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Salons of the Year: Hit Us with Your Best Shots!

2020 definitely for the record books. And, while there were definite trials for salons, spas and barbershops navigating closures and new social distancing requirements, there also were some bright spots as owners found some quieter time to renovate their spaces or launch brand new ones. We’re excited to start capturing some of those efforts.  

For decades, SALON TODAY’s Salons of the Year competition has celebrated salon and spa design by naming the 20 most gorgeous spaces each year. Salons that have been newly opened or renovated in the past two calendar years (January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2021) are eligible to enter the 2021 photo-based salon design competition.

The 2021 application is live now though the competition deadline of March 10, 2021. All entries must be made through the online application portal.

Since Salons of the Year is a photo-based interior design competition, we encourage salons to submit the best images possible of their new spaces.

Here are some tips:

Hire a Pro: Salon mirrors and lighting are just two of the challenges when it comes to capturing the ambiance and impact of salon design, and both can really throw an image off. To show your salon in the best light, find a pro with specific experience in photographing interior environments.

Consult Your Peeps: If you hired an architect or interior designer to create your design, ask them for pointers on the shoot. They might have specific suggestions on camera angles that will showcase the salon in its best light, and might even be able to recommend a photographer.

Focus on the Design: Your images should showcase your design. Please make sure there are no people, extra products or clutter in your shots, although product is encouraged in images of the retail area.

Set the Stage: Imagine you are looking at your salon through the camera’s lens. Remove anything that might detract from your salon design, such as floor mats or protective plastic on chairs.

Be Holiday Neutral: Since the SOTY competition deadline is in January, many salons schedule shoots in the late fall when the salon is decorated for the holidays. Unfortunately, holiday decorations date an image, and look odd when printed in a June issue. Schedule your shoot before the salon is decorated or remove decorations during the photo shoot.

Plan Ahead: Schedule your shoot early, well before the March 10 deadline for Salons of the Year. You will need adequate time to review and edit the images and compile your application. And, you want to allow time to reshoot, if the photographer doesn’t do your salon justice.

Repurpose Your Beauty: While there’s certainly a cost involved with hiring a professional photographer to document your new look, consider how you might be able to use the resulting images on your website, on social media pages and in marketing pieces.

For any questions about Salons of the Year or the application process, contact Stacey Soble at 805-709-1837 or at

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