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"Modeling and Photography Definitions"

Fantastic definitions of the many muddled genres of photography and an excellent reference for communicating ideas between model/photographer.

"For the purposes of communications, these are basic definitions for the types of Modeling and Photography. Use these definitions as a starting point in your discussions; always clarify before any shoot exactly what each party expects.


Fashion: A style of photography used to sell clothing, accessories, jewelry, perfume/cologne, or beauty products. The photograph usually desires to invoke an emotional response from the viewer regarding the product. The actual product may or may not be in the photograph. Generally, “Fashion” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Runway: The modeling of clothing or accessories usually along a catwalk in front of an audience. Photography may be taken, but it is usually secondary to the presentation to the audience. Most runway modeling requires very specific physical characteristics and age ranges for both male and female models. Generally, “Runway” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Sport/Fitness: Commercial modeling of sportswear and related products. Models usually must be physically fit and may require a bodybuilder physique. Generally, “Sport/Fitness” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Casual: A category not recognized in mainstream modeling and unique to Internet model photography. The style usually refers to a style similar to “senior portrait” photography and the model is usually dressed in casual, off-the-rack clothing. Generally, “Casual” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Swim Suit: The model is in swimwear, sometimes shot in a fashion style, but usually in a glamour style. While the model may be implied or partially nude in some swimwear photography. Generally, “SwimSuit” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Print/Editorial: Print photography is usually defined as an advertising photograph used in print media (magazine, billboards, brochures, etc.) Editorial photography either tells a story alone, or is used to illustrate a story or article. Editorial photographs are most often found in magazines. In either case, the model(s) is rarely the subject. The actual subject may or may not be in the photograph. Generally, “Print / Editorial” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Hair/Makeup: Sometimes called beauty photography, the model has his/her hair and/or makeup done in a specific style to sell a product, service, or style. Generally, “Hair / Makeup” will always mean clothed and implied nude.

Parts Modeling: Only a specific part of the model (hand, foot, etc.) is used, usually demonstrating a product in a commercial advertisement. Generally, “Parts Modeling” will always mean clothed and implied nude.


Lingerie: The model is posed in lingerie, possibly in a fashion sense, but more likely as a glamour shot. Nudity may be required depending on the specific lingerie being used, and how opaque it is. Generally, “Lingerie” will always mean semi to full nude.

Glamour: This is a very broad style of modeling which can refer to the black and white Hollywood portrait style of the 1930s-40s, to more risqué styles like what can be found in FHM, Maxim, or Playboy style magazines. Implied, partial, or full nudity may be required. Generally, “Glamour” will always mean semi to full nude.

Implied Nudity: The model may or may not be nude on the set. The photography suggests that s/he is nude without showing any female breasts, buttocks, or pubic area, in the finished work. Generally, “Implied Nudity” will always mean semi to full nude.

Partial Nudity: The pubic area of the model is not shown, but the buttocks and female breasts may be shown. Generally, “Partial Nudity” will always mean semi to full nude.

Full nudity: The full body, including the pubic area, of the model may be shown. It usually does not include the inner labia of the female model or turgid penis of the male model unless “Adult Nude” or “Adult Performer” is specified. Generally, “Full Nudity” will always mean full nude is required.

Artist Model: A model that poses for an artist (painter, sculptor, etc.) to create a drawing, painting, sculpture, or other work of art, such as in a life casting. While not always required, the model is often nude. The model must usually hold a pose for a long period of time. Generally, “Artist Model” will always mean full nude is required.

Artistic Nude: This category can encompass nude fashion photography, figure photography and on the model’s nude form, and bold or unusual lighting is often used. In figure photography the model’s identity may or may not be revealed. Non-figure artistic nude photography is shot with a theme involving something other than the sexuality of the model. Generally, “Artist Nude” will always mean full nude is required.

Nude: This is defined as glamour nude or “Playboy” style nudity where the sexual desirability of the model is emphasized by posing her nude without any overt sexual act being shown. Generally, “Nude” will always mean full nude is required.

Erotic Nude: Fetish photography or nude photography where sexual acts are heavily implied but usually not explicitly shown. Could include showing inner labia of the female model or penis of the male model. It may often be used to describe “Adult Nude” work done by established fine art photographers that might otherwise be label pornographic. Generally, “Erotic Nude” will always mean full nude is required..

Adult Nude: Still photography of a model or models overtly displaying sexual acts. The sexual acts might be simulated or real. Could include showing the inner labia of the female model or erect penis of the male model. Generally, “Adult Nude” will always mean full nude and beyond are required.

Adult Performer: Motion picture/video/live performance of a model or models overtly displaying sexual acts. The sexual acts might be simulated or real. Could include showing inner labia of the female model or erect penis of the male model. Generally, “Adult Performer” will always mean full nude and beyond are required.”

Clark, Robert. “Modeling and Photography Definitions.” Art Si Magazine. ArtSiMag, 12 08 2010. Web. 27 Jun 2012.

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