Updated: Aug 6, 2018

There are so many jargon words in the modelling industry that are hard to understand, especially if you are a new comer to the industry. I am here to help you familiarise yourself with important model terminology by clarifying what certain terms mean.



A business that provides talent such as models and actors to clients. They generally receive a sign up fee by models and a commission fee off every job the model books through the agency. The commission fee is usually between 15-20%.


The person or group of people who run an agency.


Where the client will want to see the model either in person or through camera presence and set up. Generally the model will come to either get digits taken and introduce themselves on camera to the client. Questions that they usually ask is fairly simple such as what is your name, age, where do you live, what does your week consist of and do you have any hobbies etc. Just for the client to get a bit of an idea of what you are like in front of the camera. If the role the model is applying for is for a TVC with lines then the model will either be required to improve on the spot or deliver rehearsed lines to camera.



A list given to a model, detailing the time, location, payment, duties and other important information about a job or casting.


A person who works in a model agency and books the jobs, they arrange appointments with clients and communicate with models about the jobs they're hired for.



This is the same as an audition/interview process where the client gathers information about the model to determine whether they're the right candidate for the job.

Call Back/Recall

A second audition or meeting with client before they make a final decision to confirming a model/talent for the job.

Call Time

The time a model is required to be at location for a casting or job.


The person who hires a model for their business advertisements/promotions.


When a number of industry creatives work together to get images for their personal use/portfolios. When talking about industry creatives this refers to model, photographer, videographer, makeup and hair artist, stylist, location provider e.g. a wedding reception or cafe, florist, fashion designers and anyone else who may contribute to the shoot.

Composite or Comp Card

A card used to promote the model, contains several photos, model stats, agency information and contact details. It is essentially a models business card that they give out to casting directors and clients.


This involves a number of models competing against one another to win the title of a beauty pageant, model contract or event. They usually win an incentive or prize. Contests are great ways to build up a models industry contacts and reputation.

Copy Right

Refers to exclusive rights of an authors original work.


Day Rate

A rate charged to use a model for 6+ hours.


Natural photos of a model non edited, front, side and back. This is shown on the agencies website and shown to potential clients.


Editorial Shoot

A theme/concept is determined and the photographer then takes a series of photographs of a model which is then used in a magazine.

Electronic portfolio

This is a models portfolio (selection of the models best versatile photographs) on an electronic device like laptop or note book.



This is when a model goes to try on clothing to make sure it fits properly before working for client.



This word in the modelling industry means modelling job. E.g. I have a gig on monday.

Go See

Where model is to attend a interview or audition to meet the client and for them to see how the model looks in person.


Haute Couture

It is a French word for high-end fashion. It is exclusive custom fitted clothing which is expensive.

Head Shot

A photo close up of a models face. It can be used as a default picture on an agencies website or on a models comp card.


Look Book

Modelling for a designers label collection, which is then turned into a book. It is sent to fashion editors, buyers, clients and customers to show the designers look for the season.


Model Release Form

This is a legal document between model, photographer, client and any other parties involved regarding the rights of the photographs taken. This is to protect all parties from a misuse of the images. It is to ensure that everyone knows what the images will be used for and where they will be advertised. It is so important that the model reads this form thoroughly and even gets a second trusted person to go through it. If you feel that you disagree with something, it's okay to speak up and clarify, this is your job and if you don't agree with something you wont be happy performing the job, which will inevitably reflect badly on you. So make sure you READ, READ AND READ, before signing anything.

Mother Agent

The Agency who first discovers a model and initially gets them started with a portfolio and work opportunities.


An abbreviation for Makeup Artist.


An abbreviation for Makeup Artist and Hair.



Natural photos none edited of a model, this is so the client can see what the model really looks like without makeup and editing.


A series of photographs of a model, generally shows a models versatility and is presented as a book or website to show to clients.



Stands for to be confirmed. This may be used when the client is referring to budget, time, location and for any other matter that is yet to be decided.


This refers to Time for... Where a model and photographer decide the terms of their collaboration. The model may agree to provide service in exchange for photos printed, on CD or received through email.


This means Time for CD, where the model receives a CD from the photographer for the photo shoot.


Is an abbreviation for Time for Print, where model gives their time to a photographer who then gives them photos, basically a collaboration based project. The prints received my be digital (sent through email) or physical (example, printed on 8X10 gloss paper). Always clarify how many photos you will receive for your time and if you have preference/choice to choose which photos you will receive. This is a great deal for new models wanting to develop a portfolio or existing models who need to update their portfolio. The only thing I do advise is that if you plan to use these images for your portfolio ensure they come without the photographers copy right tags, because model agents do not post these on their webpages as part of a models portfolio.


This is when a model will work for a client and receive clothing, products or services rather than money. It is basically an exchange for time and effort.



A models size in regards to height, chest, waist, hips, dress and shoe size.


A room that has creative equipment like cameras, lights, computers, backdrops, props, mirrors, dressing rooms and desk space to complete photo-shoots. Can be a warehouse, garage or bedroom. The main purpose of a studio is creating work basically similar to an office but for photographers, models, stylists, hair and makeup artists.

I Hope I was able to help and inform you on different model terms and conditions. If you have any terms you are unfamiliar with and would like clarification on, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments section. I'm here to help.

Every great model needs to start somewhere, so collaborate, collaborate, collaborate! BE A GO-GETTER!

Beauty Shoot for jewellery Company
Commercial Beauty Shoot for Liberte Model: Yasemin Islek Photographer: Mark Fitzgerald