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Common Terms You Must Know as an Aspiring Model

If you are considering applying for modeling jobs, then it is a must for you to know basic terms and phrases that are used in everyday conversations with others. Learning the media industry jargon would be a wonderful idea to help you understand the nature of the industry. Whether you are going to meet up with a client or an agency, it is important to prevent the wrong impression of you being a charlatan. This will only make you look like you really are clueless. Thus, proper research ahead of time is needed.

If ever you find it hard to comprehend what they are saying, do not hesitate to ask for an explanation. Your query would be very much appreciated rather than trying to impress them by being a know-it-all. Here is a list of the most common terms used in the modeling industry:


An agency is essentially a company that hires models. They supervise and look for available gigs for their models. The money they get once their models are working is called commission. It is usually 20 percent of the model’s rate and 20 percent of the client.


A person who is in charge of marketing the talents like models and actors is called an agent. Normally, models do not require the help of agents, but they can deal with an agency so the models can be submitted for acting and modeling work.


An audition is closely related to casting. Auditions are career opportunities for actors and models to display their talents and skills to various clients. An audition is held for several reasons. Some of these are for films, commercials, television shows, and theatrical performances. You have to prepare a piece or monologue if you are planning to join an audition. But most of the time, you will be asked to perform a cold read.


Another term for a buyout is additional bonus. A buyout will be handed out if a commercial or advertisement that is done for local distribution is chosen for national display. Often times, models and actors are given less salary for the actual job but can receive a bigger buyout if the advertisement they starred in goes national.

Buyouts are most commonly applied for infant or tot modeling. The company employs the help of 4 or 5 toddlers with a rate of $50–$75 per shoot. The child who ends up getting published in the finished product gets a buyout.


A callback is a follow-up audition of some sort. When a client sees that you have the potential, they will contact you and ask you to do more auditions. However, only a few people will be called for this kind of audition. Callbacks are a positive sign that the clients and directors appreciated your skills.


Clients are people or a company that requires models and actors to pose for their advertisements or commercials.

Cold Read

Doing a cold read is reading aloud a given piece or script for an audition with little to no rehearsals at all.

Comp Card

Comp cards act like business cards for models. It contains headshots on the front and four pictures at the back most of the time. Along with the model’s photos, it also contains information about their statistics.


A headshot is a photo that displays the facial characteristics of a model but can sometimes include the shoulders.


A book compilation or the collection of photos of a model is called a portfolio. It is basically utilized to market the model herself. The pictures in a portfolio portrays the ability of a model to show various facial expressions.

Venturing into the modeling industry can be quite difficult for beginners. Acquiring the knowledge on how to properly communicate with the people in the business is an essential part. One must also study the basics of modeling and start from scratch before getting the chance to work for better modeling jobs.

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