Photography has played a powerful role in advancing my career. I've long considered pictures to be one of the single-most important elements when it comes to fine-tuning the image and furthering the success of your salon. Strong photographic images build your brand and personify your salon's position in the marketplace. So if you're planning a shoot, it's important to step back and think about what your exact objectives are before taking action. Here are the steps I follow to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.
Identify the purpose of the shoot. Is it for a window display or an advertising campaign, or would you like to have the photos considered for a magazine editorial? I'm sure that some of you may hope that one photo shoot will allow you to accomplish all of the above, but unfortunately, that's seldom the case. If you don't target one area, your shoot will lose focus.
Research the right photographer. Ask hairdressers, models, makeup artists and other respected people in the industry for recommendations; then call in for their books and inquire about their rates. Spend as much time as you can sourcing a good one, and once you've whittled your choices down to two, meet with them to work on some storyboard ideas together. Then trust your gut and go with the one who complements the way you work and who has the best ideas.
A successful shoot takes focus, planning and creative thinking.
Get a team together. Once you've chosen your photographer, build your core team and book a meeting with all of them—the photographer, any other hairstylists who are assisting you, the makeup artist and the fashion stylist. Sit down for a few hours to brainstorm. Make sure everyone contributes their views but still agrees on the shoot as a whole.
Organize a model casting. Deciding on the hair is the most important part of the shoot, so when casting models, be very specific about the hair types you're looking for. You may need to do as many as three or four castings before you find all the right models. I always say that if finding the model isn't painful, then chances are your choice won't be good enough.
Change your mindset. Remember, when it comes to hair, the camera doesn't see what you see in the mirror. While mirrors are three-dimensional, cameras are only two-dimensional, so you need to push the boundaries to bring the hair to life. You'll have to work very closely with the photographer to capture what makes the hair look best. For example, a camera angle that makes her face look beautiful may not be the best angle for the hair.
Take a reality check. Monitor the shots either by Polaroid or on-screen if you're shooting digitally. If you don't like what you see, don't compromise: The looks literally have to blow you away. You have to be your own critic. Don't pay out money and end up with a "nice" shoot. You want your collection to be jaw-dropping.