Modelling Levels

We get asked a lot of questions about modelling levels in our work so the following notes may help make things clearer. These notes are a guide only, they are not a substitute for plain speaking between model and photographer.


  • 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 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 clarify before the shoot.
  • Adult/Erotic Nude – A generic term. Generally means explicit images in some way. This can involve open leg posing with the genitals held open to the insertion of fingers or sex toys. It’s best to confirm exactly what is wanted/required to avoid embarrassment later.
  • Girl/Girl Artistic – Like artistic nude, nude – no explicit posing.
  • Boy/Girl Artistic – As above
  • Girl/Girl Soft – Some may interpret this level 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 a model wishes to  do this they 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 are included simply because models will always get plenty of emails from people asking them if they do gonzo or POV. Basically gonzo is where the model interacts with the photographer or videographer. ie they perform a sex act on him/her while he/she films them or vice versa. POV means “point of view” and is much the same thing and involves the model performing a sex act on the person filming.

Finally, remember there is absolutely no substitute for plain speaking, if you are unsure of anything, ask.