Whether you need to update your portfolio or you’re ready to enter competition, scheduling a photo-shoot can seem more than a bit overwhelming.
In fact, lead hairstylist for Schwarzkopf Professional and five-time Contessa winner Rossa Jurenas says that one of the biggest challenges for new stylists is getting over the initial nervousness. “It’s scary but you have to remember it’s a challenge,” advises Jurenas. While a little nervous energy may fuel your creative inspiration, here’s a how-to guide that will help you keep calm and carry on from the initial concept to the final award-worthy images.
FOUR TO SIX MONTHS BEFORE THE SHOOT
What’s the Story?
Developing a storyboard around your theme will not only give you the focus that’s required to bring your creative vision to life, but it will also allow you to communicate your vision to your whole team. “Have a storyboard ready for your photographer,” shares Goldwell artistic team member, Michelle Pargee. “Use inspiration photos of the styles and colours as well as your sketches of the looks you’re are going for.” Contessa photographer Kale Friesen would agree, adding that it’s a great way to stay organized because the storyboard is, “the base for everyone to keep on task.”
THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE SHOOT
Make It Up
Whether you’re working with a recent grad or seasoned pro, if the makeup artist doesn’t understand your theme, you can end up in big trouble. In Contessa finalist’s Dat Tran’s experience, asking for recommendations from your photographer is always a great resource. But Tran suggests meeting with the makeup artist you’re considering and asking to see their portfolio; this will save you big-time in the long run. According to Dee Fortier, international artistic director for Eufora, your makeup artist is as important as your photographer when it comes to capturing your vision. “Going through a couple of trials with the [make-up artist] before the shoot,” she says, will eliminate any unwanted surprises on the day of the shoot.
FOUR TO SIX WEEKS BEFORE THE SHOOT
Define Your Style
“Hair plays off of fashion,” explains Tran, “if you don’t add the right clothing or accessories, it won’t state the right tone.” That said, while more expansive budgets will allow you to hire a professional fashion stylist, Jurenas suggests partnering with local boutiques that offer complementary styles to your theme. Also, “you can trade [services] for images to be used in their stores,” shares Jurenas, adding that this is a great way to keep costs down, especially for first-timers.
TWO DAYS BEFORE + ON THE DAY OF THE SHOOT
Finding Your Face
When budgets are tight, wrangling friends and family into playing model-for-the-day can be tempting, but not always the best option. Instead, Pargee says that finding models is as easy as people watching. “Go to a mall, coffee house or places where there are young people and just walk around.”
All it takes to find out if a potential model will photograph well is a quick, on-the-spot snapshot with your phone. “Some people are beautiful in person and they don’t always project that way in a photo,” Fortier explains. “But there are people who have a quirky look and they [often] photograph the best.” When it comes to payment, Pargee says that the cut or colour, plus a switch back to their natural colour if they choose, is all the payment that’s needed when you’re working with newly discovered models; throw in some maintenance hair-care products as part of the deal, and you’re done.
On the day of the photoshoot, keeping everyone on the same page is essential. “Reach out to everyone before the day of the shoot with confirmation emails,” suggests Friesen. “It can happen that they don’t have the correct date, and you’re in a real jam if that happens the day of the shoot.”
When it comes to keeping the day rolling, Fortier suggests having two models on the go at all times, meaning that when one is in makeup the other is in hair, and if the photographer always has someone camera-ready, this will minimize downtime and delays.
Most importantly, on-set flexibility is critical. “I’ve had stylists who have looked at a couple of frames and didn’t like what they saw after spending a lot of time styling,” shares Friesen. “You need to know how to roll with it and have a backup in case something isn’t working.”
Last Words From the Pros
“Remember that when you see the photo you’re only seeing one side [of the head]. A lot of people don’t realize that, while they’re doing an amazing colour, in the end you’re only seeing one side.”—Rossa Jurenas
“Find a mentor who can help you. You can avoid wasting a lot of time by assisting and asking questions.”—Kale Friesen
“It’s important to choose a model who’s not necessarily cover-girl pretty, but someone who has good bone structure, is age-appropriate and is willing to let you do what you need to do with their hair.”—Michelle Pargee
“Don’t go too crazy when you first start. Less is more because you learn as you go. You can’t let the fashion overtake the hair. If you see fashion within the first five seconds of seeing a photo, you are missing the mark.”—Dee Fortier
“Create two looks that you know you’ll do, but then get inspired that day. An image can pop up from the hair texture, curl or braids and it may still work with the makeup and wardrobe.” —Dat Tran
Kale Friesen, Photographer, Kale JF Photography, Dee Fortier, Eufora International Artistic Director, Dat Tran,Owner, Dat Salon, Rossa Jurenas, Schwarzkopf Professional Platform Artist