Inspiration

Top Hairdressing Photographers Spill the Beans on Shooting

by sophieh / February 23, 2012

Photographing a hairdressing collection is a specialist skill. We caught up with some of the most reknowned photographers in the industry to find out a little more about what is involved and to get some expert advice on what you should look for in a photographer.

Martin Evening hairdressing photographer

Martin Evening

Martin Evening started his career as an assistant on a shoot with Anthony Mascolo. He started working on hair shoots in the 80s and has worked with many award winners.

Why do you think you are so successful?

Clients say they like working with me because they always get good publicity and exposure when using the photographs I shoot for them. Our shoots are always relaxed and finish on time and on budget.

How would you describe your style?

My photographic styles are varied. I draw on my experiences or conjure up a new way of shooting. It is good to be versatile and keep making changes. The fact that I shoot everything digitally has a bearing on the way I work for two reasons.:

  1. You can afford to be more adventurous, since you can see the results on the screen immediately and take care of any lighting or other irregularities while you are shooting.
  2. It allows me to apply any special effects, such as a black and white conversion or colouring treatment as I bring the pictures into the computer. Clients can see results on screen that look very close to the final image. I am also keen to not over-retouch photos. I like to keep some of the flaws on the model’s skin, rather than airbrush everything out.

How much do you charge?

Prices will vary according to the type of usage. Hair PR shoots where the photos are also used for the British Hairdressing Awards will start at around £6,000, including all production costs like models and casting. Extra usages like advertising or PR will see this figure increased.

What advice would you give to someone entering the British Hairdressing Awards?

Don’t try to over-analyse the winning results too much. It’s a competition, and the reason why one entry was successful rather than another might have been a really close call. Take a broader view of the awards entries rather than aim to copy what won last year. The standard of photography work has never been higher and there are a lot of good hair photographers out there. If you are going to enter, then do it right by spending money on a professional team that includes professional models.

See more of Martin’s work here

Jim Crone hairdressing photographer

Jim Crone

Jim Crone started as a fashion photographer 23 years ago and in the late 80s began taking shots for a variety of photographic competitions. He has contributed to many winning teams, including HJ’s 2007 North Western Hairdresser of the Year collection by Harry Boocock.

How would you describe your style?

I like to experiment with lighting to create strong images, making each shoot look different. I am happy to do dark and moody shots as well as bright and beautiful. I always try to make the model look as fabulous as possible. When it comes to hairstyle photography, I feel it is important the model looks drop-dead gorgeous.

Why do you think you are so successful?

My success has come through building good working relationships with regular clients. The hairdresser, with my help, will start to understand what works for the camera, which is different to what they are used to doing in their salon. I have had great success with clients who did their first-ever photo shoot with me and then went on to win for their region. Some are now in the Hall of Fame.

What advice would you give to someone entering the British Hairdressing Awards?

The best advice I can give a hairdresser is to study all the past winners. I am not suggesting you copy what has been done before but it is important that you start to understand what it takes to win. Everything has to be right – from the make-up to the clothes, and, of course, the models. The best hairstyles in the world on weak models will not win the competition as the standard is now so high. When you attend a casting choose the best models available to you.

How much do you charge for a photo shoot?

My day rate is £1,100, excluding travel expenses. I charge extra for contact sheets, which are £15 each.

How important is a good photographer on a shoot?

Most working photographers can take fabulous pictures if all of the other elements such as models, hair and clothes are right. But I think it is important that the hairdresser feels relaxed at the shoot and that there is a good vibe happening on the day. Both the photographer and hairdresser have to be creative during the shoot and will produce their best work if the chemistry is there.

What is your view of post-production on images – should hairdressers be careful how far they go with it?

We are so used to seeing perfect images in magazines that there is a temptation to go too far with post-production. There will always be a certain amount of re-touching done on the model’s face, such as whitening the eyes and smoothing out any spots, but when it comes to hair, retouching should be kept to a minimum.

See more of Jim’s work here

John Rawson hairdressing photographer

John Rawson

John Rawson was artistic director of Alan International until 1990 when his love of photography took him in a new direction. Since then he has concentrated on photography and has worked with a wide variety of award-winning stylists.

How would you describe your style?

Eclectic! I pride myself on trying to develop ideas that are individual for the client – it’s probably the most difficult and time-consuming stage of the process, but if the idea is strong the rest of the shoot usually naturally falls into place.

What advice would you give to someone entering the British Hairdressing Awards?

Plan, plan, plan! I believe that hard work pays off. Get the team together and story-board your ideas, then refine it down until the concept is really strong and that everyone involved knows exactly what is expected prior to the shoot. On the day, sit everyone down for 10 minutes at the start and go over the brief again. Make sure the finish on the hair is perfect and don’t run out of steam.

What advice would you give to someone when choosing a photographer?

It needs to be someone whose work and style is compatible with your idea. To me, it’s a bit strange when someone says ‘I like this photographer’s work, but can you do it?’ It’s a bit like going into a sal
on and asking for another hairdresser’s work.

Why do you think you are so successful?

I have a great team and spend a lot of time developing the initial ideas and finding the best models to suit the brief. The best pictures are created by pulling all the elements together successfully; if one single part of the shoot fails, everything fails.

See more of John’s work here

Andrew O'Toole Hairdressing Photographer

Andrew O’Toole

Antipodean Andrew O’Toole lived in London for 10 years and during that time assisted fashion and portrait photographers, including Annie Leibovitz, working on top magazines such as Vogue. His first hair shoot was with Umberto Giannini and Lisa Shepherd, with Umberto going on to win HJ’s 1999 British Hairdresser of the Year. Andrew is now based in Australia and works with lots of British hairdressers on their award entries.

How would you describe your style?

Most of my work I’d describe as fashion-based beauty. Personally, I think I’m better at the pure beauty stuff, like magazine covers. I enjoy the intensity and detail of that type of work.

How much do you charge for a photo shoot?

Most of my hair PR work starts at £2,800 a day, and my advertising rate is a little higher. I’m in the UK about five times a year, so I’ll usually get clients to try to fit my schedule if possible and then spread the cost of flights across jobs. Often clients will foot the bill and fly me over for a three-day shoot, but my rates are generally a little higher if it’s a short trip.

Why do you think you are so successful?

The biggest factor is hard work. I do loads of preparation for all my jobs and urge my clients to do the same. I generally go into most shoots with a clear vision of what the result will be. Working with amazing stylists and make-up artists is also key.

What advice would you give to someone entering the British Hairdressing Awards?

Planning and thinking ahead are vital to a successful shoot. Strong make-up is back with a vengeance, but make sure it doesn’t override the message of the hair. Also, keep an eye out for what’s happening with hair imagery worldwide.

What tips would you offer when choosing a photographer?

  1. Check what their day rate includes (lighting, retouching, travel for example).
  2. Make sure you can actually spend a day working with them and that you share a similar vision.
  3. Keep in mind that many fashion photographers aren’t always used to shooting hair and that beauty photographers don’t always shoot fashion – and there’s a huge difference between the two.

See more of Andrew’s work here

roberto aguilar hairdressing photographer

Roberto Aguilar

Roberto Aguilar is from El Salvador but grew up in the UK and Miami. He worked as a photographer in the US and Paris before coming to London. He is respected both for his amazing retouching skills as well as for his photography.

How would you describe your style?

I like to make my subject look sensual and sexy. My pictures are contemporary and beautiful, clean and exciting.

What advice would you give to someone looking for a photographer?

Firstly, check the work the photographer has done. If possible have a look at their book. Meet with the photographer to discuss what you are hoping to achieve and to see if he is on your wavelength and comes up with ideas that you like. It is important that you like his style – and that you get on too. Ideally, use a photographer who has had experience of shooting hair pictures – the lighting and detailing required are different to fashion shoots and even different to pure beauty.

Why do you think you are so successful?

I have worked very closely with Anthony Mascolo for four years, both on hair collections and on TIGI’s advertising campaigns, and have worked with the TIGI team in the US. I have developed a good understanding of what is needed to achieve a successful hair shot.

See more of Roberto’s work here.

Richard Miles hair photographer

Richard Miles

Richard Miles is a forward thinking, motivated and creative photographer. He is internationally published and works personally with each and every client, which ensures his images are always of the highest quality.

How would you describe your style?

I would consider myself a fashion and beauty photographer with the emphasis on beauty. This style fits in perfectly within the hair industry, and means that when photographing for hair salons, I can draw upon both of these strengths to produce a highly polished collection.

What advice would you give to someone when choosing a photographer?

First of all, before booking anyone, meet them. You need to find out if you can work with each other and whether the photographer understands and can visualise what you are looking to create. Also, of course, only choose a photographer with a very strong hair and beauty portfolio and whose work you would want to put your name to!

How much do you charge for a photo shoot?

Press/PR shoots start at £1,500. Expenses such as travel and accommodation are sometimes added.

What is your view of post-production on images?

The cropping and framing of images and the quality of the post-production will make or break a collection. Personally, I put a lot of time into my post-production and re-touching. This does not mean that I ‘over-work’ my images, but rather I work until the image balances and works in relation to the rest of the collection. When it comes to skin and hair I am a perfectionist, but remember that an element of reality must always remain.

See more of Richard’s work here.

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