Testing means that you’re putting together a shoot with the intentions of creating work that you want to show on your website. You’re using your own money and time to collaborate with a crew to hopefully come out with an image or video you are excited to share. But here’s the kicker, it will cost you money and there’s a good chance you’ll walk away with images you won’t want to use in your portfolio.

When you’re starting out, it will be tempting to say yes to every photographer that is looking to collaborate. It’s important that you build your book and make connections, but it’s not always worth the time and effort it takes to test. The person you collaborate with either has to be a sure fire bet that you’re going to get an awesome image or that they get enough work that they’ll hire you in the future. If you’re not going to get one of those things, it’s not worth putting the cost of the clothing on your credit, risking that the clothing can’t be returned, and spending your valuable time on 3 days of work with nothing to show for it in the end. Make sure you know what you’re jumping into or else you’ll lose money, time and energy.