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Hairstylist Training: Fun with Photo Shoots

BlogBeauty Student Advice | November 5, 2013

Who doesn’t love Fall? There is something so rejuvenating about this transitional season.

My salon's front window.

At my salon, burnt oranges, mustard yellows and delicious fall spa specials mark the season’s change. Walking towards the front entrance, I am met by a huge image of an ethereal-looking model. I instantly recognize the girl with the long, sweeping gown and mess of braids. I recognize her because I was there when she was photographed and I braided that wild hair.

My salon loves photo shoots and it is always a rush of excitement to watch great hairstylists come together to create.  I recently hosted a shoot for our stylists-in-training. It was their first and they had a few questions about the importance of this activity over something more “academic” like learning a haircut, or color technique. My reasons were hard to verbalize then but became clear while watching them work on the day of the shoot. I was freshly reminded of why I think they should be a part of every hairstylist’s career.

Why a Photo Shoot?

Styling a model's hair from our recent shoot

  1. They are exciting and inspirational- You can be ‘just a hairstylist’, or someone who loves to style hair. The difference will be in the passion and motivation you have for this career. Keeping yourself inspired keeps you excited about what you do.
  2. You can learn something from a photo shoot, I promise. The process of planning and executing a shoot is challenging and educational. Picking styles that are difficult will stretch you and sharpen your technical skills.
  3. The experience will change the way you look at hair- Photographing hair will help to give a 360 degree perspective to your work. What do I mean? More than once, I have finished styling a client’s hair, feeling confident, until they got up and walked away. They looked great when I stood at a certain angle and looked at them straight on in the mirror, but I had neglected the rest of their head! A photo shoot will force you to view your style from every angle and watch how the hair moves with your model.
  4. They can promote teamwork- If you work at a salon with other stylists, or are attending beauty school, you know the importance of teamwork and bringing everyone together for a common goal will definitely cultivate it.

What makes a photo shoot?

A finished photo from recent and hair by me.

It can be as simple as you with a can of hairspray, a friend, and a camera. (If I can do it, you can!) I suggest that you start by selecting a mood or theme for your shoot and then searching for images that fit your theme. If you are short on ideas, a fun challenge is to begin with a magazine cover and try to recreate/re-interpret it, or to enter a photo contest online. If you don’t trust your photography skills, try asking a young photographer looking to expand their portfolio. Likewise, you may be able to find professional models who are looking to build their own photo arsenal. If you have friends, or coworkers who are hairstylists, get them involved! Pick outfits, props, a great location and get started! There is no limit to what you can create. Once you have photos, find some online forums and share them with the world.

Above all, enjoy the process and have fun with it!

Leah Perlman

Written by Leah Perlman

Leah is an Empire graduate who has been in the industry for 7 years. She has worked at The Bell Tower Salon and Spa in Wyomissing, PA for 6 years . She serves on the salon's education team and is involved in planning and educating for their stylists-in-training program.

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