Become a model – write to photographers and organize test shootings

Today I want to explain to you how to get good photo material as a model. As a model agent, I get a lot of questions. Let’s start with the basics: What is a test shoot? Test shoots are non-paid photo shoots. In Germany test shootings are also called TFP (time for print). However, the term is used more in the amateur sector, internationally you do tests. What does that mean? Both photographer, as well as make-up artist and model work without remuneration, in order to be able to use the photo shoots for the own book. Here, photographers and models can take shots that are still missing in their own portfolio. With new photos, you win new customers. You want to join one of the top model agencies? Order my book on Amazon!

Editorial photo © kiuikson –



Why are test shoots with photographers so important for models?

Test shoots are essential for New Faces as they give you the first professional footage for the model. If a model has no footage, then it can not be booked and does not increase its market value. Your Sedcard fills itself gradually with good and above all varied photographs. There are already small tips that can help you. Two particularly important areas we now look at more closely. First, it is very important for you to convince photographers to shoot with you. As with model agencies, they also get many requests. If you show commitment and think about your test shoot beforehand, your chances of getting good photographers for your model portfolio will increase. On the other hand, as a new face, you will definitely be excited before your first test shoots. In the beginning, you don’t really know what to do.

The A&O for good shootings: You have to convince the photographer

To get new test shoots, you have to convince photographers of your idea first and foremost. Your goal must be to get better photographers with every shoot. Better photographers automatically means that you are in a bind. The portfolio of the photographer is already much fuller than yours, he or she surely already has first clients and of course a lot of experience. The higher your demand for new photo material becomes, the higher the quality of the photographer will be. Therefore you have to convince the photographer. A good preparation for the test will help you to do this.

  1. What kind of photos do I need? (Sport, Fashion, Lifestyle, Commercial, Family, …)
  2. What styling will I have on set? (Brands, colors, shapes, …)
  3. Which location is suitable in the vicinity? (Environment, light, permission, …)

Important: It’s not about you in the first place! You are approaching the photographer, which means you also have to make small sacrifices. Even if you have a visa on site, it will support a few ideas and do not make. A test shoot should always take into account everyone’s photo interests. All this, however, you can still discuss.

Email cover letter and moods for your test shooting

First you write a friendly, short and well structured email with moods to present your concept to the photographer. Your email contains all your thoughts in short form (style, styling, location). You also collect photos (moods) that correspond to your idea. If you know Photoshop, you can create a small collage yourself. You can also send your moods as an e-mail attachment. But make sure that you only attach a maximum of two or three pictures per theme (style, styling, location).

Now you start looking for good photographers in the area. It’s often enough to search for “photographer Berlin”, “photographer Munich”, etc. in search engines like Google. Of course, you can also look on Instagram or Facebook groups on the subject of modeling. It’s best to write each photographer individually, then you can also go into a sentence about why you would like to shoot with him or her. This makes the email much more personal.

  1. Short e-mail with a maximum of 100 words
  2. Start with a personal toast like “Dear Catherine, …”
  3. Describe your concept, the styling, the location
  4. Explain why you chose her or him.
  5. Search the web for moods that show the photographer, for orientation, your thoughts in photos
  6. Send max 3 photos per topic in the attachment
  7. Send the email individually to each photographer (no CC or BCC)

Why is this so important? Many models only think about themselves when looking for a photographer. Every good photographer won’t answer you to a “loveless” email. But if you show that you have studied his or her work and also have a clear concept of the shoot, the chance that you will get a positive response from the photographer increases!

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