Every successful photo shoot begins with an inspiration board which helps focus the whole team with one vision. These three award-winning hairstylists delve into why it’s an essential part of their creative process.
Hairstylist: Michelle Oliver
“For a photo shoot, I’m trying to balance three main elements: hair, makeup and fashion. Sometimes makeup can change the whole vibe of your shoot, with a really smokey eye or a strong metallic lip.”
–Michelle Oliver, Kick Hair & Body, Edmonton
The Sketch Artist
Contessa winner and Schwarzkopf Professional Essential Looks Artist, Michelle Oliver uses fashion images for her mood boards but takes a slightly different approach. “Last year, I drew out the fashion and sketched the hair on top,” says Oliver. “I’m looking for volume in the hair and creating a flow between the height, volume and texture in the hair.” While she still uses images to create the story, Oliver recommends getting specific about the balance of clothing and hair, because the silhouette of both can really tell if you have the right look.
A Little Sketchy
“With sketching, I have more control. Rather than picking images that inspire me, I’m looking at the balance of clothing and hair,” says Oliver. “I don’t use colour so that I can be open to what I’m working with, and I keep my sketches at the salon with me so that I’m referencing them as I pull together ideas for the collection.”
From movies to magazines to the photo shoots of the reality television series Canada’s Next Top Model, Oliver says fashion is really her jumping-off point for inspiration. “When I’m at an international airport, I’ll look for unique magazines like Grazia and other European magazines.”
Hairstylist: Eric St-Jean
“I never group more than four images at a time to see what I can eliminate without compromising the overall theme. It’s a long process where I am constantly tweaking the look and feel of the collection.”
–Eric St-Jean, Saco Salon, Laval, Quebec
The Techno Expert
Eric St-Jean, Contessa winner for Quebec Hairstylist of the Year, educator at Kevin.Murphy and co-owner of Saco Salon in Laval, Quebec, is passionate when creating his winning looks. He creates separate mood boards for lighting, makeup, clothing, hair colour and photo angles.
“I follow tons of fashion and beauty companies on social media and then create an album with my preferred pics. Once a month, I will curate the photos and see which ideas or elements stand out more than others. Then I can clearly see if there’s a theme that emerges.” St-Jean culls his favourite images and puts them together in Layout from Instagram, an app that lets you combine multiple photos into a single image.
“As I get closer to my final idea, I do a lot of sketching and drawing on a whiteboard. And I write the colour formulas before I start testing the shades on mannequin heads or with clients in the salon. It’s amazing to see how supportive some of my clients are and willing to test the shades on their own hair!”
Hairstylist: Cynthia Boisclair
The Hometown Hero
Born and raised in a family of hairstylists, Cynthia Boisclair is a dedicated Revlon Professional educator who started her career as a teenager. She works relentlessly to elevate her artistry and is always on the lookout for inspiration and to fine-tune her technique.
Creating the Mood
For her 2016 Contessa finalist collection Boisclair began with the concept of pastels, and then she started searching for images in this category to populate her Pinterest boards. “I only keep the images that I have an emotional connection with, since this is a highly creative process,” she says. Sketching the main hair shapes and cuts comes next so she can see how it all comes together. “It helps define what will work with real hair or not, particularly when it comes to colour and creating volume in a hairstyle.”
Sharon Blain, Angelo Seminara and Stéphane Scotto Di Cesare, also a Contessa avantgarde finalist who coached her for her own Contessa collection. For Boisclair, “it’s very important to have a mentor because they whip you into shape and help push your creativity further. “I really love Stéphane’s vision, and he is super-creative.“
Her Hero Products
Three sprays from Revlon Professional Style Masters: Photo Finisher, Glamourama and Modular. “I always have them with me because they work really well to achieve highly creative looks,” says Boisclair. “I also love Revlon Nutri Color Creme Fondant shades because they’re great when you want to create textured pastel hair.
[Photos: THINKSTOCK, MICHELLE OLIVER; WINNER, CONTESSA 26 ALBERTA HAIRSTYLIST OF THE YEAR, MICHELLE OLIVER, KICK HAIR & BODY, EDMONTON, MAKEUP: RENEE RAMPERSAD,
STYLING: CASSY MEIER, PHOTO: AMANDA DIAZ; COLOUR: ADAM ISLES, ROKK EBONY SALON, SOUTH MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, HAIR: DANIELLA BARCA, MAKEUP: NATALIE BARRINGTON,
STYLING: ALANNA BARCA, PHOTO: MICHAELA BARCA; HAIR: LARISSA BRESNEHAN, NISCHLER HAIR, HOBART, TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA, MAKEUP: GARRY SIUTZ, STYLING: EMMA COTTERILL,
PHOTO: KISHKA JENSEN; ERIC ST-JEAN; HAIR: CYNTHIA BOISCLAIR, MAKEUP: TAMSEN RAE, STYLING: MELANIE BRISSON, PHOTO: MAXIME THIBODEAU; CYNTHIA BOISCLAIR]