The word “test” strikes fear into the heart of anyone who has ever survived the conventional schooling system. In the case of models, however, testing can be fun, fulfilling, and a great way to learn while building your book.
A photographer who asks a model to test is hoping to work on trade. By doing so, the photographer gives his/her services and images to the model to use in his/her book while the model gives his/her services for the photographer to use for self-promotion, too. Share and share, alike! A team willing to work together can create some eye-catching images that will give both the photographer and the model a leg-up on the competition.
Each time a photographer asks a model to test, they are investing in what the model has to offer in front of the camera. The photographer’s hope is to use at least ONE amazing image from their session to show their skill. Perhaps they are breaking into a new market. For example, if their portfolio is filled with still life or product shots, they may want to start shooting talent for advertisers. A paying client isn’t likely to hire a photographer who doesn’t have any people in their prior work!
Likewise, being in front of the camera is a great way for the talent to grow! Gaining confidence and comfort on the set is probably the biggest advantage to testing. Other benefits will include diversity in the model’s book, building new relationships, and learning their strengths and weaknesses in front of the camera to find things that will make them stronger as a talent in the future.
So don’t sweat it. You’re gonna have a lot of fun and there are no grades or report cards in the end!