Test Photo Shoots

…and why they are important

Escaping Darkness. ©Alina Oswald.

In this post, I’d like to talk about test photo shoots. Why are they important and why, as photographers, should we give them a try?

What are test photo shoots?

Test photo shoots allow photographers to try out ideas, test gear, experiment with props, lighting, and much, much more.

If you don’t have the budget, keep it simple. Start small. It will inspire you, even more, to think outside the box and make it happen with whatever gear, props, subjects, etc. you have available.

If you have a budget to cover place (rent a studio, for example), models, even makeup and hair artists, travel, and gear (that you might or might not rent, for example), and so on, then you can have elaborated and complex test shoots.

Simple or complex, start with deciding your goal for your test shoot. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to test or try out?

While I’ve done many test shoots over the years, mostly photographing people, here’s a BTS shot of my setup for a more recent test shoot, in preparation for teaching one of my photography classes:

Table-top studio with several seamless backdrops and two lights. It folds into a flat and easy-to-carry soft case.

I ended up buying a few props and a portable mini photo studio to use in the classroom when teaching my students about lighting, and hopefully to get them to create make-believe visual stories. Hence, the portable table-top studio (nothing fancy at all, because I had my own budget and space constraints), an action-figure-like model with removable hands and snap-on tiny props, a few gels, and also Mylar sheets (to create the illusion of ‘reflections’ and hopefully give an already robot-looking subject an even more futuristic, sci-fi look.

[read more about bts (behind-the-scenes) photography here]

Here’re two of the images I came up with:

Shadow Warrior. ©Alina Oswald.

Note: coming up with interesting and intriguing titles for your images generates interest in the visual story and helps enhance the mood already evoked in that story.

Chatty Shadows. Experimental photography. #shotoniphone

Can you learn from test photo shoots?

Absolutely! They don’t only help you learn but also inspire you to stay creative and try out your creative ideas. They also push you to keep photographing, to keep practicing, using, and improving your skills as a photographer.

Photographer at Work. Pano. B&W rendering. ©Alina Oswald.
Photographer at Work. Pano. B&W rendering. ©Alina Oswald.

Thank you for stopping by,

Alina Oswald

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.