Finding a Suitable Model for Your Hair Shoot
Finding a model can be one of the most difficult elements of pulling together a hair shoot. As well as finding someone who looks fantastic in front of the camera, they need to be happy and willing to have their hair cut and coloured – often dramatically – and be happy to have their face plastered across the salon, magazines and media.
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to sourcing models – hiring a professional or scouting someone yourself. There’s no right or wrong choice and winners of HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards have used a combination of both over the years – and you’d be hard-pushed to tell which was which when looking through their collections.
Using professional models for a hair shoot
As with most elements of a shoot, you get what you pay for. Just like using an award-winning photographer or highly recommended make-up artist, paying a professional to model for you assures a certain degree of quality.
However models don’t come cheap – and you may also come up against restrictions about what can be done with their hair if you’re planning a dramatic change. With a popular agency and fantastic models, there’s also a risk that other hairdressers will pick the same people.
That said, watch a professional model strike a pose in front of the camera and you’ll soon see why they get paid to do what they do; holding themselves at a certain angle to show off the clothes perfectly, tilting the head just-so to make the most of the light – a professional should make your shoot much more straightforward.
One option for working with good models on a budget is to speak to agencies about their ‘new faces’ – new models who haven’t done much work and are available for a cheaper rate while they build up their portfolio. This also means fresh faces who haven’t been seen in hundreds of other shoots.
Have your hair looks planned before you start looking, and make sure you have a thorough look at models’ portfolios to get an idea of how flexible they are and whether they can carry off a variety of looks.
You’ll also need to bear in mind what kind of work the models will have to do – are they just posing in front of a camera, or will you need them to walk or take part in a routine on stage? These extra considerations can add extra cost and will also entail a bit of an audition – just because a girl has model good-looks, it doesn’t necessarily mean she has the confidence or rhythm to be on stage.
As a rough guide, models start at around £300 for a half day plus a 20% agency fee on top.
Finding your own models for a hair shoot
Working with models that you’ve scouted yourself potentially offers you more freedom with cuts and colours – as long as you find the right person and talk through ideas together, they’re much more likely to up for an extreme cut and colour than a model who needs to maintain a certain style for their other work. You’re also guaranteed to have someone that no-one else has used, ensuring a totally individual shot.
Clients are often happy to work as house models for free, receiving regular cuts and colours throughout the year in exchange for a few photographs. Try and build up a series of house models – regular clients whose style you can maintain with each appointment, working towards an ideal end look. Once they’ve worked for you once, they’re likely to be happy to do more – providing they’re happy with their hair!
You can also scout models in the street – choose an area of your city where you’re likely to find young, fashionable people and hand out cards, introducing yourself to any potential models. In London, areas like Brick Lane, Oxford Street and Hoxton Square are perfect places to find people with a strong individual look who might be willing to model.
The drawback to working with non-professionals is that they may not have confidence in front of the camera. No matter how gorgeous a model is, a lack of experience in front of the camera can ruin a photograph. Working with a good team and an experienced photographer will help, as well as clear direction on what you want the image to look like.
As with professionals, bear in mind what you are asking of the model – will they need to take part in a routine on stage? A total lack of confidence in this area is usually visible to the audience, as well as any potential judges.