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Glossary of Terms

By Russ Freeman, written 1363420823.

Below is an overview of terms you may encounter on this, and other related, web sites.

This glossary is based on, with permission, Iain Thomson's glossary from his web site.

Common acronyms and terms

  • PP - PurplePort!
  • WTWW - "Want to work with". One of the default lists on PurplePort.
  • NSFW - Not safe/suitable for work. On PP we prefer to be overly safe on what is work safe.
  • SFW - Safe/suitable for work.
  • Collaborate - work together, generally for free, to create images for your portfolio.
  • Syndicate - work together, generally for free, to sell those images and share in the revenue.
  • PP/Post Processing - Whether a film or digital image; The changes needed to make a finished image.
  • Edit/an edit - Used to describe the process a photo goes through before it's finished.
  • MUA - Common abbreviation for Make-up Artist.
  • Tog - Common abbreviation for Photographer. Many photographers don't like it.
  • Test/Testing - This is where you go along to a shoot, have some shots taken to see if you fit the brief for later paid work. Testing is not where you work for free. Consider a test shoot as practically the same as a traditional interview.
  • TFCD/trade/collaboration - Time for CD e.g. you give your time in return for a CD or digital copies of images from the shoot. The number of images you get should be agreed prior to the shoot. Be selective in your TFCD arrangements as there is no point in doing it unless the images are of some benefit to you. Also bear in mind good photographers are also very selective in their TFCD arrangements, so treat the opportunity to work on this basis with a good photographer as a lucky break rather than a divine right.
  • TFP - Time for prints. As above but you also receive prints.
  • TF or TF* - Same as TFP, TFCD, Collaboration.
  • Part-paid/part TF - Where you receive some payment and some images in compensation for your time.
  • Lads Mag/Middle Shelf - Refers to magazines such as MaximNutsLoadedFrontFHM etc as normally found in the middle shelf of your newsagents
  • Mens Mag/Top Shelf - Refers to adult magazines such as PenthouseHustlerMen Only commonly found on the top shelf of your newsagents.
  • G/G - Girl/girl this refers to a shoot involving two female models. This could involve various levels from fashion only to explicit adult. Always check what's required.
  • B/G - Boy/girl the same applies to this as to girl/girl check what levels are required. 

Read our article on TF/Collaboration expectations and agreements.

Modelling Levels

You will likely be asked "What are your levels?" even if you clearly state what they are on your portfolio.

The following is a basic guide to the terms used frequently in the UK, they are a guide only and by no means definitive and are only relevant to the UK, not Europe or the USA. The best thing to do is always to find out exactly what the photographer wants in simple terms so there are no misunderstandings. Don't be afraid of plain speaking and be prepared to state exactly what you will and will not do. 

Once the levels of a shoot are agreed no reputable photographer will ask you to exceed them during a shoot. Any request beyond what was agreed should be politely but firmly declined and if the photographer persists you are well within your rights to terminate the shoot.

  • Portrait - Simple as it sounds. Fully clothed portrait style shots.
  • Fashion - Generally fully clothed wearing particular outfits.
  • Glamour - This is the most difficult term to deal with as it covers virtually everything from lingerie to explicit adult nude levels. It is best to find out exactly what's required before committing to a "glamour" shoot.
  • Lingerie - Wearing lingerie or swimwear. If you do not do nude work be aware that some lingerie is see through, particularly under flash lighting. 
  • Implied Topless/Nude - This is where you are wearing clothes but where it just looks like you are topless or nude.
  • Concealed Topless/Nude - You may well be topless or nude but no nipples, male bits or lady bits are showing. Normally this is achieved by careful placement of items.
  • Topless - Breasts and nipples on show.
  • Artistic/Classic/Figure Nude/Nude - Full nude but no generally explicit poses. This could be in the artistic style with no provocative posing or any sexual implications or it could be suggestive glamour style. Best to find out before the shoot.
  • Adult - A generic term. Generally means explicit images in some way. It's best to confirm exactly what is wanted/required to avoid embarrassment later.
  • Playboy Nude - This is the middle ground between artistic and adult level nude. Playboy is the least explicit adult magazine. Difficult level to explain. Basically Playboy style means fairly artistic nudity, you may be asked to do open-leg poses, but not showing your "undercarriage" in detail. You will probably be standing, sitting legs apart or maybe side on or facing away from the camera rather than full on facing the camera with your legs behind your ears at 10 to 2 in the explicit adult style. This is still regarded as open-leg
  • Top Shelf Levels - This is the style found in magazines on the top shelf of your local newsagent and is a massive market in itself making up a large chunk of the glamour industry. For a model, it is a relatively quick and easy route to a good income because publishers are constantly looking for new faces but be aware once your images are out there in print or on the web, they are there permanently.
  • UK Magazine - This is an old term which referred to open leg posing of a style found in UK magazines which used to be less explicit than their US counterparts. This is no longer the case and most UK top shelf magazines now require the same levels as the US ones. For the purposes of this glossary, UK mag means wide open leg posing, genitals on display but not holding open or inserting anything.
  • US Magazine - Basically the "industry standard" level for most UK and US men's magazines. Involves open-leg posing with the genitals held open. There are no insertions or use of sex-toys etc at this level.
  • Continental - So called because at one time this level of posing could only be found in continental magazines. It involves the insertion of sex-toys or fingers or whatever in the genitals. This level is now found on the website versions of many top shelf mags in the UK and is basically "industry standard" for the US market and some fairly well known publications such as Penthouse and Hustler sometimes now go up to this level. 

    When someone offers you a "continental" level shoot please be aware it is unlikely they mean a trip to San Tropez.
  • Girl/Girl Artistic - Like artistic nude, nude - no explicit posing.
  • Boy/Girl Artistic - As above
  • Girl/Girl Soft - Be very careful if asked to do this and make sure you know what is required. Some may interpret this levels as the same as artistic, but "soft" girl/girl in magazine terms is an explicit level and involves just about everything short of actual penetration with toys etc. Just be clear on what's required.
  • Boy/Girl Soft As above.
  • Girl/Girl Hard - This level crosses the boundary between modelling and porn and if you wish to do this you would be well advised to take advice from people in the porn industry regarding health precautions, certifications etc.
  • Boy/Girl Hard - The same advice as above applies, but even more so!
  • Gonzo/POV - These are porn industry terms and included because as a model you will get plenty emails from people asking if you do gonzo or POV. Basically gonzo is where you interact with the photographer or videographer. ie you perform a sex act on him/her while he/she films you or vice versa. POV means "point of view" and is much the same and involves you performing a sex act on the person filming. This is forbidden on PurplePort. If someone offers this please report them! 

See also...