You heard right, there are NO lighting tests when I shoot. The second my subject steps in front of my camera I immediately start shooting, no light testing necessary. I will however meter the light using my Sekonic L-758DR, but as far as telling my model to “relax i’m just testing the light and checking exposure” just doesn’t happen anymore. I’ve taken many AWESOME photos right out of the gate that its far better to have your subject pose rather than have them just stand or sit there, you might catch something awesome! It’s far easier to check that your lights are positioned correctly and re-adjust than it is for the model to make that once in a lifetime face and pose.
My advice… Set-up your lights, take a meter reading, position your model and start shooting… if something looks a little off, don’t let your model know! Just take a few more shots and say something like “good” or “beautiful” after each shutter press. After you take maybe 5-6 photos, tell your model they’re doing great, but you want to try to add a bit more “spice” (use your own words here) and then re-adjust your lights if needed.
In the photo below I asked my model to stand on his mark and adjust his glasses. While he was doing so I released the shutter. Initially I thought the rim lights were too blown out, but the pose was AWESOME. I was able to pull down the highlights in Lightroom and recover details. I then retouched the image in Photoshop and toned it using Alien Skin Exposure. Out of all the photo I took, this was by far the most interesting! Had I asked the model to stand there while I adjusted lights, then kept asking him to adjust his glasses, I would have lost this genuine look.