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25 Essential Modeling Terms

25 Essential Modeling Terms
Photo Source: Shutterstock

Part of modeling—especially commercial modeling—is knowing what you’re talking about. So before you jump in front of the camera, here are 25 terms you must know.

Body parts: Some models are hired not for their face but for their special features, such as having great legs, hair, hands, etc.

Bonus: Models are generally paid an additional fee above their hourly or day rate if the ad is running in a “high-exposure format,” such as a poster, billboard, point of purchase, or online. Models can also receive bonuses if the ad will run for a long period of time or if the clients request exclusivity. 

Book: A book is another term used for a model’s portfolio.

Buy out: Models are normally given additional money if the client wants to use the ad in perpetuity. 

Cheating to the camera: This is when the model slightly turns his head and eyesight away from an object or the other model and closer to the camera. This gives the illusion that the model is looking straight at the other person or object but also allows the camera to see more of the model’s face. 

Composite sheet (comp card or zed card): This is the model’s business card. Unlike an actor’s headshot and résumé, a composite sheet shows a variety of the model’s photos along with her stats (height, eye color, hair color, etc.).

Editorial shot: A photograph that is used alongside an article in a newspaper or magazine.

Fit modeling: Models are hired to help designers test wardrobe for sizing. 

Go-see: This is the term used when describing a model’s audition. When a model is contacted to attend a go-see, they go to a photographer’s studio or a casting facility and are seen.

READ: How to Become a Hand Model

Layout: Typically, the art director from an ad agency will create a sample concept for an ad. This guide is shown to the photographer shooting the ad as well as to the client for approval. 

Model form: A model form is filled out by models when they attend a go-see. Basic contact info and sizes are normally requested in the form.

Model release form: A legal document giving a photographer or advertising agency the rights to use the model’s image in an ad.

One-plus-one: This is when a model is booked for a one-hour modeling job with the possibility of working an additional hour. Models must hold the additional hour in case the shoot runs longer than expected.

Photo credit: This is optional in case the model wants to place the photographer’s name next to his or her photo on a composite sheet

Print: This is the term used for any still picture that is used in a printed format, such as newspapers, posters, magazines, etc.

Request go-see: When a model is specifically asked to attend a casting for a print job.

Sign-in sheet: A plain paper that models use to write down their names. The sheet allows the photographer to know who is next in line to have their photo taken. 

Square to the camera: The photographer will make this request when he wants the model’s face and body to be positioned straight into the lens. 

Stock photography: Generic photographs that can be rented to companies or organizations in order for them to save money by not having to hire models and photographers when creating ads. These photos can also be used for editorial purposes. Some websites include Getty Images and Shutterstock.

Tear sheet: This is a copy of a commercial modeling ad. This proves the ad was published.

Test shot: A photo that is not being used as an ad, but instead, for a photographer’s or model’s portfolio.

Transit: The term used for posters on vehicles, such as buses, trucks, or on subways.

Transparent apparel: Clothing that is worn by a model that is considered see through.

Usage: How and where the ad will run, such as in newspapers, magazines, or on a poster or billboard, which are considered high-exposure formats.

Voucher: This is the bill/invoice that is used by models for all commercial modeling jobs. The agent and whoever is being invoiced for the job gets a copy, and the model should always hold onto this invoice. 

*This post was originally published on May 29, 2016. It has since been updated. 

Aaron Marcus is an author, acting and modeling career coach, and has been a full-time actor and commercial model for over 30 years. For more information, check out Marcus’s full bio

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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