Hair Photos – Slapping Posters Up on Walls?
Is it About Hair Photos, or Storytelling?
There’s no shortage of salon professional hair photos in the beauty social media universe.
Thousands of stylists spend hours uploading their hair photos to salon pro websites hoping to attract new clients, and show friends their good work.
Sadly, with all that time and effort, most are just ‘posters on a wall’ with a 1-day lifespan … most often only a single post on Facebook, Bangstyle, SalonGalaxy, Hairbrained, Hairflix Society, etc. saying, “Joe Blow posted new photos to his wall” (or some such auto-post) accompanied by a bunch of ‘likes’ and a handful of comments from friends and clients, never to be seen again 🙁
Many of those hair photos are remarkable! But, even more are the ‘in-the-chair’ variety with lousy lighting … a poor illustration of what may be excellent work.
Our advice? If you aren’t up to taking top-notch ‘in-the-chair’ photos … don’t! It doesn’t serve you and show your work in the best light.
Point? All that photo posting is mostly unproductive time and effort. Seeing your own pictures on the web may be ego-satisfying, but it isn’t doing much for new business.
Note: Last thought on the single-post scenario. If you posted a great hair photo, GO BACK AND USE IT AGAIN! Occasionally review your existing on-line collection and re-use your ‘goodies’ in a new post on your blog, client emails, on-line newsletters, etc. … anywhere you regularly reach out to your clients. Don’t let your good work disappear. 6 months or a year later (if your work is ‘classic’), it’s new all over again.
It’s Not Just the Photo — it’s the Story.
A photo without a ‘story’ (and some personality) is just a ‘poster on a wall’.
Each and every hair photo needs a story ‘caption’. Prospective clients are interested in their needs, wishes and dreams. Your photos illustrate you have solutions.
Why did you choose that style?
What did it mean to that client?
A Story is Not a Novel.
It’s a warm, human, client need-focused sentence or two..
A couple of examples:
“Tired of her longer locks and marathon (hot and long) AM blow-drys L, Sharon wanted both easy-care and wash & wear style options. Voila!”
“Brunette for years, Shirley dreamed ‘lighter’ … but nothing radical, please! Enter Balayage”
You get the idea. Each of your hair photos illustrates the solution and the caption shares the client’s problem … all created by wonderful you. 🙂
As for the photos themselves, they need to be great! Often, the biggest hair photo faux-pas is poor lighting..
When you see a show on stage, the director doesn’t just leave the house lights on and bring out the actors. Usually the house lights go out, they raise the curtain, and they control the lighting on the stage to match the mood and the positions of the actors.
The director/lighting designer places light instruments to ‘highlight’ where actors are standing, minimizes other areas of the stage, and bring the audience’s eye to the places they want the attention.
You often don’t even notice differences, but it sure doesn’t work if they simply ‘wash’ the stage with overhead lighting. They also use colored gels over some lights to help ‘set the mood’ and reflect what they want you to feel … the same can work with lighting hair.
If you’re going to do ‘in-salon’ photos, ask the good hair photo pro you are hiring to shoot your next collection to show you a few tricks of their trade you can use with clients in the chair. Make a hair photo lighting lesson for you an element of what you want as part of your next photo shoot.
Even better … get really educated! Here’s a good place to start, offering some of the best photography education.
- Modern Salon’s Artist Sessions
Note: We spent quite a while googling, and were surprised by how few hair photo shoot classes and workshops we found. Manufacturers offer hair shoot education from time to time but hair photo education classes are not that plentiful.
Update: January 11, 2012
Mari Smith’s blog post on lighting tips for shooting video for social media use. Seems very useful although I recall hair wants a ‘keylight’ to put the focus on the hair and add ‘brilliance’. Hopefully some hair photographers will chime in here.
Thanks, Gary Lyons for your very helpful comment below.