Bringing you another blog post today - this time for my fellow makeup artists! Time for print, test shooting, testing, prints for time - it all means one thing. An entire team coming together creatively with no renumeration for portfolio purpose. That means that yes, the images can be used to promote your business and skill, but NOT for commercial gain. Time for print is a sticky subject nowadays, because a lot of brands have cottoned on that potentially they can get a team to work for free and use those images for commercial gain. Its also used oftentimes for a means to get makeup artists to work for free. So today I thought I would offer some helpful tips I have picked up about TFP and how you can get the best out of your time if testing!
1) Ask Questions
In my early career, I said yes to EVERYTHING. I wanted to test as much as possible because I was taught that it would lead to paid work. Let me tell you, NONE of that earlier work led to paid work and I barely could use any of the content. Its important to ask questions, and establish whether the work you will be doing fits your portfolio and excites you. Ask yourself, do you WANT to do this? Is the photographer/model credible? Do you like their work? Is this test shoot going to teach you anything, allow you to be creative? You are investing your time and kit, and asking simple questions can really establish whether it will be a waste of your time.
One of my first test shoots
2) Look at the team
I have wasted many many hours doing test shoots for work that I just couldn't use. I used to have a studio in my spare room and really wanted to shoot beauty. When I posted for photographers, I quickly learnt that not everyone can shoot beauty, and it turned out to be a waste of not only my time, but the models too and their modelling agency. It's important that if you are organising a test shoot, to really examine the team and ask questions about whether it is in their capability. Test shoots are a great chance to learn for everyone involved, but it's good that everyone be up front about their skills.
As a makeup artist, you WILL be approached by models, photographers, just about everyone asking to test. When approached, ask for a mood board, ask the usage and make sure its not a brand or company looking to get free work. I was once approached for a "test" shoot for a hat company, but I quickly learnt when I was there, it wasn't a test at all. The photographer proceeded to demand certain looks and I had very little creative input. Test shoots are COLLABORATIVE, that means YOU get a say in the look, the mood board. If demands are being made, you should be paid.
Test Shoot with Bhav Sonigra - now one of my favourite photographers to work with.
4) Arrange your own tests
If there's a concept you want to do, don't be afraid to arrange your own tests. Create a mood board, reach out to your favourite photographers and models and see if they are testing, or put your concept on social media and see what happens. It's pretty scary at first, but its likely you'll find several photographers and models wanting to test the same concept.
Test shoot with Richard Wakefield.
5) Shoot what you want to book
The single most important thing I learnt testing, is to shoot what you want to book. If you want to shoot magazine editorials, create and take part in these tests. If you dislike fashion or portraits avoid shooting these. Be particular where you put your time and curate your content. If you're looking to get agency signed, scour their website and see what they like their artists to be shooting, then curate it. Eventually you'll have an amazing body of work that you can submit to them!
I hope this was helpful if you are thinking of test shooting or getting frustrated with TFP. Just remember, do what excites you is the main thing. If a concept gets your heart happy, then go for it. Every experience is a learning one. Just ask questions, make sure its definitely not a project that should be paying you and you're good to go!