The Model Glossary | Fashion Donuts

There are many terms and words tossed around in the modeling industry and we do our best to keep up. If you are new to the industry or just looking to brush up on your knowledge, this list is for you.


Scroll through the entire list or click the letters below. If you are looking for a specific word press [control f] or [command f] to search.

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Agency – A company that represents models. Agencies earn their income via commission.

Agent – A person who manages the professional career of models, assuring they find opportunities that match each demographic, while also meeting the requests of various clients. Works for the agency.

Alternative Model – Models who do not conform to the mainstream ideals of fashion & beauty. Maybe tattooed, pierced or have unique hairstyles or all of the above.

Aspiring Model- A person who ambitiously aims to become a model.

Audition – A sample performance for an opportunity in employment, education, or competition. Used amongst talent including actors, musicians, and performers.


Beauty Shot – A portrait or image of a model from the bust or shoulders up emphasizing on beauty.

Behind-the-Scenes (BTS) – An area that isn’t seen in final images or production. This is also an area where the models and production team prepare.

Body Shot- A full-length image of a model emphasizing on the model’s body.

Book – Referred to as a model portfolio. See Portfolio

Booker – Interchangeable with an Agent. A person who manages the professional career of models, assuring they find opportunities that match each demographic, while also meeting the requests of various clients.

Booking – A term used synonymously with “a job that has been offered to the model and accepted.

Booking Out – A designated amount of time a model is unavailable for work.

Boudoir – A style of photography or production in a bedroom setting. Often requiring lingerie, nude or implied nude.

Boutique Agency – A smaller agency that represents a select number of models.


Callback – After attending a casting, models are requested to make a second appearance. Usually, a one-on-one looking for more details or giving specific instructions.

Call Sheet – A daily schedule of a production.

Call-Time – A set time that models have to be on set and ready to work.

Casting – A visual interview for clients to meet and preview models.

Casting Director – The person responsible for assigning models or talent to a project.

Catwalk – Referred to as a fashion runway

Client – A person or business that hires models to represent them.

Closed Set – A restricted access set closed to the public. Only those closely involved in the shoot are allowed.

Commercial Look – An appearance that appeals to a wide variety of people and consumers.

Commercial Modeling – This is modeling in which a product is being presented and it is the central focus of the photo. A shot might be generic, such as a model outdoors walking, yet the photo would be commercial if it were used in advertising or marketing.

Commercial Print Model – Different sizes and types of models who pose for commercial advertisements (for toothpaste, food products, stores and many other ads.)

Commission – A certain percentage of the model’s earnings from a modeling job that is taken out by the agency that is representing the model. Typical commissions range from 15% to 20% of the total job earnings.

Composite Card – Also know as a Comp Card. Comp cards are used as a model’s business card showing the most recent and best shots of their portfolio. Also, contains the model’s stats and contact information

Contract –  A legal statement between a model and either his/ her photographer, business, or agency that is representing him/ her.

Cover Girl – A female model who appears on the cover of a magazine or other forms of print work.


Day Rate – A model who works at a certain specified daily rate no matter how many hours the model actually works.

Deferral – This is another term for “Deferred Compensation.” In this form, a payment, all or part of the monies due a model or actor are deferred until a certain event. Most commonly, talent is paid a percentage of future earnings. A word of caution, while deferral agreements sometimes sound appealing, legalistic definitions of profit or a production that is unsuccessful means that, in reality, most of these arrangements will not result in payments to talent.

Department Store Model: A modeling specific garments or accessories while in the store.

Designer – Someone who designs clothing or garments and accessories.

Digitals – Taken with a digital camera, these images are used of the talent and their current looks with natural hair and minimal to no makeup.

Dresser – Someone BTS assisting models in and out of garments quickly. Close attention is paid to not mess up hair and makeup.


Editorial – Photographs made to illustrate a story or idea within the context of a magazine. These are usually assigned by the magazine.

Exclusivity Clause –  A legal document that only allows the model to work for one agency, and not work for any other agencies.

Extra – A person with a non-speaking part in a film or commercial. They may be part of a crowd or non-descript in the distance. If they are alone on camera performing a specific function, they are considered a “featured extra.”


Fashion Coordinator – Also know as a fashion director.  This person coordinates activities centered around fashion as themes, shows, displays, and promotion.

Fashion Model – The modeling of clothes where clothing is the central focus of the photos.

Figure Model – This is a form of nude modeling normally used for art rather than glamor.

Fit Model – is a person who is used by a fashion designer or manufacturer to check the fit, drape and visual appearance of a design on a human being.

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

Freelance Model – A model who doesn’t rely on an agency. Model is responsible for keeping their portfolio updated and keeping in touch with their clients as well as promotion.

Full Figure Model – A model who shows larger clothing fashions, garments, and accessories.

Full-Length Photo – A full-length photo is a taken of a model that shows head-to-toe. Full-length photos are sometimes needed in submissions. (See Body Shot)


Gig – job or booking with a specified amount of time.

Glamor Model – A broad term of modeling where the modelʼs appearance, rather than the attire or product is the central focus of the photo. There is a misconception that glamor modeling involves nudity. A glamor shot could be nude, but it could also be taken in formal evening attire. It is the presentation of the model, not the wardrobe that makes a shot glamor.

Go-See – Is an appointment a model has with a potential client. During this appointment, a model might show their portfolio, do a “runway” walk, try on a few garments, and/or get their measurements and photos taken.


Hair Model – A model that specializes on demonstrating the use of his/her hair and can be for print or a show.

Head Shot – A photograph that concentrates on the model’s head, the head shot shows make up, hear and accessories.

High Fashion Model – A term that is used to describe a model who participates in fashion shows that are slightly taller and has a sophisticated overall appearance. High fashion models are the most well-known kind of models as well as the highest paid models.


Listing Agreement – A legal agreement between a model and an agency that gives the agency permission to market the model to prospective clients.

Location – Anywhere the photo shoot or event takes place. A model should be prepared because this is outside the controlled environment of the studio.

Look – The outfit selected for the model to wear or the unique appearance of the model.


Makeup Artist – MUA – The person who is hired by the client to apply makeup to models. Some clients have their own makeup artists.

Manager – An individual or company that is hired oversee the day-to-day business affairs of an artist; advise and counsel the model concerning professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions which may affect their career.

Mannequin Model – Live models hold frozen and mannequin-like poses.

Meet and Greet – The first meeting with a client where you are not auditioning for a specific assignment. Instead, you are introducing yourself to a client with the hopes that you will be considered for a future potential assignment.

Model Bag – A bag that contains the essentials that a model needs for a particular photo shoot or show. This can include and not limited to shoes, makeup, undergarments, hairspray, water, and snacks. Items may be added or removed.

Model Release – See Release

Mood – The feeling that the photo shoot or show is trying to express with the lightening, props, hair/makeup, and garments.


New Face – A new model that is signed with an agency. These models usually don’t have professional books.

Non-Exclusive – A non-exclusive model contract is one where the model is allowed to be represented by other competing agencies and/or companies. The model is not bound to this agency and/or company.


Off the Rack – Clothing that is taken off racks at department stores and purchased. These clothing styles are ready-to-wear as opposed to custom clothing.

Open Call – A casting or audition open to anyone who wants to try out.

Open Set – A set that is open for anybody who has access to enter. Sometimes an open set is open to the general public, but it is usually just open to people who happen to be in the studio, on location or in a studio lot. Opposite of Closed Set.


Parts Model – Someone who models specific body parts. (hands, feet, legs…)

Per Diem – A payment is given to a model who travels to cover her daily expenses. A model could be given a flat per diem to cover all expenses including lodging, transportation, meals, and incidentals or just specific things like food. In the latter case, the client might choose to pay things like lodging separately.

Photoshop – A program which photographers and retouchers use to add or take away from photos once they have been taken.

Plus Model – Someone who does not fit the fashion model sizing. Models usually range from sizes 8-18+. There are no guidelines on what specifies a model as plus size different agencies have different views.

Polaroid – Traditionally taken with a polaroid camera, these images are taken of the model to keep track of the talent and their current looks.

Portfolio – A collection of images that show a model’s work containing composite cards and photographs representing a certain modeling agency.

Print Work – Photographs that are taken especially for print media such as magazines.

Promotional Model – A model hired to drive consumer demand for a product, service, brand, or concept by directly interacting with potential consumers. They serve to provide information about the product or service and make it appealing to consumers.


Release – A form used as a liability waiver and is a legal release typically signed by the model in the photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another. Always used in paid bookings

Residual – A payment made to talent for subsequent use of a material after its initial release. It normally applies to film/video. As an example, if an advertisement were to run on TV for six months and the producer chose to renew it for an additional six months, the talent would receive a residual payment to compensate them for the additional use.

Resume – A document used by a model listing their previous work and education. Used the same way as a business resume would while job searching.

Runway –  A strip of platform or designated area for a model to walk while displaying and demonstrating clothing and garments to the audience.

Runway Model – Model walking on a stage or walkway where the clothing is the central focus of the show.


Scout – Someone who is employed to discover and recruit models. Scouts look for potential and aspiring models depending on the client’s specifications.

Shoot – Short for a photo shoot. Shoot and photo shoot can be used interchangeably.

Showroom Model – A model that works in a showroom and either wears, displays or demonstrates samples and/or the originals to customers and consumers.

Snapshot – Also known as a digital or polaroid photo.

Spokesmodel – An assignment where a model promotes a product at a tradeshow, convention or similar.

Stats – Short for statistics. This is used to classify a models measurements and sizes including hair and eye color.

Stylist – The person in charge of selecting the outfits for the model. Also in charge of talking the with coordinator the mood and theme of the shoot.

Submission – The sending of your comp card to a project for submission.

Supermodel – A famous and/or well-accomplished model, or a celebrity model.


Tear Sheet – As it sounds it is sheets pulled out of a magazine or publication proving that the model has worked. This also applies to photographers. With the use of the internet and online publications, the word tear sheet is still used.

Test – An agreement between the model and photographer to whereby they work for each other on a mutually beneficial basis.

TF – Trade for Time for. A free photoshoot trading talent and time for new images. (Time for downloads: TFD, Time for prints: TFP)


Common Knowledge
Model Management
Business of Modeling

If you would like to add to this list please send us an email.
This glossary is frequently updated as we learn new words or fill in what is missing.


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