FACTSHEET: Modelling Levels

DSC_0722-Edit-EditWhat are yours?

When approached with work you may be asked what your ‘levels’ are. What this basically means is, ‘what are you prepared to do?’

Here is a basic guide to some of the most common terms used in the modelling industry in the UK, USA and Europe. From the outset, it is best practice to find out exactly what the photographer or artist wants and expects from you. Make sure it is very clearly stated, so that you can avoid embarrassing situations and misunderstandings. Never be afraid to speak plainly about what you are prepared or not prepared to do within the photo-shoot or session.

Photographers should state exactly what they will be doing or not doing during the shoot. They should be clear and honest with the model as to their expectations and requirements. If faced with a situation whereby the photographer is not prepared to discuss their detailed requirements, prevaricates or is deliberately not clear, then do not work with him or her.

Once your levels no reputable photographer or artist should ask you to exceed them. You may experience a slight ‘level pushing’ but be firm and politely refuse. If the photographer does not get the message, terminate the shoot.  It is always wise to take somebody with you that also knows your levels and who is willing to help you if you need them to speak on your behalf.

Here is a list of some of the terms used:

Portrait – Fully clothed portrait-style shots.

Fashion – Generally fully clothed, wearing particular outfits. These should be age appropriate but some outfits can be revealing. Check where possible what you will be wearing and that you are comfortable.

Lingerie and Swimwear You need to be aware that some lingerie is see-through or very revealing. This type of work must be age appropriate.

Exchange of work or Trade for (TF) – This is where the model gives her or his time, resources and effort, and the photographer does the same. No money changes hands but both benefit from each other’s skills and talents.

The following styles of photography are for over 18’s only.  If you are younger and asked to do this type of modelling, then this is deemed as inappropriate behaviour and you need to terminate the shoot immediately and report the photographer.

Glamour – This covers virtually modelling everything from lingerie to explicit adult nude levels – this is for over 18’s only

Implied topless or nude – You may be topless or nude but nothing on show. For instance props or products placed strategically.

Topless – You would be naked from the waist upwards.


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