Even at this stage of my career I want to “test” new ideas or try new approaches to old ideas or just flat out want to work on a personal shot for my portfolio. Depending on the scope of the project that I give myself I will assemble the same team that I would if I was working on a client assignment.
I will often reach out to TEAM RK and tell them all about the project and see if they are ready, willing and able despite the criteria to get it done for zero budget. Most likely because they are all talented artists they may not all be available at the same time, I can tweak the team with some untested talent or someone who I have always wanted to work with but never had the chance till now.
I gave everyone the same production information including what might be in the project for them, images, introductions, credit and reimbursed out of their pocket expenses. I never go into a personal test project expecting anyone to contribute anything more than their time. I also make certain to provide craft services and a good hot square meal at some point during the day and plenty of entertainment when possible.
With the onset talent, we work out what their specific needs are, sometimes image files or prints, maybe a motion media reel and of course always a good referral. For other departments, they might want prints or image files but most likely they are looking for referrals and new experiences for their resume. I make every effort to work with these team members the next time I have an assignment with a budget.
One lesson I learned when I was first starting out in the late 80’s doing test shoots in New York City, keep the production manageable and shoot for only a few hours. Focus on the product and your concept and don’t try and accommodate every idea. Make certain to communicate to everyone their roles and the projects goals.
Some of my favorite images were “test” images with my favorite Team RK members.