So what is a test shoot? Why as a stylist would you do a test shoot? These are questions that I had myself when I started working and thought they were worth answering. I will always reiterate that being a fashion stylist is a lot of work. I’m saying it again, but this time about the necessity of doing a test shoot.
Essentially, a test shoot is a collaboration of several artists (hair and makeup artists, photographers, etc.) working together for the sole purpose of developing a piece for your portfolio. Which is a really lovely way of saying that you aren’t getting paid. You may, in fact, have to fork out a little bit of cash to do the shoot at all, depending on the location and your wardrobe situation. I have damaged clothing on a test shoot and have to eat the cost. Which is never fun.
Despite the fact that your not getting paid to work a full day, test shoots are a really great way to network and build up a portfolio that reflects your own style. Since you aren’t being hired by anybody, you can take full control of the look and feel of the shoot. Have you had an idea floating around your brain for months? Find some like minded artists to work with and bring it to life—make your portfolio represent YOU.
Test shoots are also a good way to work out any kinks you might have in your technique. Anyone that has worked on a set knows the array of troubles that can arise at any given moment, and dealing with those trials is much less stressful when it’s not in front of the client. We all have our own way of doing things, and test shoots provide a space where you can learn and find the way you work best.
Test shoots may feel like a lot to take on and personally I think they are. Producing has it’s challenges.. at least for me. Everyone on your team has to be on point. The model needs to know how to move, photographer needs to know how to shoot it (lighting), hair and makeup needs to be there the whole time. The wardrobe can be great but if someone on your team is lacking hopefully it won’t come through in your photo’s. The goal should be to have a beautiful picture… period. If the wardrobe looks amazing but the rest of the picture doesn’t work together don’t put it in your book. The producer, creative director, art director, who ever will be hiring will be looking at it and they will look at the total picture, not how you styled the look. So make sure you and your team are all on the same page.
I have learned a lot from testing. It can be a lot of fun to see your vision come to life. I would just make sure you have a solid team. I have had to nag a photographer before for pictures which was not fun. Have any more questions about testing? Comment or email me