Organising Your First Photoshoot: What You Need To Know. Part 2.

When I started writing this post I never realised how much information I
felt I needed to share, but when I finished and saw that my post looked
more like a book than like a blog post I decided to divide it in
several parts. In case you landed here directly, this is the part two.

Following up from my previous post, here are a few more concepts that I needed to learn before organising my first photoshoot:

Test shoot: a test shoot is basically a shoot where all the
creatives involved are offering their times to practice a new technique
or to explore a new concept. It could be organised by a photographer
like me who wants to create photos for their portfolio, or by a makeup
artist who wants to try applying makeup on different skin tones, or by a
hair stylist who wants to practice their skills or even by a model who
wants to have more confidence in front of a camera and a crew.

Depending on the type of Test shoot, there are:

Paid Tests: someone
hires the rest of the crew for the test. It is crucial that if there is
at least one creative not getting paid in the crew that said person
knows if someone else is getting paid and why they are asked to do it
without pay. It would be unfair that I went to a test shoot thinking
everyone else is in the same situation that I am in and later on realise
that someone was getting paid while the organiser was taking advantage
of me. In some cases, a paid test means that only expenses are being
covered (travel, food, materials). This needs to be clarifyed in any
communication prior to the shoot.

Unpaid Tests: unpaid
does not mean for free. And this is a really important concept to
understand. An unpaid test is when someone organises a test shoot and
none of the people involved are paid. But not being paid in money does
not make your attendance to the shoot for free. Everyone’s time is
money, so you are working on a shoot where everyone’s precious time is
being invested. Everyone’s materials have a cost, so you are working on a
shoot where everyone is investing money on the materials used
(equipment, makeup, hair products, clothes). And most importantly,
everyone’s reputation is at stake, so you are working on a shoot where
the rest of the creatives are judging you as a collaborator and as a
creative and in the future, if they like you, they might end up
recommending you for a job. So in the end, you might not end up getting
paid in money, but you are getting paid in experience, you are getting
paid in getting the best that other fellow creatives can offer (images,
makeup, hair, clothes, models, assisting) and you are getting paid on
establishing a reputation. So what’s free about unpaid tests?

TF / TFP / Time For Prints:
this type of test shoot specifically suggests that everyone working on
the shoot will give their time in return of receiving images at the end.
The number of images, their type (colour, monochrome), their mood,
every detail has to be agreed before the shoot starts, including the
date when the images will be delivered to everyone involved.

So, after having all those concepts clear, I was ready to look for creatives to collaborate with and post my casting call for my very first shoot. Next week: part 3 on how to write a catchy casting call.

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