A BRIDAL TEST and my experience of Test shoots over the last 21 years

It´s true, we often have fun on shoots as models but sometimes the work can be hard, cold and long. So I thought instead of sharing another `this shoot is great`behind the scenes story, I would tell you about my worst test shoots compared to some of the best.  

I`m starting with a recent test shoot where surprisingly, I was actually paid a little bit. I have been modelling for over 21 years and feel I know the industry pretty well. Agencies usually like you to do test every now and then to update your portfolio and often refer you to a photographer they like. This means it´s often NOT for free and you sometimes don`t get a say or don`t know exactly what you will end up with.

Many times when I was younger I did test shoots because I had to work on building my book and most of the time I did shoots in Hamburg, while ´on stay´ there with my agency. I remember one time I decided to stay in Hamburg for about 2 weeks and ended up shooting 7 times in a row for free..and I think only 2 of those test shoots were actually good and were useful for my book. Also keep in mind you usually get your hair and make up done and it was just to much for my eyes, on the last shoot they kept watering, It looked like I was crying - It was an absolute disaster.

The others were literally a waste of time because the results were absolutely rubbish. This made me realise I had to properly research who was involved in each test to make sure I could predict good results. I have remained sceptical since I learned the hard way.

Whenever my agency want me to update my book and put me forward to a photographer I check out every detail, their work, the stylist and location etc. I also always ask for a mood-board to get at least and idea of what to expect from the shoot. If I don`t like someones work or the mood-board then I explain that it´s not worth it. What`s the point of doing a shoot when you don´t believe the pictures would help your portfolio? Especially if it will cost you money and time. I honestly think you have to really be careful when agreeing to test shoots as often it can be a new photographer who likes to get as much models as possible to build up experience. Of course everyone starts somewhere and a new face needs to build up a book and get experience.. But it can be really annoying sometimes when the pictures are disappointing yet all the ingredients for good results are there, just not the photographer.  

Just a few months back I was asked by my agent to do a shoot with one of their go to photographers from South Africa. I was quite skeptical as I had been following his work and wasn't a hundred percent sure how much I liked it. However, I needed a new headshot so I said okay to spending a few hundred pounds. Unfortunately, my suspicions were proved correct as the shoot was a disaster. The photographer shot four models in a day and just didn't care at all how we were treated. I ended up super annoyed, felt ripped off, disappointed and had to complain about him. I was really unsatisfied with the outcome because I knew that with proper time and attention we could have had great shots. Anyway, from now on I only consider shooting with photographers which actually approach me, like Brian Rolfe, who approached me and was super keen to shoot me and our shots are some of my all time favourites.

Soon I`ll be doing another test with him and can`t wait to share what we are planning with you. I've discovered I love taking a role in test shoots; putting a mood-board together and making sure I'm on the same page with the whole team. That`s one of the reasons why I love our blog so much because we can organise the whole shoot ourselves and find other talented people from the industry to collaborate with (often involving our guest blogger too). This always gives us a great opportunity to show what we can create as a team. We are currently working on a series of new shoots and a fashion film at the moment with our April guest blogger, so stay tuned here and don't forget to follow our stories on Instagram in the next few weeks. 

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BEFORE AND AFTER AND IN BETWEEN BREAKS

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HERE ARE SOME FUNNY FACES OF ME DURING TEST SHOOTS

WHAT AM I DOING HERE?!

SOME OF MY FAVS 

When I was 17 yrs.

When I was 17 yrs.

By Stefan Hauck

By Stefan Hauck

By Dean Martin Dale I got in touch with him through Instagram 

By Dean Martin Dale I got in touch with him through Instagram 

By Daniele Roche, I was 17 years old and my hair got ruined on a Hair job...so I had to update my book

By Daniele Roche, I was 17 years old and my hair got ruined on a Hair job...so I had to update my book

ALL TIME FAVOURITE

...And this can happen when you are on holidays and your Boyfriend is good with cameras ;) 

THE BADIES!

What the hell!? I was literally wearing a top made of hair?! These have never been retouched as the photographer absolutely hated them! What a surprise. 

What the hell!? I was literally wearing a top made of hair?! These have never been retouched as the photographer absolutely hated them! What a surprise. 

Holy Moly, really Annabell? No comment..somewhere in a bar in Hamburg, Germany.

Holy Moly, really Annabell? No comment..somewhere in a bar in Hamburg, Germany.

SCREAM IF YOU CAN!

Shocking Eyebrows, I think they painted over my real eyebrows and then retouched them in ;) haha. It´s really funny as the photographer of this image is now one of the best Nature and Documentary photographers in the world and works for National Geographic. He is also good friends with the Dalai Lama. Beauty photography didn't really work out for him obviously but hey, I can see his love for nature and insects in this picture ;). 

I call it the up side down pineapple creation....

Not sure what to say about this image below, it was clearly a test for the photographer and the hair artist who put tons of fake hair on my head - as you can see. It just reminds me of a pineapple and is just way to dark to could have ever made it into my book. It is not a super bad picture as I like the idea, I've got a hole series of crazy hairstyles from this shoot but I thought this one is the best..haha ;) 

Hope you enjoyed this post and trip down memory lane as much as I did ;)

xx Annabell 

P.S.: I`m very happy to give advice to anyone with questions about the model industry :)