ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: An employee of the advertising agency who works on a particular brand. Account executives are usually present at photo shoots and castings to ensure that the model and the photographer are successfully carrying out the wishes of the client.
ACTION: What the director says on the set to indicate that the cameras are rolling and that the actors should begin the scene. It literally means, “Start acting”
AD: An abbreviation for advertisement.
ADVERTISING AGENCY: A company that specializes in creating ads for big brands. Almost all of the ads you see on TV or in magazines are created by an advertising agency. The account executive is your main contact at the ad agency. The creative director, art director and the copywriter come up with the concept. Someone from the ad agency will then co-ordinate the booking: casting the models, hiring a photographer who will secure the location and hiring a stylist and make-up artist for the shoot.
ADVERTISING: The industry that promotes products and services to the general public in hopes that people will buy or use those products and services.
AGENCY: A company that represents models, actors and talent of any kind. A modelling agency is responsible for representing and promoting it’s models and booking jobs for them. Modelling agencies usually handle contracts, payments and the whole business side of the model’s work. Ad agencies contact modelling agencies when they need to hire models for TV commercials and print ads.
AGENT: An individual working for an agency who receives commission from each booking he/she sets up.
APPOINTMENT BOOK: What you use to keep track of your schedule. Comes in very handy when filling out vouchers and making sure you’ve been paid for all the time you worked. You can also use an electronic organizer.
ART DIRECTOR: At an ad agency or magazine this is the person who designs the look and feel of the ad or magazine. Sometimes the art director may have a direct impact on the kinds of photos that the agency wants but models don’t usually have direct contact with her/him.
ARTIST RELEASE FORM: A contract that you sign which ‘releases’ your claim over any images taken of you for a specific client for an agreed fee.
AUDITION: A tryout for a film, TV or stage part. When a model auditions for a modelling booking it’s called a go-see or casting.
B&W: Black and white, as in a black & white photograph (the only other alternative is color). The photos used for actor’s headshots are almost always in black & white.
BACKDROP: A background used in a photographer’s studio. This is usually seamless paper or a set location scene.
BACKGROUND: Extras in a photograph, a TV show, a movie or a play.
BEAUTY: When used in the context of “beauty shoot” it refers to a full-face photograph that would be used for a magazine cover or a cosmetic ad.
BIO: Short for biography. This is the condensed story of a model or an actor’s life made available to public relations companies. It’s basically a CV with particular jobs highlighted.
BLOCKING: The actual physical movements made by actors in any scene.
BLOW-UP: An enlargement photo from a negative or slide.
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/BOOKING AGENT: A staff member at an agency whose job is to handle requests from clients and to represent and set up appointments for models.
BOOKING: When a model is booked for a specific job/assignment.
BOOKING OUT: When a model notifies his/her booker/agency that he/she will not be available for a certain number of days.
BREAKDOWN SERVICE: A professional listing available only to agencies that lists movies, film, TV, and stage projects with what types of actors are being cast.
BRIEF: Given to a model by his/her booker regarding a job or casting. It will include information such as dress code etc. Or information a client will give to an agency regarding a casting.
BUYER: A retail store employee responsible for purchasing clothing from manufacturers to sell in store. Buyers typically attend fashion shows and visit designer’s showrooms looking for clothing their customers will like.
BUYOUT: When a client makes an advance payment for the future use of a photograph, print ad or TV commercial that a model has appeared in. This means that the client can then use the model’s images wherever and however they want for a specific period of time.
CALL BACK: A second audition for a job. After a casting, the casting director/client may want to see a model again. They will call the people they liked best to come back and try out again to make a final decision about who will be selected for the booking.
CALL SHEET: The notice that goes out to all people involved in a photo shoot (or commercial shoot) that gives the details of the shoot. Important information on the call sheet includes your call time, the location of the shoot and how you should appear upon arrival. Clients may want you to arrive already in full make-up with styled hair or they may want you barefaced (see clean clean). If you don’t know this information by the night before the shoot, call your agent and find out. Not following directions causes a lot of expensive, wasted time in the studio and may stop you from getting hired by that client again.
CALL TIME: This is the exact time you need to show up for work. If it’s a TV commercial, expect it to be pretty early in the morning. If any special make-up or costume is required, your call time may be at the crack of dawn.
CAMPAIGN: An advertising campaign.
CANCELLATION: Notice given 24 hours before a booking is to begin.
CASTING: Clients will ask to see the models/actors who fit the brief for a specific job. The client will hold a casting. If you cannot attend a casting notify your agent.
CASTING CALL: A call put out to actors or models for a specific role or job. Casting and modelling agencies usually host the casting calls, which may take place at production offices, studios, hotel suites, etc. A closed casting call is one in which the talent has been handpicked and invited to appear. An open casting call is usually advertised in the trades (papers) and is open to anyone.
CASTING DIRECTOR: The person appointed by a client to run the casting enabling the client to find the best models for a particular assignment/commercial. Casting Directors should NOT charge you to attend a casting.
CATALOGUE MODELLING: Modelling clothes or posing with items for major mail-order retailers.
CATTLE CALL: When several agencies send many models of the same general type to a casting session.
CHARACTER MODEL/ CHARACTER ACTOR: Character models and actors are hired to play the nerd, the fat guy, the librarian or the little old lady. These talented people usually have several different characters they can play. Character actors and models rarely become household names, but this is an extremely lucrative field if you’ve got the right look.
CLEAN CLEAN: A specification on a call-sheet that means clean hair, clean face. You should show up for the photo shoot with no make-up on and freshly washed hair. The opposite of this is “hair and make-up ready,” which is pretty self-explanatory.
CLIENT: A company who hires the ad agency and pays the model’s fee.
CLOSE-UP: A photograph taken up close, usually of a face.
COLD READING: A script that you are reading for the first time in front of the client without having had time to memorize the lines.
COLLECTION: A selection of coordinated clothes being shown by a designer.
COMMENTARY: A script used to describe clothes for a fashion show.
COMMERCIAL: A promotional advertisement on TV, radio or other media.
COMMERCIAL ACTOR: Actors that primarily work in TV commercials. This is a broad category that includes children, old people, and every walk of life in between. Some commercial actors also do commercial print modelling.
COMMERCIAL PRINT ADVERTISING: Advertisements that appear in print for consumer products and services. This includes any ad that appears in a magazine, a newspaper, on a poster, on the side of a bus, etc.
COMMERCIAL PRINT MODEL: A model who works in commercial print advertising. Commercial print models are the ones you see in ads for everything: toothpaste, diapers, cars, dentures, dog food, travel agencies – everything. Commercial print modelling is not as restrictive as fashion or editorial modelling, since advertisers need to appeal to a wide cross-section of the general public.
COMMISSION: A commission may be deducted by your agency from your job fee. You will be quoted a “model fee” that includes the agency commission and tax.
COMPOSITE CARD: Also referred to as a comp card, zed card or model business card. It includes your name, your contact information and all your statistics, and also 3-5 photos of you in various poses, settings, outfits and looks (the widest variety possible). Comp cards are sent to prospective clients.
CONFIGURATIONS: The number of models posed in a photograph. Some standard fashion configurations are singles, doubles, triples, and groups.
CONTACT SHEET/PROOF: A photographer’s term for a sheet of film printed with smaller versions of all the photos taken during the photo shoot. From the contact sheet, the photographer and the client will choose which shots they want to print and enlarge.
COPY: These are the actual words written for a TV or radio commercial, including the dialogue spoken by actors. Ad copy refers to all the text in a print ad.
COPY BOOK: A copy of a model’s portfolio pictures placed into a second portfolio book
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: An advertising agency employee who oversees the overall creative direction and design and determines the model type.
CREW: All personnel who assist in the production of stills, photographs and television commercials including camera operators, make-up artists etc.
‘CYC’ STUDIO: Pronounced “syke”, ‘cyc’ is short for ‘cyclone’ studio. This is a photography studio that has no corners. Instead it’s rounded everywhere with built-in ‘cyc’ backdrops. In photographs, corners and edges (like where the wall meets the floor) tend to look ugly. A ‘cyc’ studio eliminates this effect. Seamless paper gives the same effect in a regular studio.
DARK ROOM: The room photographers and lab technicians use to develop film. The darkness ensures that the photos don’t get ruined or overexposed. These days, even top photographers don’t develop their own film. Most rolls of film are sent to specialized labs that develop them.
DAY RATE: What a model is paid per day. This varies depending on your status, the market you’re in, and the client.
DAYLIGHT STUDIO: A photography studio that is lit with natural light, usually by way of windows and skylights.
DEMO: An audio tape of original music that singers and musicians use to demonstrate their talent, ability and versatility to club booking agents, record label executives, managers, radio programmers and DJs. Demo is also used to refer to an audio or video tape used by models and actors for audition purposes (also see reel).
DEMOGRAPHIC: The target audience for a particular ad, commercial or product. (Sometimes shortened to “demo”). The most coveted advertising demographic is 18-to-49 year olds because they spend the most money and are the most influenced by advertising. For a magazine, the demographic is the readership of that magazine.
DEMONSTRATION MODELLING: A type of modelling in which the model demonstrates how to use a product, usually at a department store, car show or trade show.
DEMONSTRATOR: A model that ‘shows’ a product at a trade show or store.
DESIGNER: A person who designs clothing, accessories, jewelry, etc. Designers can be instrumental in the career of a model and may propel a formerly unknown model to the top of the industry just because he or she likes that model’s look.
DOUBLE-PAGE SPREAD: A photograph in a magazine that is printed across two pages. The crease between the two pages is called the gutter.
DRESSER: A person who helps models dress backstage at fashion shows.
EDITORIAL: An “editorial booking” is a shoot for the fashion pages of a magazine. An editorial is only used once.
EXCLUSIVE: An agreement between a client and a model to work exclusively with that client. For example, a designer may pay a model to do their runway show exclusively.
‘EXPOS’: An exposition is like large trades show. ‘Expos’ usually showcase new products, new stores, and new services, which sometimes require the use of demonstration models.
EXTRA: A model or actor who appears in the background of a photo or film and is paid accordingly.
FADS: An overdone fashion or passing craze.
FASHION COORDINATOR: A person who puts outfits together for fashion shows in retail stores.
FASHION MODEL: A male or female model with a very specific height, size, and shape. With few exceptions, all fashion models have good skin, long legs, well-defined features and generally slender frames. However, different markets tend to prefer different looks.
FASHION TRENDS: Gradual changes in fashion styles.
FILM: There are lots of different film stocks, brands, sizes and formats that photographers use. As a model, you don’t actually handle the film but you should have some idea of what the photographer is talking about. This is especially important when you’re hiring a photographer on your own to take your first professional photos. The photographer will use either color or B&W depending on the look he or she wants. Color slide film (also called transparency or reversal film) is used to make slides. It’s also direct positive film – that is, the film that goes into the camera and the film the slides are made of is the exact same film. The slides are then turned into prints. Color print film is what most consumer cameras use. The film that goes in the camera is sent to a lab when the roll is finished. There, the film is processed to a negative. The lab enlarges the negatives into color prints. Black and white slide and black and white print films are also available. Fashion and editorial models’ comp cards should include a mix of color and black and white photos. Actor headshots and commercial print models should use B&W for their headshots.
FIT MODEL: A male or female model fashion designers and clothing manufacturers use to size and measure clothes for production. Clients chose a model whose measurements match the sample size exactly. Clothing manufacturers do not hire separate fit models for each size. Instead, they measure the clothes on a standard size model and then use computer programs to magnify those dimensions for each different size.
FITTING: The session that takes place before the photo shoot where the clothes to be modeled are fitted on to 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.
FLIPPER: False tooth used for young children to temporarily fill in for lost teeth.
FORMAL FASHION SHOWS, RUNWAY SHOWS: With an invited audience, stage and music. Models walk down the runway to ‘show’ designer clothing.
FORMATS: Types of film. Common types include large format, slide, transparency, 4×5 and 6×7.
FREELANCE: Modelling for many clients without agency representation.
FULL-LENGTH SHOT: A photo that shows the model from head to toe.
GATEFOLD: A foldout magazine cover that extends.
GO-SEE: When the model agency makes an appointment for you to see a photographer or a client. A go-see is different to a casting (where there are lots of models). Go-sees are like mini-auditions, so you should bring your portfolio, comp card or other photos and dress and behave appropriately. You do not get paid for going to go-sees.
GROUP SHOT: A photograph composed of a group of models (more than three).
GUTTER: The crease in a double-page photo spread.
HAIR STYLIST: Works on hair changes during a shoot.
HAUTE COUTURE: Pronounced “oat-ko-chure” this phrase is French for “high-fashion.” Couture is extremely high-end, tailor-made designer clothes that only a few dozen people in the world can afford. High-fashion editorial models work in couture.
HEADSHEET: A sheet, poster or book of models that an agency sends to prospective clients.
HEADSHOT: An 8 x 10 size photo of head and shoulders. Black & white (B&W) headshots are an actor’s calling card.
HIGH FASHION: Extreme, chic and sophisticated fashion modeled by top models.
HIGH FASHION MODELLING: Modelling for covers and editorial layouts for the top fashion magazines in the world and in print ads for designer clothing collections.
HOLD: When your 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. If another job comes up for that time whilst you are ‘on hold’ you must notify your agency before accepting it.
ILLUSTRATION MODEL: A model who poses for artists.
INDUSTRIAL: Non-broadcast production, often educational or sales films and videotapes.
INFORMAL FASHION SHOWS: Take place in stores or malls, models walk around and there is no runway.
INFORMAL MODELLING: A type of modelling performed in an informal atmosphere, usually a store or mall, where models wander around showing the clothes directly to the customers.
JUNIOR MODEL: A child-teen model between the ages of 8 and 12 years of age.
KNOCKOFFS: Copies of designer clothing, shoes or accessories that are manufactured and sold for less money. Knockoffs can be as subtle as one designer “borrowing” elements of another’s designs or as blatant as the guy selling fake Prada bags out of his car right on the street
LENS: The part of the camera that the light goes into. Regular, zoom, wide angle and telephoto are all types of camera lenses that determine what the photo will look like.
LIGHT: Studios are full of lights and all or some of them will be pointed at you. Types of studio lights include strobe lights; tungsten lights (very, very bright lights) and spotlights. A photographer’s number one concern is the film in the camera but their number two concern is light.
LIGHT BOX: A clear Lucite plastic box that lights up and is used for viewing contact sheets and slides. Also called a light table.
LIGHT METER: A device used to measure the intensity of light for a photograph. Photographers or their assistants will hold a light meter up in front of the model before taking the photograph.
LINE: The collection of clothing introduced each season by a fashion designer or, in some cases, a clothing company.
LINES: The words in a script that an actor must learn.
LINE-UP: The order and position of different models and garments in a fashion show.
LOCATION: Any place, other than in a studio, where a shoot (photography or film) takes place. When you are on location, it means you are outside the controlled environment of the studio or sound stage and should prepare accordingly.
LOUPE: A small magnifying glass that may be used to see slides and contact sheet images up to eight times larger.
MAKEUP ARTIST: Applies and changes makeup for photo sessions, fashion shows and films.
MARKET WEEK: When seasonal clothing lines are shown to buyers. This occurs 4-6 times per year.
MARKET, JOB MARKET: Any location where there is a lot of work.
MEDIA: Plural of medium. Media is a broad term used to describe any form of communication including television, movies, magazines, newspapers and the Internet.
MISSES: A women’s clothing size. In department stores, misses is adult women, petite is small women and junior is child-teen women.
MODEL AGENCY: Represents models for employment and receives a percentage of the bookings.
MODEL BAG: A large tote in which you carry all your makeup and working essentials.
MONOLOGUE: A speech or scene performed by one actor for a client. A monologue often reflects a particular mood and is a good way of demonstrating your acting talent.
MOOD: Happy, sad, pensive or joyful, this is the emotion the model is asked to display in a photograph or on the runway.
NEGATIVES: A type of film, the film after it’s been processed into prints.
NON-UNION: A person or job that does not have union status. Models and actors can belong to one or more of several unions or guilds.
ON SET: Meaning filming/shooting at the location/studio where a film is being shot.
OPTIONS: An option is put to a model by a client to see if he/she would be available for their shoot. Options are then either confirmed as a booking, or released.
OVEREXPOSURE: Exposing photographic film to too much light and ruining it.
PENCIL BOOKING: A provisional booking for a model.
PERCENTAGE: The fee your agent and/or manager takes out of the money you make.
PERSONAL ASSISTANT: An all-purpose term for the person who assists a model, a modelling agent, a photographer, etc.
PHOTO LIBRARY/PICTURE LIBRARY/STOCK IMAGES: Pictures taken by photographers to be placed in “photographic libraries” from which clients can buy or “rent” a picture for their particular needs. The model is paid for his/her work in front of camera while the usage fee for the images (if used) are split between the photo library, photographer and client.
POLAROID: A type of camera that delivers the developed film instantly. On castings and go-sees, Polaroids are usually taken of every model and stapled to their resumes and headsheets.
P-O-P: Short for point-of-purchase. This is anywhere a consumer purchases a product. Sometimes a model’s likeness is used at a point-of-purchase, like at a cosmetics counter that displays a poster of the model wearing that company’s make-up.
PORTFOLIO: A book containing a selection of photographs and tearsheets that a model shows to clients.
POSE: One of the many stances or positions a model may assume during a photo shoot or a fashion show. Strike a pose – there’s really nothing to it.
PRESS RELEASE: A statement written by a public relations company to be distributed to the media.
PRINCIPAL: The main performer in a play, film or other production OR the main subject in a photograph, as opposed to an extra or background model.
PRINT: Prints are what the photography lab makes with the film the photographer gives them. It’s just another word for photograph.
PRINTWORK: Photography taken for catalogues and mail order, books, brochures, ads for magazines or newspapers, magazine covers, commercial photography for household products, business products and services and glamour products.
PRODUCER: The person responsible for the day-to-day decision making of a production.
PRODUCT CONFLICT: Representing competitive products – to be avoided.
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Produces video/film for viewing.
PROMOTION: An event that may require models to promote a product, a service, a new store, etc. Or publicity to advance a product, service or person.
PROOF: An intermediate stage of photographic development from which the photographer or client can chose the model’s best poses.
PUBLIC RELATIONS: A public relations company is sometimes hired by a modelling agency, a model’s manager or by a model to promote and publicize the model and his or her career. Public relations representatives distribute information (press releases) to the media about a client’s comings and goings in order to get that client’s name in the papers or magazines.
READY-TO-WEAR: Clothing that is not custom-made. Customers can buy ready-to-wear right off the rack in a store. The opposite of ready-to-wear is wildly expensive couture clothing.
REEL: A videotape montage of an actor or a model’s work. This could include clips from movies, TV shows, commercials, industrials, student films, etc. Directors and cinematographers have reels of their work too.
REFLECTOR: A big, silvery flat disc or umbrella that is positioned around the photographer’s subject to reflect all the light onto it.
RELEASE: A document or contract signed by the model or actor that specifies how the client can use the photographs or film.
RESIDUALS: Additional money paid when a piece runs in repeat, rates dictated by the unions.
RESUME/CV: Your education, training, and professional history and experience condensed onto one page, neatly formatted and typo-free.
ROUNDS: Calling on prospective clients for photography and television work.
RUNWAY: A narrow raised platform on which the model ‘shows’ the clothing.
SAMPLE: A one-off piece of clothing from a line made by a designer for the model(s) to wear.
SCOUT: To search for prospective models from other, smaller agencies, other locations or even in the street or while on beaches. Scouts find potential models in a crowd.
SCREEN TEST: A few minutes of film shot to see how an actor looks and sounds on film under different circumstances, in various lighting and make-up, etc.
SEAMLESS: Seamless paper rolled down back of a photographer’s studio to eliminate all corners, edges, and shadows in the background of a photograph. The same effect can be achieved in a ‘cyc’ studio.
SET: The place where a film or commercial is filmed, either in a studio or on location OR the arrangement of props and furniture in a TV or photo studio.
SHOOT: Photo session.
SHOWROOM: Where clothing designers display their collections to buyers, sometimes using models. Showrooms are usually not open to the public.
SHOWROOM WORK: Manufacturer’s showcase a clothing line to buyers using live models when the seasonal clothing designs are being shown.
SIGN-IN SHEET: Used on cattle calls to list the order in which each model is expected to arrive to audition.
SLATE: To state your name on camera before your commercial audition.
SLR CAMERA: A single-lens reflector camera. Whatever you see through the lens of an SLR camera is exactly what you’ll see on film. For some other cameras the image through the lens is very different from the image that is captured on film.
SPEC SHOT: Test photos taken for a specific job. The photographer will take the photos hoping to sell them to the client.
SPOKESPERSON: A model chosen to explain the features of a product/service.
SPORTS SHOT: A photo of a model playing a sport.
STAGE PARENT: An adult who pushes and watches too closely over a child performer and gets in the way of the shoot.
‘STATS’: Short for statistics. These include all the specific sizes and measurements a model needs to print on his or her composite card. The ‘stats’ required depend on the type of model (fashion, commercial print, male or female). A female fashion model must list her height, waist in inches, hips in inches, bust in inches, cup size, dress size, shoe size, hair color and eye color. A male fashion model must list his height in inches, chest in inches, waist in inches, inseam in inches, shirt size, collar size, sleeve length, suit size, shoe size, hair color, and eye color. Adult models do not list their age or their weight. Children list hair color, eye color, their height in inches, size, and date of birth. For infants and babies, weight, length in inches and date of birth are all that’s required, as well as a photograph taken within the last six months. Children under five need to have new photos taken every six months (these can be Polaroids).
STILL: A still photograph, as opposed to photography for film and television (motion photography).
STOCK PHOTOGRAPHER: This type of photographer does not work for a specific client or job. Instead his/her work is listed in a general catalogue for any client to select (for example, a photo of a male model with a car).
STORYBOARD: A comic-like piece of artwork that shows a frame-by-frame depiction of a television commercial in drawings. Storyboards are good for getting an idea of the image or scene the photographer or director will attempt to achieve during the shoot.
STROBE: A strobe is like a giant flash bulb that is connected to the camera and provides a bright white light.
STROBE STUDIO: A very brightly-lit studio that is suitable for certain photo shoots (as opposed to a daylight studio).
STUDIO: The controlled environment photographers use for photo shoots. The opposite of a studio shoot is a location shoot.
STYLIST: A professional hired to style the clothing, hair and makeup for the models on a photo shoot. The stylist can choose the clothing, add accessories, design the set, and design the look of the hair and makeup (but not actually do the hair and makeup – usually the stylist will direct the hired hair and makeup artists).
SUPERMODEL: A term for a very famous, wildly