I was complaining to a friend about how my test shoot was proving to be very stressful to put together.
For those that don’t know, a test shoot is a where photographic creatives come together on a
project simply for the benefit of their portfolios. Depending on what is needed for the shoot, costings come from
the Photographer unless it is another member of the team that is effectively leading the team.
My friend questioned if I still “needed to test at my level?”
He was referring to what one might call a certain level of success, shooting for
various brands and magazines. The question had me searching for a decent answer.
It caught me off guard. Why was I bothering to plan a shoot (on a Sunday),
where the cost were coming out of my own pocket as well as
searching on twitter for hair and make up while in a bar the night before!
Another point is that paid work comes in front of a test so understandable there can be last minute cancelations.
This time round I also had to contact the Bookers to have the models bring clothes as the Stylist couldn’t make it.
However, with all the stresses of putting it together, my reply to my friend (a Model) was that
“I WILL STILL TEST WHEN I GET A VOGUE COVER”.
What I meant is that outside of paid work, be it a headshot for an Actor or a campaign for
a fashion brand, there is always new ground to be broken. Testing in this industry is exactly what
the word means. Testing concepts, testing lighting, testing a new team and testing yourself.
Some of my best work has come out of test shoots. Some have gone on to be picked up by magazines.
Others have simply inspired and informed further work and investigation.
I see testing as an investment in my own abilities as a Photographer and my career.
I am allowed to be completely creative when not bound (to a degree) by briefs and budgets.
Personal projects do inform of commissions whether its a set design ideas or which model
1st up is 16 year old Ciara who has just been signed to Profile. It was her first ever shoot and it’s
been a while since I had a model so brand new to the mix. I approached these images is a very
technical manner. I didn’t have too much to play with so decided to go for a clean and fresh look. This would then
be followed by a more sexy look which more contrast in the lighting and hair back.
Ciara bought her own clothes and we went with the outfits that suited those moods the most.
Next up is 19 year old Kurt. Funnily enough I picked the retired heavy metal signer
because he looked like he should be in a band. Having only been signed to FM for a month
Much like in Ciara’s case, when testing it is important to get strong clear shots that the
Model/agency can use. It seems obvious but I approach it differently to if it is a job for a magazine
where I can afford top have more obscure angles or crazy make up.
I Chose Mark because I have never worked with this kind of look before. With D1, he is
perhaps the calmed model I have ever met. He brings great intensity to any photo.
Discovered by the Editor of Sheer Magazine, Cameron is new to the books at Models 1.
The energetic teen is fresh-faced and has great movement.
See more images from my shoot below. Bring on the next Test!