Why Test Shoots Are Career Builders


Last week I wrote about the importance of the test shoot for the budding photographer, and even the established photographer. It’s a way of proving your talents and style, something new clients are always looking for. In this video, we focus on the importance of using the test shoot to build a solid team. When the paid client calls, you will need a group of talented peers who have experience working with each other. It’s vital for a successful production.

Everyone Gets a Voice

On a test shoot, the idea is for everyone to build their portfolios as mentioned earlier. The portfolios are used to impress clients and increase bookings for each artist on board. That’s why it’s such a big team effort and why it’s important to listen. 

With that said, everyone should have a voice in the creation of the images. Allow makeup to give their thoughts based on the boards you created. Allow hair and wardrobe styling to have the same voice, as long as it’s within the parameters of the photoshoot theme displayed on the mood board. They are the pros in their respective lanes, and their expertise can help raise the level for everyone. 

You Have the Final Vote

As the leader of the production, everyone should get a voice. You should take the time to empower every member and make sure they feel heard, but they are not the final vote! You have the final vote and if the project fails then you are to get the biggest blame. The photographer leads the entire shoot. Listen to every person, take their advice seriously, but every production needs one leader. There must be one voice leading the entire shoot. That is your job. 

Test Shoots Are Standard

If you think of test shoots as a playground, they’re actually quite fun. It’s a chance to work with a new crew, to visit an old crew, and create without a brand hovering over your head. It allows you to try new lenses, lights, and styles for your portfolio. 

You will continue to create work via test shoots for the duration of your career if you are lucky. Test shoots allow the artist to evolve, to gain the attention of a new circle of clients, to meet new collaborators, and to actually have fun. We forget to have fun! Embrace the test shoot.


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