Colorist Sandy Kurtzman, owner of a self-named salon in Austin, Texas, and an American Board Certified Hair Colorist, began taking before and after photographs of color clients a few years ago to document her work. She was the first to be surprised at clients’ response. “Most clients claim to have never had a good photograph taken of themselves, and in the end are astonished at the quality of the captured image,” she says. “They also rave about the novelty of the service and how the timing is perfect to have a photograph made – right after your hair has been styled professionally.” Now Sandy uses the photos for both marketing and advertising her color-centric salon. (See her befores and afters at www.mastercolorist.net.)
Sandy Kurtzman’s in-salon photo studio.
In my reception area, you will see I have two lights, a seat and a honeycomb shade that doubles as a backdrop.
My camera is a Nikon D-80, but I started out with a D-70.
I recommend that stylists get digital cameras that have different lenses that can be switched out. However, in the beginning, you could start with a point and shoot camera—a consumer-oriented camera. They do have their drawbacks, mostly related to the amount of light that enters the lens, the amount of control the photographer has over the final product and their inability to add higher quality lenses (i.e. telephoto, anti-vibration, higher optical quality glass, etc.), but the upside is that you probably have one at home already.
Once you’ve got your camera, you only need to add the backdrop and two lights.
To print out the shots, a computer and a printer makes things more convenient. Otherwise you need to plan on taking your camera card into a store that can print the photos.
I myself enjoy having my computer with all of its different software and my printer handy so that I can deliver a package, on the spot, that includes one 5x7and four 2.5x3.5 photos for the client to take home.
While the photos are printing, I get the client to sign a model release. During this time I also explain that they can obtain one digital image for their personal use for $100, but they must include attribution (Photo and hair color by Sandy Kurtzman) when they use it.
Once the photos are finished printing, I sign them on the front with a gold gel pen, including a copyright symbol (©) and the year. I quickly stamp the back with my salon logo and address.