Test shoots are generally the foundation of many advertisements a photographer will shoot. When approached by a large client you don’t want to waste their budget experimenting, you need to approach the job with a solid plan, otherwise someone may end up unhappy.
Recently makeup artist Theresa Nuth and I had the opportunity to test with Canadas very own Lise Watier for their new collection. To put this in better perspective this is a company thats revenue is $25-$50 million. That being said when testing you need to work your $0.00 budget experiment into something priceless. The test gives you several opportunities.
- Learn what feel and attitude best suits the brand. Dark and sinisterly sexual doesn’t fly with every one.
- Play with your lighting. Experienced or Novice it is good to take time with your lights and develop something that not only looks good, but makes the product look good.
- Creative direction! You want to throw makeup in the models mouth and have her give the camera a sparking purple smile? Lets see what happens.
- Resourcefulness. When you have no budget for a studio what are your options? Better figure it out quick!
- Timing. You did it once now, can you do it better the second time around and faster? An 8 hour day can fly by quickly
- Client specific color treatments. Without going to deep into post production, its good to figure how you will create the clients “look”.
- Turn around. Test yourself, can you get the final edit over to the client within a specific time period?
Tests can make or break how you handle a real job, I’m sure there’s nothing worse than looking unprepared when your being payed one years rent for a few photos.
Here are some images from the shoot.
Above is my personal favorite from this shoot, not necessarily because it fits the client better, but because it fits my taste as a photographer more.
Below are images i shot in hopes of keeping up with the brands clean mature look.
Below is a basic mock up of what the lighting was to achieve this look.
2 light set up, nice clean beauty.
So at the end of the day what did i learn? Well for this specific shoot i feel like i should have started with the darker backdrop. The makeup pops off of the skin much better when on the dark back ground rather than the white. Also model selection is important, I prefer to work with more experienced agency girls, but as this was last minute I ended up using a new face. Not to discredit the model at all, because at the end of the day she pulled it off, but when testing for potential clients its better to pull out all of the stops rather than leaving anything to chance.