The challenge of shooting creative editorial fashion tests in Central Florida - working with skilled and professional styling and modeling talent - remains almost a Herculean task. It is nearly impossible to find interested people, especially when there is no client or budget.
Using my own money to pay folks to test shoot seems absurd to me - so, that is an option that is not on the table.
The good old days of my South Beach studio phone ringing off the hook with various fashion friends always wanting to trade test seem long gone.
One vital element of the industry that appears missing in a smaller market like the Orlando area is how important it is for photographers, models, and stylists of all levels of skill and experience to continually trade-out test.
People here don't seem to realize you are not working for free when you test, but rather exchanging services of considerable value with those you choose to test with.
Professionals test, plain and simple...
It is all very aggravating, but I'll save the real rant for another blog post. :D
Now, the above being said, good things do happen to those who persevere - on occasion - even in a fashion-starved market like Central Florida.
Recently I was fortunate enough to connect with Orlando model Sarah Marie Pitzer, who not only has a great look, but also a great personality to match.
As we say in this business...she's a natural.
She needed new photos for her book. I needed new photos for my book. We met, hit it off right away, and most importantly, seemed to be on the same page when it came to ideas we wanted to try.
So, we set up a test shoot...
An added bonus was her background in dance - which is always a good skill for a model to have - and that made me pretty confident she could move well in front of a camera. It also had me hopeful she might be a good casting for a fashion rock music video I've been planning and would like to shoot in the months to come.
But, much more on that huge project soon.
One luxury with a trade-out fashion test is what's called a fitting. A fitting is exactly what it sounds like - a model tries on various wardrobe to see what fits and what doesn't. I call it a luxury because it's rare a model will want to put in the time and effort to meet separately to do this for a shoot or job that is not going to pay.
Obviously, you can simply bring clothes to the shoot itself and have the model try things on then for the first time to discover what works and what doesn't. That's normally the way it is done in Orlando.
But believe me, knowing ahead of time which outfits fit and how they look is a huge plus for both a photographer and a fashion stylist.
That's normally the way it's done in Miami...
As you can clearly see in the photos above, Sarah Marie - sans makeup, by the way -looks great in all three outfits, each one a slightly different look.
The silver gown obviously formal, the pretty black rose dress a bit more of a theme, and the Victoria's Secret Pink pajamas playfully sexy.
There were many more outfits and pieces we looked at, and Sarah's commitment to taking the time to go through and try everything on was much appreciated by me, and will pay dividends when we have the actual photo shoot.
And for that, you will just have to wait
Trust me, it will be worth it!
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All photos and original content ©Steven Paul Hlavac. All rights reserved.