Glossary of Modeling & Acting Terms


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

8X10 - also called a glossy is an 8-by-10-inch photograph of the model, usually a head shot.


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 clothing, such as jewelry, belts, pocketbooks, hats and scarves.

Adult - adult in nature and clearly intended to sexually arouse the viewer, however nudity may be implied rather than actual. While penetration may be implied or simulated, it is usually not shown in graphic detail. Often depicts one or more models anonymously.

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.

Advertising Agency - creates advertising campaigns for clients, selects models

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

Age Range - the ages that a model can portray (usually a 5 to 7 year span)

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.

Art Director - artist who creates layout for ads, illustrates model's poses

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

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


Backdrop - background used in a photographer's studio

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.

Blocking - the actual physical movements by Actress in any scene

Blow-Up - enlargement photo from a negative or slide

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

Book (verb) - to secure a job

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

Booker - person at agency who sets appointments for models

Booking - specific job assignment

Breakdown Service - a professional listing available only to agencies, that lists movies, film, TV, and stage projects with the types of Actress being cast

Buyer - retail store employee who purchases clothing from the manufacturer; models show the line of clothing to store buyers

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


Call Time - actual time you are due on set

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Character Model - a model who is not necessarily a beauty, but who may have strong interesting facial features and selling attributes for specific products. Some jobs require models with an everyday look, such as a truck driver, mechanic, grocery clerk, schoolteacher, cleaning person, appliance repair person, and so on. Also called commercial modeling.

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

Client - company who hires the ad agency, pays the model's fee

Cold Reading - a script that you are reading for the first time in front of the client, without time to memorize the lines

Collection - group of coordinated clothes being shown by a designer

Commentary - script used to describe clothes for a fashion show

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

Commission - a percentage of model's fee required as payment to agency

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

Contact Sheet - also called proofs. This is a contact print of negatives on 8-by-10-inch photographic paper. These images are the same size as the negatives, and require use of a magnification glass to evaluate them.

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

Copy - written words to be spoken on a commercial

Creative Director - ad agency employee who determines the model type


Demonstrator - model who shows use of product at a trade show or store

Designer - person who creates the idea for a garment

Dresser - helps models dress backstage for fashion shows


Editorial Modeling - this refers to photography for magazines, including covers. This work is very eagerly sought after by models because of the exposure it provides. Editorial Modeling is similar to High Fashion Modeling, except that the model works for a particular publication. The readers of that publication make up a target audience for the photographs taken. Images in the non-advertisement sections of the fashion magazines, such as Glamour, Vogue, or Seventeen, are good examples of this type of modeling. The physical requirements are less stringent than for High Fashion Modeling, but the pay rate is considerably less. Many more models are needed for Editorial Modeling, and Editorial experience opens the door to High Fashion Modeling.

Equity (AEA) - is the labor union that represents more than 48,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans, for its members.

Extra - acting job where the Actress has no speaking lines, but stands in the background and adds to the atmosphere of a scene.


Fashion Coordinator - puts fashion show outfits together in retail stores

Fashion Show - invited audience, stage, music; models walk down runway to show designer clothing

Fees - amount of money per hour to employ a model.

Fetish - fetish photography is adult in nature but not always sexually explicit, and generally centers around a main theme. It tends to be photographed in harsh light and extreme settings, and often includes the use of props. Examples include bondage, leather, feet, etc.

Figure Modeling - generally considered more artistic work, usually involving some degree of nudity. Figure models work with artists for photography, painting, or sculpture. Figure work is often done anonymously, that is the model is not readily identifiable in the final work. The focus of the work is usually the body or body parts, and how they interact with light and textures. Also called Illustration Modeling or an Artist’s Model.

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

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

Freelance - modeling for many clients without agency representation

Full Nude - full nudity where there is a clear focus on the genitals, often including the model's legs spread.

Full-Length Shot - head to toe photograph


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

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


Headsheet - agency sheet, poster, or book of models they represent that goes to prospective clients

Headshot - 8 x 10 size photo of head and shoulders

High Fashion Modeling - high fashion modeling is the modeling of designer clothes, either at fashion shows or in publications. Sometimes, the modeling of jewelry and cosmetics falls into this category. The models are hired through agencies, and the pay rate is the highest among all modeling jobs. Of course, the advertisers' expectations also run high. The agencies choose models with a proven track record for this type of modeling.

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


Industrial - non-broadcast production, often educational or sales films & tapes

Informal Fashion Show - in stores or restaurants, walk around, no runway. It is also called Tea Room Modeling.


Lineup - position of model and garment in a fashion show

Location - assignment site outside the studio

Loupe - small magnifying glass to see slides and contact sheet images eight times larger.


Makeup Artist - applies and changes makeup for photo sessions and runway shows.

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

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

Model Bag - a large tote in which you carry all your makeup and working essentials

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

Monologue - a scene performed by one person for a client that reflects a particular mood and demonstrates your acting talent.


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


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

Portfolio - a collection of photographs or tear sheets demonstrating a model's abilities in front of the camera. It is also called a Book.

Print - a photograph printed in newspaper or magazine form

Print work - photography taken for catalog and mail order, books, brochures, ads for magazines or newspapers, magazine covers, commercial photography for household products, business products and services, glamour products

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

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

Production Company - produces video for viewing

Promotion - publicity to advance a product, service or person

Proof - intermediate stage of photo development from which you can choose the best poses

Public Relations - person or department responsible for creating an image of a product or service in the eyes of the public.


Rates - fees charged by the model

Release - same as a Model Release or Photographer Release

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

Resume - a sheet listing a model's education, experience, and vital statistics. The resume is usually attached to an 8X10 or a composite.

Rounds - calling on prospective clients for photography and television

Runway - a narrow raised platform on which the model shows the clothing. It is also called a catwalk.

Runway Modeling - Is also called fashion show modeling. Models work on a long, raised platform about four feet wide.


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

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

Scale Wage - minimum wage set by the unions

Scout (noun) - Is a person who scouts new talent.

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

Zed Card - card with 3-5 photos of model and their height, eye and hair color and size information to promote and distribute to prospective clients. Currently, postcard-size is popular. One side contains a head shot, the other side several small photographs together with information about the model. Set - arrangement of props and furniture in a TV or photo studio

Shoot - photo session

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

Sign-In Sheet - lists the order in which each model arrives to audition at cattle calls

Slate - to state your name on camera before your commercial audition

Spec Shot - photographer's idea of a comp which he/she hopes to sell to the client

Specialty modeling - a/k/a Parts Modeling - Photo shoots of fingers, hands, legs, ears, lips, eyes, backs. Any shoot that is specifically about body parts.

Spokesperson - or spokes model - Model chosen to explain the features of a product/service

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

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

Storyboard - artwork that shows each scene of a commercial

Strobe - light unit used by a photographer

Stylist - coordinates the fashions and accessories, checks fit of clothing, visual scene


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

Test Shoot - when a model and photographer work together on a new idea or on their portfolios. No fees other than sharing film-and-developing expenses are involved. Model and Photographer Releases should be signed before the session. Also called TFP.

TFP (Time for Prints) - similar to test shoots. Photographer provides time and prints and the model provides a subject for the photographer to shoot. Generally offered by photographers who are transitioning into a new area of photography or trying to build their portfolio of work.

Trade Shows - industry promotional display of products/services usually in a hotel or convention center

Trades, Trade Papers - trade publications such as Variety, Backstage, NY Casting, Actress's Resource Network, Ross Reports, Drama-Logue, Billboard, Hollywood Reporter

Transparencies - the slide forms of a photograph

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



U5, Under-5 - in AFTRA contracts, a speaking role having five lines or less.

Usage - additional fees for higher exposure, like a billboard or national use.


Voiceover - background voices for radio or video recorded separately in a recording studio and dubbed onto visuals

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


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


Zed Card - card with 1-2 photos of model and their height, eye and hair color and size information to promote and distribute to prospective clients. Currently, business card-size is popular or a little larger. One side contains a head shot, the other side contains information about the model.