Instagram is the most important channel for stylists and their clients. High-quality photos that show off your work will fill your appointment book. Below, some MODERN SALON Artist Connective members share essential photography advice and how you can take better client hair photos to build your business.
Constance Robbins, @constancerobbins
How to take client hair photos: You will naturally develop your own aesthetic when it comes photos. But keep in mind composition – pay attention to everything you see in the shot. Is there a light shining behind the client’s head? Are there distracting products/ coffee cups/ messy tools in the background? Is your client wearing an outfit that clashes with the hair? Have them wear a robe or cape to create a blank canvas and let the hair shine. Remember to take tons of photos and angles. You may get the perfect photo on the first shot but if you aren't taking multiple angles, you're doing yourself (and that beautiful hair) a disservice. Take lots of options to "bank" for the future when you are low on content to post.
The importance of photography for your business: They say a photo is worth 1000 words. The quality of your photos can make or break whether that client books with you or someone down the street. Clients know what to expect before they even sit in your chair, and they are more willing to commute long distances and pay higher price points to get exactly what they want.
On asking clients to pose: Chances are that the client found me on Instagram and expects that they will be photographed. I also address it in my consultations, asking them to please come in a neutral color and be ready for the camera. When I take their photo my priority is for them to be comfortable and confident. I always encourage and compliment them. I also show them a few shots, which builds confidence and trust.
Lighting techniques: My preference is always natural, indirect lighting. It shows the true color of the hair and doesn't cost anything or take up space in the salon. However, you can create beautiful images with inexpensive equipment. Soft boxes and umbrella lights work great and give a soft light on the hair. Ring lights are more compact (great for a salon suite), but I would recommend adding a diffuser onto the ring light to prevent too harsh of a light on the hair.
Favorite photo apps: VSCO, Lightroom, Snapseed
Photo must-haves: Camera on manual mode, 50mm lens for portraits, hairspray and a tail comb (nothing worse than frizz ruining your shot!)
Amy Baugh, @hairbyamybee
How to take client hair photos: Find a spot with a clean background and natural lighting. The best shots happen by a window, or outside under some sort of awning.
The importance of photography for your business: Good photography is vital for a business so that future clients can come in confidently, knowing what to expect. If your pictures have bad lighting, it's not a true representation of what you are capable of! Your work could be flawless, but if the image doesn't capture it correctly, then you'll end up hurting yourself.
On asking clients to pose: My clients are aware that I take photos of my guests because most of them find me through social media. Many are excited for "their" pictures without me saying anything. Otherwise, I just ask them if I could snag a shot of their before hair, and they are always super willing.
Lighting techniques: Natural lighting is so important! No ring light unless you're doing a vivid color because it will wash out tone and dimension.
Favorite photo apps: Editing on iPhone, Facetune, Photo Grid
Photo must-haves: Clean background, an iPhone (Samsung is too warm) or a real camera, and the willingness to drop it low to get that shot!
Hailey Mahone, @haileymahonehair
How to take client hair photos: Lighting is everything. My favorite spot is by a big window or outside under an awning for some shade! You want to make sure it’s not in direct sunlight because your color won’t be captured accurately. I use both my iPhone and my Canon Rebel XTi for photographing my work.
The importance of photography for your business:You’re essentially creating a portfolio online of your hair art! Good, clean pictures that encapsulate your capabilities will get new guests sitting in your chair because they feel confident in you as a stylist.
On asking clients to pose: I ask my clients after I finish if they mind if I snap a few photos before they leave. I tell them they look amazing and that I HAVE to share if they are comfortable. I’ve never had someone say no! Sometimes, they ask not to show their face if they don’t have makeup on or a blemish, but I try and hype them up always. I love to pose them with their back towards me and then get them to drop their right or left shoulder and look over it. It naturally lets their hair fall around their face.
Lighting techniques: I always use natural lighting. If it’s dark before I’m done and I REALLY want a picture, I ask them to come back the next day to take a quick photo if they can.
Favorite photo apps: Lightroom, Facetune, InShot
Photo must-haves: Natural light, quality camera, solid and neutral clothing
Kelli Gasaway, @kelzbeauty
How to take client hair photos: Play with your lighting, as hair color and style definition change whether you’re inside, outside, or using ring/studio lights. Take your time to style the hair. This can make or break your creation. Pay attention to flyaways and the overall shape of the style while photographing. It’s often easier to see these kinds of details in a photo, so take a test picture and check it out. And finally: take A LOT of pictures. I average about 150-250 photos per every hair creation. I may only use 1-4 of these photos, but having more options to choose from gives you the opportunity to showcase your work in the best way possible.
The importance of photography for your business: Social media is full of high-quality photos and your posts need to stand out in a flood of other amazing work. This also gives the opportunity to share a little bit of your personality and individual style.
On asking clients to pose: I always ask my clients to send me selfies they take so I can reshare them on my page.
Lighting techniques: The light should be slightly higher than the client’s face and angled 45 degrees downward. If I’m shooting with a backdrop, I ask my client to step at least 2 feet away from it. This helps to soften the background and focus on the hair.
Favorite photo apps: Photo Editor, Airbrush, Add Text
Photo must-haves: Ring lights, nice camera, clean background
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