What a Model Test is

And how to do it

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I’ve been asked a lot about this before and I’ve also noticed in social media that many people use it wrong.

What is a model test

A model test has the finality to offer a flattering but realistic image of the model. At the same time of having a variety of looks and attitudes to show her versatility.

To put it in other words, is the tool that the agency is going to use to sell her as a brand. We as photographers have a limited number of photographs to demonstrate all that she can offer. A part from her physical qualities, we would also show her skill to act and play different roles.

However, it is not only a promotional tool, but a intense training that will give her more experience. In most of the cases, it is the first time the model face a real production, and it would be ideal to break the ice before being in front of a real client.

What are the characteristics of a model test

It has to show the natural beauty of the model. But with this I don’t mean an extreme naturalness, but a look that strengthens her natural features without being noticed. Soft makeup and discrete clothes.

Agencies usually take its own totally natural pictures, often called «Polaroids» or «Polas».

Once achieved the natural beauty of our model, we can try a second look with more personality and different attitude in the model.

Finally, we can risk more with the makeup and outfit to get an stronger look. In my case, it is also time to introduce a more dramatic lighting.

It is also interesting to have in mind a look with the hair tied because clients will ask to see the face without problem.

The common thing is to prepare three looks to get a total of 5 photographs because is what the agency is going to need to start promoting the model. Since then, they will get to her further collaborations to complete her portfolio.

We should have in mind that the photoshoots in collaboration or the following jobs that she can get since then are not focused on obtaining the best or something different from the model, but they are motivated by other many reasons. From this projects the model will ideally get two or three good new pictures to add to the portfolio that will complement the existing test. Don’t forget that this new pictures are not substitute of the test, because they don’t have the requirements needed.

With this I mean that if you are an aspiring model, do not waste time trying to get a portfolio out of collaborations only, because in most of the cases, it’ll take double to achieve, what a good test in a good agency will.

Finally, it is responsibility of the photographer to show the strengths of the model and to teach how to hide her weaknesses. A image that shows an only weakness will be a bad image, and a bad image in a model’s portfolio will affect its success. From my own experience, I can say that spotting a weakness during a casting will mean mistrusting the model’s potential. So, models, be careful when choosing your photographer!

Example of model test.

This is the model test of Claudia Seguí. In this case you’ll notice more than three looks and many more pictures than I told you before. But the principles continue being the same and I wanted to show you more examples of how would be applied the previous guidelines.

Set 1.

Natural look. Natural attitude.

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Set 2.

Here we show more personality, in the look and in the attitude.

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Set 3.

Here we can risk more in the look and make the interpretation more extreme. Also is a good point to make lighting more dramatic.

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My message for photographers is to not forget what the main goalis in a model test shoot. It is no time for experimentation with estrange posses and extravagant accessories.

Claudia’s test is made in a simple way. There is not stylist, nor makeup artist or hairdresser. It is true that her natural beauty makes it easy, but I wanted to show you with this example that beauty things don’t have to be complicated, not always it is necessary a super-production to get a great result.

Hope you like it!

P.S. As always, please excuse any errors in my english! Feel free to correct anything you want through the comments.

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Love always,

Alba.

♥♥♥