What are test shoots?

Test shoots are designed to expand and build a model’s portfolio. The purpose of each shoot is to get compelling images that showcase your range and ability as a model, fill gaps in your portfolio, and speak to dream clients you’re trying to reach.

As a photographer, I've worked with both aspiring models and experienced professionals, so whatever your experience level is, I'll be able to help you look your best and get the content your portfolio needs. I’m happy to help you from the ground up with a strategy on how to structure the shoot so you get the most bang for your buck. I can also assist with detailed posing direction if you’re not as comfortable in front of the camera, or just sit back and capture you doing your thing with minor direction if you're more experienced.

In addition to working with models, I also have experience working with dancers, musicians, actors, and other creatives. You do not have to be currently signed with an agency in order to book a test shoot!

Rates for test shoots start at $500.

How It Works


We start building your shoot by identifying gaps in your portfolio and deciding what we want the shoot to look like. If you want to get booked for specific types of work, you need to have that work in your portfolio! For example, maybe you want to land a campaign with Nike or LuluLemon, but you don't have many activewear images in your book. Or maybe you want to work with hotels and need more resort and swim looks, or you want to shoot for beauty brands and need more makeup and skincare-focused images to appeal to them. If you're just starting out or need a bigger rehaul of your portfolio, we can also do a combination of different genres in one shoot so you get a wider variety.

My favorite way to communicate ideas and make sure we’re on the same page is to use mood boards and inspiration images. Mood boards help to dictate style, location, and the overall feel of the shoot. If you have specific images that capture the feel of what you're going for, send them to me so I can better visualize your idea!


Once the concept is finalized, I use that to build the shoot logistics like where the shoot will take place, what time of day or type of lighting will look best, how to do your hair and makeup, and what to wear for each look.

If you feel like you have the eye and the skills, you can style yourself, or we can hire a team to do wardrobe styling, makeup, and/or hair. When working with a team, I’ll also create a call sheet so everyone knows where to be when, what to bring, and other important details.


Time to create! Come with an open mind and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone and have fun. I am there to give you feedback and direction as needed, and to make you feel supported.


After the shoot, my job continues with culling the images, sending you a gallery of proofs so you can make your final choices, and then putting the finishing touches on those via retouching.

A lot of work goes into getting each image just right, including color correction, skin and hair retouching, cleaning up the background, etc. Retouching is a part of my artistic process, and as a general rule, I want things to look polished but not over-edited. High-definition cameras can make tiny details more apparent than they are in person, so I take a lot of time to make sure your images look professional, finished, and balanced. If I wouldn't include it in a painting or sketch drawing, it won't be in your photo!

Things To Consider

Stylist Vs. Self-Styling

Whether you’re just getting into the fashion industry or have been working in it for some time, clothing is key to a successful shoot.

The perk to adding a stylist to your session is that you have someone with an eye for what pieces will match best with your concept and look cohesive. A stylist will bring clothes that you may not think to buy for yourself or already have in your closet, and come equipped with tools to temporarily tailor the clothing to better fit your body shape. Keep in mind that this comes at a price - on average wardrobe styling costs an additional $150+ depending on how many looks you want to shoot.

If you’d like to style yourself, you are absolutely welcome to, but you’ll need to have a keen eye. You'll need to study the mood board I send you to find outfits that match the concept. Since most of us have a set daily style in our closets, the best way to style yourself is to buy something new, thrift, or borrow from friends. If you decide to style yourself, I'm happy to send you links to potential pieces to buy, and you can also send me photos of the outfits you’re planning so I can make suggestions if needed!

Hiring a Makeup Artist

For a lot of concepts, you’ll only need minimal, natural makeup and hair for your test shoot and can probably do it yourself. However, if you want everything to look extra put together or your desired concept is something more creative, we can add a professional makeup and/or hair artist. Rates vary by artist, but generally start around $275. For beauty tests, a makeup artist and light hair styling is included in your package rate.

Studio Vs. Outdoor Locations

Some concepts may be more suited to an indoor or studio location. Studios are rented hourly and pricing can vary depending on where they are located and how long your shoot is. If you’d like to shoot in a studio, I have several studio package options that include the rental fee in your session rate.

Generally speaking, outdoor locations are free of additional charge unless a permit is required to shoot there, or if it’s a unique, private location that needs to be rented.

Regardless of whether we’ll be shooting inside or outside, locations over an hour from where I'm based in Orange County may have additional travel fees. Locations within Orange County have no travel fees.


What is required to reserve a date?

A signed contract and 50% retainer fee are required for all bookings.

If I cancel my shoot, will I receive the retainer fee back?

If unforeseen events occur, you are welcome to reschedule within the amount of time designated in your contract, but the retainer fee is non-refundable if you decide to cancel altogether. This covers any loss in the form of lost bookings and work done before the actual session.

How long until I get the photos back?

Proofs are delivered within 2-3 weeks of the shoot date, and then final edits are delivered in another 2-3 weeks from when you make your selections.

Can I shoot both on location and in studio?

Absolutely, but there may be an additional fee and time required to move from location to location. We can figure out logistics and make any adjustments to your session at the time of booking!

Do you do headshots, digitals, individual portraits, commercial photography, or other types of photography?

Yes, I have experience in many fields of photography and would love to hear what you have in mind! If you’re looking to shoot boudoir, that is outside my purview, but I am happy to send recommendations for other photographers that specialize in that. As a general rule, I do not shoot the following: nudity or partial nudity, visibly braless or see-through outfits, lingerie, smoking or alcohol themes, etc.

Want to set up your test shoot?

Note: If you don’t receive a reply from me within a week of sending your inquiry, please check your spam folder as sometimes my messages get filtered out.

If you don’t see a reply there, feel free to DM me on Instagram @bynataliemichelle.