Glossary of Modeling Terms and Phrases

When first starting out as a model, some of the modeling terms and phrases may be unfamiliar to you.  Not to worry! Here's a list of the most common terms and phrases we use in the business. 


portrait of a young woman with long brown hair
ValuaVitaly / Getty Images

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. AFTRA is a television and radio artists union. 

Age Category

The age range you appear to be. Generally within 5-7 years over or under your actual age. 

Art Director

The person responsible for developing the look of an ad, editorial or other visual presentation. Can be an independent contractor or employed by an advertising agency, a magazine, or photographer.

Art Model

Art modeling involves posing for an art class and its students or, you can pose for a single artist interested in painting or drawing the human form. A live model is an invaluable resource for an artist learning to create portraits, which is a very challenging modeling skill to acquire.

Beauty Shot

A clean head shot with excellent makeup and simple hairstyle. A beauty shot shows your face in an elegant and beautiful manner. No big hair, no heavy jewelry or anything that distracts from your skin, bone structure, and overall features.

Billing Form

A form used by models to record the names of clients, job descriptions, number of hours worked, rate of pay, and ​expenses. The model has the client sign the form (voucher) and will give the client one copy, the agency one copy and will keep one copy for herself. (See also Voucher.)


A model's portfolio book of photos. 


A person working in a modeling agency who books jobs, schedules appointments and assignments for models.

Booking Conditions

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

Booking Out

When a model books out, he or she makes specific hours or days they are unavailable for assignments.

Buy Out

An arrangement in which a client will issue a model a one-time payment for use of their work rather than pay residuals.

Call Back

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

Cattle Call

A mass interview or audition where numerous models attend. (See also Go-See.)


A file or sheet used to chart a model's schedule, appointments, and other activities.

Commercial Model

Commercial models can be any age, any size, ​and any height. Commercial models can do everything that isn't normally associated with high-fashion, such as product ads (housewares, food products, travel industry, tech devices, and the list goes on). 

If you think you'd like to become a commercial model one of the best resources is a book titled "How to Become a Successful Commercial Model" by Aaron Marcus.


Often referred to as a comp card. A card used to promote the model that contains several photos, the model's stats, and contact information.

Contact Sheet

A sheet developed by a photographer showing all the shots from a roll of film so photos that can be selected quickly and easily. Can be in black and white or color.

Day Rate

The rate charged for a model's services for a full eight-hour day of work.

Editorial Model

High fashion models that appear in fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, GQ, Details, W, Numero and work for clients such as Armani, Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, and other high-end clients are usually referred to as "editorial" models.

Editorial Print

Fashion pages of a magazine that are produced by the magazine itself to portray current trends, clothing and fashion ideas. Editorial work does not pay as well as commercial print which is work done for an actual paying client.

Fit Model

Fit models used by designers and fashion houses, usually on a regular basis. 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 to be a print model.


When the model tries on clothing and outfits to make sure they fit properly and can be altered before a booking such as fashion show, commercial, or print shoot.


A personal or mass interview or audition where numerous models attend to go and see the client so the client can see how the model looks in person. (See also Cattle Call.)

Haute Couture

The French word for high fashion.


A poster or brochure of the model's the agency represents that is presented to clients. Usually contains the model's headshot and stats. (Headsheets are rarely used anymore, almost all agencies have websites where they post their model's photos and stats.)

Look Book

A collection of photos taken of models wearing a designer or manufacturers clothing that is sent out to fashion editors, buyers, clients, and special customers to show the designer's looks for the season.


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

The major markets are New York, Paris, Milan, and Tokyo. Secondary markets are Chicago, Miami, Australia, Taipei, and so on. Local markets are much smaller markets and usually where most models originate from before heading to a secondary or major market.

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 websites that clients can easily access from their offices.)

Mother Agent

A mother agent is a person or agency that initially discovered you.  A mother agent will help you develop your look, build your book and market you to major and secondary markets. A mother agent is an important part of your team and can help you navigate the various markets and manage your career long term.

Runway/Catwalk Model

Runway/Catwalk 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"


The Screen Actors Guild (SAG)

SED Card

Pronounced Zed Card. Another name for composite card, named after card-maker Sebastian Sed.


The model's statistics such as height, bust, waist, hips. For men, it is height, chest, and waist. Modeling agencies very rarely, if ever, use weight as a measurement.


A tearsheet is an actual page from a magazine, catalog, or another print job in which the model has worked.


A test photo shoot usually paid for by the model to test different looks and start building their books with photos.


TFP means Time for Prints. It is when a model will exchange their time to pose for a photographer and the photographer will, in turn, give the model prints for their book. Usually, this is done by a photographer who may be building their own portfolio or they want to try new lighting techniques or styles.


An invoice that is 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 can be billed and the model can be paid.