Tips for Taking Insta-Worthy Client Pictures

The same head of hair in three different lights | photos courtesy of Sarai Speer

The power of a hair photo is undeniable. A single photo shared on Instagram can promote your skills, raise your salon's profile and help build up your customer base in one fowl swoop. Needless to say, the quality of the shot matters, and lighting plays a huge role in the way a photo appears on your social profile. 

Believe it or not, high-tech equipment isn't always necessary to capture that great shot. In some instances, a simple ring light and iPhone camera can get the job done, and other times, natural lighting is the only prop you'll really need. But don't be fooled, lighting can drastically alter a color, too. It's important to remind your clients that what they see on Instagram isn't always what they get. 

"In my salon, there's a spot by the window where I take photos and and if I move as little as six inches in either direction, I can completely shift the color from warm to cool, or vice versa," says Sarai Speer (@saraihairwizard), a Kansas City-based hairstylist. 


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Granted, every salon doesn't lend itself to great lighting. For stylists without access to backdrops, ring lights or high-dollar cameras, Speer suggests natural lighting. "Indirect sunlight with shade from trees, awnings or buildings makes for the best pictures," she says. "But always be cautious because direct sunlight blows out the hair color in photos."

Top Left: iPhone 8PLUS, indoor (by window) | Top Right: Canon Rebel T6i in Portrait Mode, flash off, Cloudy Sky setting​​​​​​​ | Bottom Left: Canon Rebel T6i, Indoor ( 5 feet from window), no flash, Tungsten lighting setting, Portrait mode​​​​​​​ | Bottom Right: Canon Rebel T6i, Outdoor, no flash, Sports Mode (it was windy and I wanted to capture some cool gusting shots), Default Setting.​​​​​​​

In the camera phone versus professional camera debate, Speer says the professional camera will always win. "When I put my camera photos side by side to my camera phone photos (like shown above), it’s not even a contest," she says. "I don’t think you have to spend a ton of money on your first camera, especially if you’re like me and have little photography experience," she adds. "Just do research and ask other stylists what they shoot with—I guarantee you can find something that works with your budget."

During a digital-centric time period, and an age where social media profiles are equivalent to a stylists' resume, it's important to put your best content in the spotlight. "Investing in a camera was the best decision I've made for growing my social media brand," Speer says. "If you have great content AND great pictures, you’re ahead of the curve."