESSER

The person in charge of making  clothes fit the model properly, and pins them if necessary.

49. EDITORIAL

Material (text and illustrations) produced by or for a publication, and representing news, commentary or the opinion of the staff of the publication.  Editorial works may appear in newspapers, magazines or even on television or the Internet.

 

 

50. EDITORIAL LOOKS

Mostly “beautiful in her own way” appearance, as opposed to mainstream, pretty, “commercial” looks.  So called because the frequent use of such models in contemporary fashion editorials.

51. EDITORIAL MODELING

High fashion models that appear in popular fashion magazines. They are usually tall like your typical fashion model.

52. EDITORIAL PRINT

Fashion pages of a magazine produced by the  magazine itself to portray current trends, clothing and fashion ideas.Commercial print usually pays more than editorial work. This is because commercial print is work done for a paying client

53. EXCLUSIVE

  • An agreement that prevents a model from appearing in adverts of any competing product for a specified period.  It may also include a prohibition against public criticism of the client’s product.

  • An agreement between an agency and a model that the model will work only through that agency.  Exclusive agreements may be limited by time, geography (for instance, only in Lagos) or modeling/acting discipline (exclusive for on-camera TV commercials) depending on the terms of the contract.

 

 

Models (male or female) fashion designers use to size and measure clothes for production. Fit models have the perfect proportional body parts for a given clothing size. Designers use them to piece together new creations, see how they move, and develop their patterns. The key for a fit model is to never gain or lose an inch. Fit models are often hired by manufacturers on permanent salaries. Often, clothing manufacturers do not hire separate fit models for each size. Instead, they measure the clothes on a standard size (size 8-10 for women; size 40 regular for men) model and then use computer programs to magnify those dimensions for each different size.

 

 

55. FASHION MODEL

  • A model who is represented by an agency w specializes in fashion modeling.

  • Models that work with the fashion industry.  They may show-up in fashion editorials, fashion advertising, catalogs or TV commercials, or may do showroom or fit modeling.

  • Short for “editorial fashion model”, which many people consider “real fashion models”.  These are the highly specialized models who appear in high-end fashion editorials and campaigns, and normally meet the stringent height, stats and appearance specifications that people associate with a model

 

56. FASHION SHOW SEASONS

These are shows that give buyers and magazine editors a chance to see what designers will be offering in upcoming seasons, so they present clothing right to a season several months in advance.  “Spring”, for instance, is normally presented in September or October.

57, FAVOURED NATIONS

Contractual term for a photo shoot in which every model that is part of a shoot is getting paid the same day rate. The highest paid model on the shoot usually gets paid less than his or her usual rate. This helps reduce accusations of unfair work practices and general griping by lower-paid models that are working just as hard as the highly paid model. Models don’t look as good in photographs when they feel they’re being cheated to pay the star.

58. FIT MODEL

Fit models are models used by designers and fashion houses often. A fit model would have the perfect measurements that fit industry standards. Can be any size and are not required to have the facial bone structure required  of a print model.The model has specific, exact measurements wanted by the designer, and puts on sample clothes to allow the designer or tailor to alter them to fit and move properly.  Fit models are usually of any type, although typically are size 6 for women, and size 40 regular for men.

59. FITTING

This is when a model (usually fit model) tries on outfits and clothing to make sure they fit properly and is usually altered before a booking such as fashion show, commercial or print shoot to fit.

 

60. FREELANCE MODEL

This is a model working with multiple agencies (as opposed to one particular agency) or a self-promoting model who works without an agent. Most commercial print models are freelance and work as independent contractors.

61. GO-SEE

A model’s appointment to see a potential client. It varies from personal appointment to mass interview or audition where many models attend to go and see the client so the client can see how the model looks in person (see also Cattle Call). Literally taken from the phrase “go see someone”.  In commercial work generally a go-see involves going to see (or be seen by) a person who is casting for a particular job.  In fashion work it is usually more general:  you go see people who have a history of hiring models, so that when they have a job come up they will know who you are.  Go-sees varies from being general (you are one of a type of model the client has asked for) to being specific:  the client has requested you specifically.

 

 

62. HALFTIME

Models get halftime payments for all travel time. If your day rate is N10,000 an hour, you’ll get N5,000 for each hour you travel to and from that job. Your agency also gets 20% of halftime travel rates.

63. HAUTE COUTURE

The French word for high fashion.

64. HEAD=SHEET

A poster or brochure of the model’s the agency represents presented to clients. Usually has the model’s head shot and stats. (Head=sheets are rarely used anymore, almost all agencies have web sites where they post their model’s photos and stats.)

65. IMAGE BOARD

Normally used for “special situations” models, such as those who are not available for go-sees, but can be direct booked.

66. INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

 As an independent contractor, the model will be legally treated as a contractor, not an employee, on most modeling jobs. The client will not withhold payroll taxes, pay workers compensation insurance, or do any of the other things they do for employees.

67. LOCATION

Any place, other than in a studio, 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.

 

68. LOOK BOOK

Several  photographs taken of models wearing a designer or manufacturers clothing sent  to fashion editors, buyers, clients and special customers to show the designer’s looks for the season.

69. MARKETS

  • The term “market” refers to the various geographical locations in which models work and earn a living. Lagos is a “market”, Johannesburg is a “market”, New York is a “market”, Paris is “market”, Tokyo is a “market”, and so on.
  • It can also refer to the group your  look and body falls in to, such as the fashion market, commercial market, plus market, petite market, etc.

 

70. MINI BOOK

A smaller version of the model’s book that can be sent to clients. Photos are usually 5 x 7 inches. (Mini books are rarely used anymore, almost all agencies have web sites that clients can easily access from their offices.)

71. MODELING AGENCY

A company that represents models, actors and talent of any kind. They are responsible for representing and promoting the portfolios of models and booking jobs for them. They often handle contracts, payments and the business side of the model’s life. Sometimes, especially with larger agencies, the agency will “lend” the model money for a photo shoot, comp cards, clothes, an apartment, etc(advance). The agency will then pay itself back by taking money out of the model’s first earnings (deductions). It is not usual for reputable agencies to charge a ‘sign-up’ or ‘joining’ fee.

 

 

72. MODEL RELEASE

A legal document provided by the client/photographer and signed by the model or agent. It gives permission to the photographer or client to use photographs taken at a particular sitting. If photographs are used without a release, or in a way different from the agreement in the release, then the model can sue for breach of contract.

73. MOTHER AGENCY

A mother agent is the person or agency that initially discovered you.  They will help you develop your look, build your book and market you to major and secondary markets.  Mother agencies are an important part of your team and can help you navigate the various markets and manage your career long-term. An exclusive contract is often signed between a mother agency and a model . The agency then promotes the said model to booking agencies.

Generally, the mother agent sponsors models to cities far from where the model lives and manages relationships between the booking agency and the model.  A good mother agency will give continuing advice, support and help to a model who is with another booking agency.  Mother agencies get commissions by taking a percentage of the model’s earnings for some time.

74. NEW FACE

A model new to the agency, still in development, who attends  go-sees and castings but not yet “promoted” onto a main board.

75. OPTION

Also called a “hold”.   A client has requested the right of first refusal on a model during a specified period.  That means the client’s job has the most priority if booked by the client, and may not accept any other assignment.  A “first option” means that client has priority over any other for that period.  A “second option” (or “second hold”) means the client has a claim to the model if the person holding the first option decides not to book the model for that time.

76. PETITE MODEL

Various types of modeling define “petite” differently.  In fashion work a “petite” is normally a model who is 5’7” or less and wears a size 6 or less dress.  In other types, the meaning is closer to the general meaning of the term:  small in stature.

77. PLUS MODEL

In fashion modeling,  plus model is a model that wears a larger dress size than the standard fashion model, but otherwise is similar to a typical fashion model.  In most markets, Plus models are from dress size 10 to 20, sometimes larger.  The term is not widely used in commercial print modeling, although usually means someone of average or greater body dimensions.

78. PORTFOLIO

 Several bunches of photographs and tear sheets of a model, compiled and presented in a book.

79. PRINTS FOR TIME

An agreement between a model and photographer in which they work for each other on a mutually beneficial basis, and no money changes hands. The photographer provides a selection of prints from the shoot in recognition of the model’s time commitment.

80. PROPORTIONAL

To have “pleasing proportions”.  In modeling, this means relatively long arms and legs, and a body that is slim, or has a well-formed waist, if a plus model.

81. RESUME

A sheet stating a model’s education, experience, and vital statistics. The résumé is usually attached to a composite.

82. RUNWAY/CATWALK MODEL

These models do live runway shows, showrooms and other types of jobs where a designer or client needs the model to walk and show their clothing.

Female runway/catwalk models are a minimum of 5′ 9″ but 5′ 10″ – 5′ 11″ is better.

Male runway/catwalk models are a minimum of 6′ 0″ – 6′ 2″

 

 

83. RESIDUALS

Payments made to a model or actor for continued use of their images.  In modeling “residuals” are usually paid when the usage rights originally purchased by the client have expired, and the client wants to continue to use the .

84. SAG

The Screen Actors Guild

85. SCALPING

This when a modeling agency signs a model from her current agency.  From the term, it isn’t a practice that agencies appreciate.

 

 

86. SHOW CARD

A card of special purpose, similar to a composite card. It is usually created to draw attention to an agency’s models as fashion show season approaches.

 

 

87. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT BOARD

Used for popular models or celebrities. It can also be used for special cases where the model is available to the agency by agreements made with the model’s mother agency.

88. SPECIALTY MODEL

A model who specializes in body parts such as hands, feet, legs, backs and other parts.  Shoe models are a subset of this, since they must have standard sized feet (size 6-7 for women, 10 for men).

90. STAGE PARENT

A derogatory term used to describe an overbearing parent of a child model or performer.

91. STATS

(“Statistics”) It is the basic description of a model’s appearance and measurements. Usually height, bust, waist, hips measurements, hair and eye colour,shoe size and dress size for women. For men, it is height, chest and waist measurements, Jacket size, neck, sleeve, and inseam measurements.  Men stats also include shoe size, hair colour and eye colour. Modeling agencies seldom, if ever, use weight as a measurement.

92.  STREET CASTING

 A casting for “normal-looking” people, which is often literally done on the street. Such a casting is usually done to give a stronger appearance of reality to an ad.

 

 

93. TEAR-SHEET

They are sheets torn from a catalogue, magazine or other print jobs a model appeared in. Models put their tear sheets in their portfolios. Tear-sheets are even better than photos, because it shows the kind of work the model has already done. Images on a website does not result in a tear-sheet because such images cannot be torn.

 

94.TEST SHOOT

  • When a model and photographer work together on a new idea or on their portfolios. No fees other than sharing film-and-developing expenses. Model and Photographer Releases is often signed before the session.

  • It could also mean when a model tests different looks and start building her portfolio with photos. The model may pay or may not depending on the agreement reached with the photographer.

  • A photographer could also organise one to test some new equipment or to try new techniques. He could even “test-shoot” a model in anticipation of using her later for a job.

95. TONED

In reality, it means slim and fit.  In modeling, can also mean “very slim”.

96. USAGE FEE/RATE

Models get payments for two things:

  • Work done on set (day rate)

  • Right to use their images in advertising. (usage)

Sometimes the fee will include both (flat) . But the two will usually be separately listed, and the model will get paid for a specified, limited use of their pictures.

If the client wants to do something more than what they paid for (different kind of publication media, different target audience, longer time, different geographical region) the model will get more money for more usage.

Models get paid for every different medium in which their photograph gets used. The different mediums, or usages, may include:

  • Magazines; trade magazines, magazine covers, magazine editorials, etc.

  • Product packaging, print ads, bus ads, subway ads, direct mail…….
  • Billboards, posters, catalogues, brochures, point-of-purchase (point-of-sale or p-o-p)……

  • Annual reports, book covers, kiosk, duratrans (those big portable billboards that are towed around behind trucks), newspapers, etc.

The model gets extra fees for each usage the client buys. Usages also vary according to time and region. The longer the ad runs and the more markets in which it appears, all increase the model’s fee. The largest usage is the unlimited time usage, worldwide buyout. That means the client can plaster the photograph across every city in the world in every possible usage until the end of time.

97. VOUCHER

An invoice signed by the model and the client after the model completes a job. The model will hand in their vouchers to the agency so that the client get billed and the model paid.

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