John Blue is the Owner and Creative Director of BOSS HAIR GROUP @bosshairgroup in the River North area of downtown Chicago. BOSS HAIR GROUP is an eco-friendly, sustainable and cruelty-free salon space specializing in all things hair. “Each departmentalized stylist and colorist on our team has well over a decade of experience in their chosen skill area, and are considered masters in cutting, styling, coloring, barbering and extensions,” Blue says.
We've had the pleasure of sharing some of the beautiful images that have resulted from Boss Hair Group photo shoots. Their latest collection, Retro Vibrance, is a colorful and quirky assembly of images inspired by punk, rave and club vibes from the 80s and 90s. Layered mullet shags, bowl-cut Caesar bangs, replicated perm sets and chunky paneled highlights are featured in this electric, neon-pixilated hair fantasy throwback.
With this latest work in mind, we asked Blue to share his thoughts on salon photo shoots as confidence builders and creativity boosters.
MODERN SALON: Why do you think a team photo shoot is a good idea? What do you gain from it?
JOHN BLUE: Team photoshoots are a great way to inspire creativity and it gives them a chance to do things they wouldn't normally do on everyday clients. It's an awesome way to team build and get ideas from other stylists, fusing them all together. Everybody gains a sense of ownership by collaborating, and seeing the final product gives a real sense of accomplishment.
MS: What is your process for picking a theme?
JB: By nature, some people are better at executing a vision, and some people are better at coming up with one. Our team usually collaborates and finds sources of inspiration and we build from that. Sometimes having a looser vision is an advantage, because as you're working, you can see the theme and style start to take shape. Sometimes this can veer off of your original idea and concept, and that's okay. It always starts from inspiration.
MS: Has Instagram made stylists feel like a photo shoot isn’t necessary or do you think they still love the process?
JB: I think Instagram is a great tool to advertise your work, but it definitely does not replace what a team-built photoshoot can do. The amount of thought, collaboration and artistry that goes into a shoot is intoxicating and extremely rewarding. Granted it is a lot of hard work, but the experience is well worth it.
MS: How do you decide who-does-what?
JB: Being that we are a smaller and intimate salon, we delegate the work to best fit the stylist or colorist. Currently we have three stylists, and two colorists including myself. Generally, a shoot will require four-to-five models. Each colorist will get two models, while each stylist will do one and collaborate on a fourth or fifth, or maybe one stylist takes two models. If a stylist excels at men's haircuts, we'll have them do the men, whereas another stylist may specialize in braiding, dressing hair or editorial. Everyone gets a chance to get their feet wet and jump in.
MS: How do you do your casting?
JB: We do our casting and we get models from various sources. Sometimes we place ads on Craigslist, Model Mayhem or Salon Apprentice, and sometimes we'll just ask a client since they may have the type of hair that we're looking to shoot. It's always important to mention in your ad that the stylists are to have creative reign over the look, and not the other way around. Every day we listen to what our clients want, whereas with the photoshoots, we're able to unleash our creativity no holds barred.
MS: How do you keep costs down?
JB: If hiring an expensive photographer or models isn't in your budget, you'd be surprised at how you can save by posting ads in Craigslist or Salon Apprentice. Usually, people are so grateful to get anything done that they are willing to let you do whatever you want. Another great way to keep costs down is to work with makeup artists or photographers for trade. A lot of the time, other artists are looking to expand their portfolio as well, so this is another great option in creative collaboration.
MS: How does this help with team building?
JB: It helps create a sense of community and collaboration as a team. Stylists, colorists and makeup artists work together closely with an end goal in mind. Everyone wants to be a part of something great, and you're really held accountable when you're teaming with someone else.
MS: How do you use the photos?
JB: We love to use the photos for industry trade publications as well for Instagram, Facebook and social media. It's also great for website content, as well as sprucing up your images on Yelp and Google. Think about it, if people aren't on your social media, how are they going to see these? Yelp and Google are great tools to attract new clients. Plus, they'll see that you're always on the cutting edge by updating your images a few times a year!