When you’re new to test shooting, it can be intimidating to want to get things right. These shoots can be of huge benefit to both your portfolio and the model’s, and you want to be able to produce a product that works for everyone. I’ve put together a list of quick tips to a comfortable test shoot.
1. Get water bottles and light snacks.
Meeting the basic needs of hydration and hunger changes everything. Offer water and light snacks –– even if they’re not taken, the thought and care on a human level is still there. In terms of snacks, veto the cookies and chips for something a little lighter, like almonds and apple slices. These snacks are more energizing and easier to eat while you’re working –– plus, they’re good for you.
2. Ask the model what their favorite music is.
Ever tried to get work done, but there’s distracting noise or music in the background that you just can’t vibe to? Make sure your model isn’t feeling that way on your set. Ask what their favorite music is and set the mood to their rhythm and comfort zone.
3. Chat to warm things up.
Get to know the person in front of the lens, and let them get to know you a little bit in return. Just a little conversation here and there goes a long way, instead of jumping right into shooting cold. Talk about where they’re from, exchange social media handles; light and pleasant conversation will allow you both to open up and feel more comfortable.
4. Show the model reference photos of what you’re aiming for.
You wouldn’t want to start a job without knowing what you’re getting into, would you? Grant that same courtesy to your model. Provide a mood board or reference photos so they know the vibe you’re going for and can work to achieve the same visuals you are.
5. Don’t be afraid to give feedback.
Constructive feedback is essential to improvement, and that goes for models too. The keyword here is constructive. Give them a little look at what’s going on behind the camera as you’re shooting, and use specific explanations when trying to achieve something that you’re not quite getting. Often times, a test shoot will be a new face or a book that needs refreshing, so constructive feedback is essential to their professional growth as well.