A simple analytical approach has been developed to model extrafocal radiation and monitor chamber backscatter for clinical photon beams. Model parameters for both the extrafocal source and monitor chamber backscatter are determined simultaneously using conventional measured data, i.e., in-air output factors for square and rectangular fields defined by the photon jaws. The model has been applied to 6 MV and 15 MV photon beams produced by a Varian Clinac 2300C/D accelerator. Contributions to the in-air output factor from the extrafocal radiation and monitor chamber backscatter, as predicted by the model, are in good agreement with the measurements. The model can be used to calculate the in-air output factors analytically, with an accuracy of 0.2% for symmetric or asymmetric rectangular fields defined by jaws when the calculation point is at the isocenter and 0.5% when the calculation point is at an extended SSD. For MLC-defined fields, with the jaws at the recommended positions, calculated in-air output factors agree with the measured data to within 0.3% at the isocenter and 0.7% at off-axis positions. The model has been incorporated into a Monte Carlo dose algorithm to calculate the absolute dose distributions in patients or phantoms. For three MLC-defined irregular fields (triangle shape, C-shape, and L-shape), the calculations agree with the measurements to about 1% even for points at off-axis positions. The model will be particularly useful for IMRT dose calculations because it accurately predicts beam output and penumbra dose.