Modeling Glossary

All of the definitions here were written by me, unless other credit is specified. Not everyone will agree with my definitions. You're welcome to contact me to make suggestions or request changes.

Adult
Refers to an image style that is primarily created for, or oriented toward, sexual stimulation by depicting actual or implied sexual behavior. It can also refer to an image style that includes blood, gore, and/or apparent violence.
Advertising
A Commercial image specifically styled for use in advertising.
Art
This is a very general term that broadly means creating images for artistic expression.
Artistic Nude
A type of photo in which a model appears to be nude or partially nude, where the intent of the image is artistic expression (as opposed to marketing, viewer arousal, etc.). Not exclusive of other photo types (e.g., a photo could be artistically erotic).
Artist's Model
This refers to a model who will pose for an artist -- which could mean a painter, a sculptor, etc. The model might intend for this to exclude photographic art, but an artistic photographer might think it does include photographs. Clarification of this term would be a good idea when initially contacting a model or photographer.
Casual
A photo in which a model is dressed in casual/informal attire and is placed in a casual setting. Not necessarily exclusive of other photo types (e.g., a photo could be Casual and Commercial).
Catalog
A Commercial photo intended for use in a paper or online catalog.
Catwalk
See the Runway entry.
Commercial
A photo primarily intended for commercial (i.e., business) purposes. See the Catalog and Advertising entries for examples.
Comp Card
This is a promotional card for a model, which shows the model's very best photos and basic statistics. A typical design would include one side that displays the model's best Headshot and name, and the reverse side showing a few more photos in different styles along with measurements, eye/hair color, etc.
Concealed Nude
A photo in which a model is fully or partially nude to the photographer without showing that nudity to the camera, such as in the common “hands/arms over nipples” poses.
Copyright License
This is a legal document from the owner of a copyright which allows (licenses) another party to use the copyright-protected work, in a manner described in the document. In this context, this normally means a document the photographer gives to the model allowing the model to use the photos that the photographer took of the model.
Erotic Nude
A photo in which a model appears to be nude or partially nude, where the intent of the image is to express eroticism, i.e., sexuality (as opposed to marketing, etc.). Not exclusive of other photo types (e.g., a photo could be artistically erotic).
Fashion
This is a style of photo that focuses attention on a model's clothing and/or accessories. To see examples, skim through a fashion magazine.
Glamour
A definition I have seen in many places is, in essence, a photo that focuses attention on the model rather than the model's surroundings, attire, etc. May include full or partial nudity, but nudity is not always an element of glamour.
Headshot
A photo consisting of the model's head, either with shoulders or close enough to not show the entire head (i.e., just part of the model's face).
Implied Nude
A photo in which a model appears to be, but may not actually be, fully or partially nude. An example would be a photo of a female model showing her from her head down to the small of her back, with no apparent clothing because her bikini top strings are concealed by her hair.
Lingerie
A photo in which the model is wearing lingerie, which — at its most general definition — can mean any undergarment not normally visible in public. Often this implies sexier attire than "grandma underwear!"
Model Release
A legal document signed by the model (or the model's parent/guardian if the model is a minor) which allows the photos of the model to be used as described in the document.
Parts
This refers to modeling for the purpose of creating photos of body parts (e.g., hands, feet, eyes, etc.), rather than a photo in which the model is more identifiable.
Petite
This refers to a model who is physically smaller than the range for a "typical" model, especially a typical runway model.
Photographer Release
As I see it, this is more appropriately termed a Copyright License, since it is a document regarding copyrights, not photographers. See the Copyright License entry for more info.
Photoshop
Technically, this is the name of very popular image editing software from Adobe. As a sign of just how popular that software is, many people mis-use this trademark as a verb to mean "digital editing" and, in that usage, it is often shortened to just "PS" which, for users of other software, gives rise to silly statements like "I just PS'ed the acne away in Paint Shop Pro" (another image editing program). Using "Photoshop" to mean "digital editing" is a pet peeve of mine, I will admit.
Plus
This refers to a model who is physically larger than the range for a "typical" model.
Print
This term has varying meanings. It can be used to distinguish between online (Internet) and offline (paper) publications. It is also sometimes used as a synonym for Fashion, or for Commercial. See those entries for more information.
Release
A legal document that allows a photo to be used. See Model Release, Photographer Release (or Copyright License).
Runway
This refers to modeling live on a runway, which is a platform extending into the audience to provide viewers a 360-degree view of the model and his/her clothing and accessories. Can also refer to photos of a model on a runway.
Spokesmodel
This is in reference to a model acting as, or appearing with, a spokesperson for a product, such as at a trade show, and often in a live venue rather than in a recorded medium (although see the Video entry).
Stage
In terms of modeling and not acting, this refers to modeling live on a stage, similar to a runway.
Stock
This refers to a photo, or a set of photos, that can be licensed to a wide variety users, normally for a fee which is often based on how the image will be used. A single photo in a stock library could be used for a postcard, a magazine advertisement, a calendar, and a Web site, with each licensee potentially paying different amounts accordingly.
Swimsuit / Swimwear
A photo in which the model is wearing garments generally associated with swimming and/or beach activities.
Testing
A photo shoot in which a photographer is testing some aspect of his/her work, which could be new equipment, a new model, a different lighting concept, etc. Not to be confused with TFP because testing refers to why a shoot is done, and TFP is a compensation agreement. However, a testing shoot may also be done under a TFP agreement.
TFCD
This is a variation on TFP, where "CD" refers to a CD-ROM of the photos from a photo shoot. See TFP for more info.
TFP
Time For Prints -- an agreement between the model and the photographer to do a photo shoot without paying each other monetarily. The idea is that the model "pays" the photographer with his/her time spent on the shoot, and the photographer "pays" the model with prints. Can also be used to refer to similar arrangements with other non-monetary compensation; for example, this general term can be used in place of the more-specific TFCD.
Topless
A photo in which a female model is, or appears to be, nude from the waist up. May or may not imply visibility of nipples.
Video
This refers to modeling for video/motion pictures rather than still photos. Depending on the market and the context, it may imply Adult videos, but this is certainly not always the case.
Zed Card/Z Card
See the Comp Card entry.