British Hairdressing Awards

Putting Together a Men’s Photoshoot on a Budget

by bathamm / last updated April 20, 2013

Putting Together a Men's Photoshoot on a Budget
Putting together a photographic collection can be a costly experience, with budgets reaching tens of thousands of pounds. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Careful planning, calling on contacts and friends and lots of imagination can produce a collection that looks professional and can work as a great promotional tool for your business or personal profile.

Future men’s hairdressing star, Ashley Thompson of Peter Prosser Men in Hereford, decided to take the plunge and put together a photo shoot that didn’t break the bank.

Says Ashley: “Peter Prosser and myself started planning the shoot almost a year in advance, brainstorming the theme and discussing how we would use the collection.”

Finding a location on a budget

Venues are often one of the most costly elements of a shoot, but Ashley and Peter came up with an idea that was cost-effective and convenient.

“Peter and I go to the local pub, The Barrels, on a regular basis and one evening we realised it would be a great place to shoot,” recalls Ashley. “It has got both character and style – a very cool place for a photo shoot.”

Finding the right photographer

With the location sourced, and the pub owners happy for Ashley to use it free of charge, the next step was to find a photographer.

Says Ashley: “This was my first solo shoot and although I had the full support of the Peter Prosser team, I didn’t have a budget so I needed to use my contacts and call in some favours. I had followed the work of photographer Richard Miles and met him on a few occasions. Richard mentioned that he would love to do a men’s shoot on location and was willing to work on a tight budget – so I seized the opportunity with both hands!

“I had numerous meetings with Richard – we both agreed The Barrels was a fabulous location shoot – and the owners gave us carte blanche to shoot both inside and outside of the pub.”

Finding models for free

Without a budget for professional models, Ashley kept his eyes peeled for potential amateurs who would work with the theme and location.

“I scouted for models among guys coming into the salon or who lived locally. I also used a couple of local models who I’d worked with before, who have been looking to strengthen their portfolios. It’s amazing the great models you can find when you look around the city. I wanted diversity in my models, as well as good hair and confidence.”

In return for the model’s services, Ashley offered six months of free haircuts in lieu of payment.

“I’m really happy with the result and will be entering the collection for competitions,” says Ashley. “As well as sending it out to professional hairdressing journals – once HJ Men has had the exclusive, of course.”


Photographer Richard Miles offers advice on finding the right models and photographing men’s hair.

  • Male models should have a strong, unique look about them – look for men with good jawlines and good skin. They should be in good shape, but not overly muscular. Sometimes a quirky look can be stronger than a classically ‘good looking’ guy. Most of all they should be confident in front of the camera.
  •  To get the best from your models, chat with them first and make them feel at ease with you. Make sure they understand the concept of the shoot and what is expected of them.
  •  Music can be helpful in creating a relaxed atmosphere and the mood of the shoot, however, make sure it actually sets the tone of the shoot.
  • Encouragement is important. If the model is doing well let them know. Maybe show them a few of the images. If they know they look good, they will be more confident – the more confident they are, the better the images will be.
  • When photographing men’s hair, a strong concept is important for setting the scene and mood of a shoot. Once you have a concept, you are able to cast models and prepare the hairstyles so much easier and the results will be much stronger than working without a theme.


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