Modeling Terminology

Posted by Liza Elliott-Ramirez February - 25 - 2016
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Modeling Terminology has a language of its own. In the world of modeling, the industry has a terms of talent usage that has a vernacular  of its own. There are no colleges that train a student who wants to become a professional modeling booking agent. Generally, it’s a profession that falls in your lap. Hence, you will always learn the business from on the job training. As a professional model or Agent, it’s imperative that you understand the jargon so you can determine the best rate for the corresponding usage.

Times have changed. Top fashion Magazines have folded, many agencies have gone under and as a agency owner you must be a step ahead of the times. Modern technology has opened up so many avenues of work where models can make more money than ever!  As a maternity model, make sure to team up with a cutting edge agency like Expecting Models that is up to speed with negotiating proper rates and are always ahead of the curve. No pun intended.

Modeling Terminology

We are living in quick ever changing times! Cyber technology changes at the flip of a switch, so your agent must be on his/her A Game! The days of messengering model portfolios and printing thousands of Comp/Zed Card days are over! Agencies need to nix deducting messenger fees from your day rate of work! Let’s get real, we are all using e-cards and model based websites. Those are the only deductions or website maintenance charges  you should be paying for.

First things first, never play agent and try to book yourself.  Social Media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in and Craigslist tend to offer model rates that are much less money than your agent would ever settle for and often times getting paid will get sketchy. Although not every listed project is a scam, but rates will be significantly lower. Its offensive when an experienced  professional model is asked to work for trade or “exposure!” Models, particularly Maternity Models need money! Work with an agency that secures the best rates per job usage. A model Agent is your advocate and will negotiate the best rates for how your image is intended to be used. They are working for you so note that if you’re not working, your agent isn’t either! Work with people who are inspired and ready to roll up their sleeves and push for you! You won’t get the call if you’re not in the submission! Agencies like Expecting Models has such a limited time with a pregnant model, they don’t have time to waste and so they get down to business!

Here are terms used in the modeling industry that play a role in how much your final day rate will be.


CASTING: A place where the casting director, producer or client will meet talent for the purpose of casting for their project. All attendees will be of consideration. (Also referred to as a “go-see”). Most Castings only require signing in and taking a digital or two, however some castings for print will require talent to introduce themselves on camera. In which case, having on-camera experience is a plus!

Audition: A place where the casting director, producer or client will meet talent for their project consideration. This type of meeting requires acting skills. Lines or dialogue. Being a trained actor is a prerequisite. Even when asked to do minor facial expressions, it’s much harder than it looks.

BOOKING: You have officially been chosen for the job and have been selected to model or act for a specific project.

BOOKING OUT: Informing your agent that you will be unavailable for castings and bookings, for a specified period of time. It’s important to alert all agencies that you work with so you are not submitted for projects that you are unavailable for.

CALLBACK: A 2nd audition that takes place after the casting director has narrowed down the short list of talent being considered for the job.

DIRECT BOOKING: A modeling job that is attained solely through photo a submission, talent will not have to attend an audition or casting.

AVAILclient requests talent to hold the shoot date/s until the client decides to book or release the talent for those set of dates; also referred to as first avail or first option.

 ECARD: An electronic composite or Zed card of your modeling portfolio which include your stats and your agency contact information.

HOLD The next step after an audition, when a casting director requests for the talent being considered to be available on the job dates. Talent further agrees to not accept another job or commitment on those dates without checking with the agency first. (Also referred to as an OPTION” or REFUSAL”).

OPEN CASTING An audition where the casting director requests to see any talent that meets the criteria for a job.

PHOTO/MODEL RELEASE: A legal document provided by a client that grants permission to use a model’s images for a project. The document typically outlines the model’s legal rights in relation to how, where and for how long their images are used. Agents should be sent all Model/photography releases.

RELEASED: A final decision that a model did not get a job.

REQUEST CASTING: An audition where the agency submits photos of talent that meet the criteria for a job, and the casting director then chooses specific models to see for the audition.

SIGN IN SHEETS: Upon arriving at any casting or audition, the casting director will have a sign in sheet requesting your name, time of arrival, and your agency contact information. Some Castings will request your personal phone number and email address which is a no-no. Talent should never be contacted by a casting director or production company. All correspondences should be between the agency  you are working with and assigned  individuals working on that particular project.

TEARSHEETS: A copy of the final work done by a model, once it has been released by the client (i.e. the final print ad, magazine cover, catalog, etc.)

Voucher: A document provided by the agency that should be completed and signed once a shoot has wrapped on set. A voucher contains job details and hours worked, overtime, and usage.

On Set: A model is actually on a photo shoot with a back drop, lights, stylist and photographer.

Modeling is a profession. It’s a real business that requires skill. Modeling terminology is important to know. It’s not the creative art form of the industry but it’s certainly the business side.


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