If this is your first photo shoot, expect things to go badly. Even salon professionals who have gone on to produce award-winning hair fashion photos look back upon their initial shoot and either laugh or cry, sometimes both. Chaos, inefficiency, naivete, amateurish images.
“Oh, it was horrible!” recalls 2007 North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) Hairstylist of the Year Alan Ruiz, who began doing photo shoots a few years after opening his two Jackson Ruiz salons in Austin, Texas, in the late 1990s. “We just had everyone come to the table, and we’d see what happens. It was a mess!”
Maureen Anlauf, a stylist at Juut Salons in Minneapolis who won the same title the year before Ruiz, also cites a learning curve. “I look back at my early stuff that I thought was so great, and now I realize I had a lot to learn,” she says.
California photographer Steven Barston says the number one mistake hairdressers make in photo shoots is neglecting to have a solid plan and sticking to it. “It comes down to organization and planning,” says Barston.
“A photo shoot takes months of planning and conceptualizing,” says Anlauf, who topped NAHA’s Contemporary Classic and Fashion Forward categories this year. “But it also takes practice. Every time I’m on a set, I learn something. Every time.”
Whether you’re doing a test, in which all of the players supply their talents for free, or hiring other professionals, the pros recommend a standard procedure: Start with a concept, assemble your team, create storyboards to follow the day of the shoot and prep your models beforehand. Even when photos are disappointing, stylists who dust themselves off and try again see improvement. Perhaps their lessons will save you a bad memory of your own.
- Styling Team
- Makeup & Clothing
- The Prep
- Time and Money
- Legal Limitations
If you already have your photos snapped, read Maximum Exposure by Rosanne Ullman to learn how to market your images.
What Ruiz and Anlauf intend to do with their photos—compete in NAHA—may be very different from what you have in mind for yours.
Photographer Tom Carson, who distinguishes himself from fashion photographers by confining his work to hair, says that in order to have a successful shoot, you must know who your audience will be. “Are you trying to appeal to potential clientele? To other hairdressers? Will you send out a trend release press kit to all the newsstand hair publications?” says Carson, who uses his website, www.carsonimage.com, to showcase his photography.