alexis - a test / Austin Portrait / Lifestyle Photographer / by Melanie Grizzel

Alexis is a model I photographed for some bumper material for Austin's own Dress Shop a few months ago. We kept in contact and we decided to do another test -  in this case, an interpretation of modern day Audrey Hepburn. Alexis is represented by Page Parkes in Houston and Webber Productions in Austin.

She is fairly new to the industry and is interested in building her portfolio. For those who don't know, when a model is getting started she'll go through a number of "tests." Ultimately, these will be the backbone of her commercial / high-fashion portfolio.  When a model goes on a go-see, her portfolio has to have a wide variety of looks from different photographers with different interpretations of what she can look like. That way, the model may already look the part that the new client is trying to achieve, thus putting her in a better position for an assignment. Testing is also a catalyst for stylists, designers, set designers and hair and make-up artists - everyone needs a portfolio. Teams work together to deliver their best work for everyone's portfolios. In this case, Jenna Hollerbach (stylist), and Erica Gray (make-up and hair) rocked out this test with Alexis.

My years in New York included LOTS of model testing.  I had a good friend from the Dallas Morning News who left to be a booking agent for Page Parkes in Dallas. Just months after I moved to New York, he moved as well, to work with Elite New York. Together, we tested gazillions of girls (and some boys).  Testing is usually free for all involved, but in a saturated market like New York when models are looking for a specific look, their agents will send them to a photographer who specializes in that look (in my case, lifestyle and portrait photography). So I would often work with models whose portfolios were swaying to high fashion a little too much, that way they were open for whatever might come their way.

I worked with all of the top agencies in New York for quite a while, but in later years I swayed away from the fashion world. The New York market is very specialized; there is no such thing as fashion models, real people, and food in the same portfolio, it's just not how it's done.  You really have to focus your portfolio tightly and so I had some tough decisions on which avenue to pursue. But if I had to choose my favorite, I'd choose real people. I developed a portfolio of natural, non-stylized portraits of real people. Our move to Austin a few years later, opened doors I never even imagined. It's not a specialized marketplace here and my portfolio can feature whatever excites me, so I can do it all again and I love it. Model tests are like playing barbies as a kid: clothes, hair and make-up. I mean, really, is there anything better?

Except maybe this video I shot the other day of my 3 year old son singing "I flip my hair back and forth, I flip my hair back and forth." Things HAVE definitely changed.

She-N-He Austin Wedding Photography and Design specializes in making your day...YOURS. We capture your wedding just the way you see it. We're a husband and wife team with backgrounds in Graphic Design/Art Direction and Commercial/Editorial Photography respectively. We bring to you a unique perspective that is romantic, modern and timeless and 15 years experience shooting all over the world. Call us and tell us all about your big day. We're listening. 512-351-9314