Modelling Levels

Before you embark on a career as a model it’s important that you understand the different categories of work you may be asked to take part in.

These are generally known as ‘levels’.

Please be aware that the section below is a guide only, and you should seek definative definitions from each photographer you may work with during the pre shoot comunications, or ‘pre comms’ as it is somtimes refered to.

Click on a tab, scroll to the bottom to find out more about the category.

When a model is on set during a fashioin shoot they will normally be wearing full clothing, which is usually supplied by the sponser of the shoot.

Often wearing various outfits during a photoshoot which may take place on location or in a studio.

Often wearing clothing such as sports bra’s, lycra etc.

Posing with fitness equipment, maybe weights.

A good physique is normally required for this line of modeling.

Short for Costume Play, models wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character, idea or theme.

Short for Editorial Fashion Model, it often means the model has a distinct good look.

Editorial photoshoots often accompany articles in magazines, to reinforce the text of the article.

Models will normally pose in clothes or outfits they are trying to sell and this may be work wear, evening wear and high street fashion. Because the photos will be aimed at the catalogues or products target audience, there isn’t a required “look” for catalogue work

Commercial models are often used advertise products, and to convey a particular image about a product. Because the advertisement will have to appeal to its target audience, there are no set physical requirements

Whether on stage or on film

In lifestyle modelling models are often used to show a ‘moment in time’, a lifestyle, or to advertise a company or idea rather than a product.

The physical requirements of the model can vary greatly, due to the enormity of the work style.

Photos are sometimes sold on stock websites.

The same image may be sold many times over to different people.

Stock photos often show models acting something out, such as holding a telephone or writing on a whiteboard.

Relatively self explanatory. This involves walking up and down the catwalk wearing a variety of outfits. A certain “look” is required for catwalk work, for example, minimum of 5ft 9ins tall symmetrical features, clear skin, defined jawline, so its not open to everyone

Often used by hair stylists to show off the latest styles.

Hair models usually fare better if they have longer hair.

Ensure you keep your hair in good condition by avoiding dyes and perms, and get it soft and shiny by using deep conditioners.

Similar to hair models, make up models are used by make-up artists to show case or experiment with new designs.

A well desgined bone structure, and symmetrical features are often a bonus for make-up models.

The model will wear lingerie or swimwear of some sort, the photo-shoot will often take place in a studio.

A good, well toned physique is normally a requirement for this area of modeling.

Please be aware that some lingerie may appear slightly see through under studio lights,  flash lighting.

Hands, feet, legs, and necklines – all common areas which feature within the body parts modeling level. If you do go into body parts modeling, its important you keep these parts of your body especially well looked after

Cheeky, fun shots aiming to be stuck on the inside of lockers everywhere.

The focus of glamour modeling is mainly on the model, and not the clothes she may, or may not be wearing. 

Glamour photos normally have a sexual theme to them and thus may go up to full nude, but its most commonly just topless or implied topless and the photo-shoots are primarily studio based but do occasionally go on location.


Gothic modelling often requires models to have pale skin, and long dark hair.

On the shoot the model will often wear long dark clothes, with leather boots.

This style of modelling shoots often take place on location, and a lot of the time yield great photos with a unique feel to them.

Fetish modeling is where a model will wear clothing or devices that augment his or her body in a fetish manner or in fetishistic situations.
Fetish modeling often involves bondage, body modification, fetish photography as well as sexual fantasy costuming, for example: nurses, maids, teachers

Now again if you have the right look for this genre and you go into it with your eyes wide open and are totally aware of what the client requires of you, it can be a very lucrative and exciting part of the industry. But it can not be stressed enough, do your home work on it first and make sure you have total understanding of your limitations and the photographer understands and accepts those limitations.

Fairly straight forward, this involves the model posing with breasts and nipples on show.
Implied topless is where the model will appear to be topless, but may be hiding their breasts behind a piece of fabric or an object

This is where you may be nude, but nothing will be shown to the camera.

This is where you will be nude, posed in an artistic way which will be not be explicit or provocative.

Girl-Girl may include posing together in a state of undress and may be posed provocatively, however there would be no sexual or intimate contact.

Boy-Girl may include posing together in a state of undress and may be posed provocatively, however there would be no sexual or intimate contact.

Boy-Boy may include posing together in a state of undress and may be posed provocatively, however there would be no sexual or intimate contact. 

The “Adult” category is one of the broadest genres within modelling, and thus its important you know your limits before considering this level.

This level starts at “UK/US Mag” which is commonly accepted to mean open leg posing at the minimum.

From there, it can escalate to insertion of toys / fingers into the genitals, and even sexual intercourse with other models.

Before engaging in hard levels, it is advisable that you to seek medical advice

Modelling Fees


Sadly there are a group of ladies with little or no modelling knowledge or experience who think they are able to command high fees.

Ladies, please be aware that in the real world, the more you know, the more you can do, the higher your ‘wages’ will be.

This is also true of the modelling industry, by the laws of economics you cannot expect to get a ‘lot if you give a little’. 

We all accept that everyone has to start from somewhere but fees asked for should be a reflection of your knowledge and know-how, if you have just started modelling it is unrealistic to expect to be paid the same as a model who has been modelling for a long time. 

Work rates can be a controversial subject within the industry.

It is commonly accepted that people new to the industry should offer, TFP – Time For Print until they attain a level of experience, have a diverse, full and up to date portfolio before they ask to be paid for work. 

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