Every hairstylist sooner or later starts thinking about creating their own photographic collection. You can be driven by a variety of reasons: whether you are taking part in competitions or preparing a portfolio, or maybe it’s just the next step for you on your journey as a creative artist. by Viktoriya Vradii
Your Collection – Your Perception of Contemporary Trends
While working on a collection, the primary motive is the stylist’s need to showcase their own view of the modern trends in styling. A collection, first and foremost, is self-expression. It belongs to the individual and is part of the them, reflecting the style and the character of its creator.
All collections are united by certain features: seasonal styles or haircut trends, hair colouring or fashion shows influences. No matter what the type of collection is – the key is in the well-coordinated work of the professional team.
Teamwork – The Key to Success of Your Collection
While working on a collection, the main focus should be on forming your team. All participants involved in the shooting process are equally important, and not only must they fulfill their own tasks but also cooperate with other team members. Purposeful, collaborative work is the only way to get high-quality results.
Choosing a photographer must be done most responsibly. It is their work and their collaboration with the models that will impact the most on what the final product will look like, what exactly the world will eventually see. First of all, study the portfolio: if the candidate ever took part in previous competitions, where their works are presented, have a look at the work produced and the feedback from this. Besides that, pay attention to the equipment that has been used – it goes without saying that a usual DSLR camera will not be enough to make good quality, high colour images. The candidate must be a professional who is aware of modern trends, has good artistic taste, is skillful and experienced and able to ‘open’ and work with the model.
When selecting the models, not only their appearance should be considered, but also their confidence in front of the camera and the ability to get the desirable visual message across from the images.
Make-up Artists & Stylists
Make-up, clothes and accessories by no means should be a distractor from what the hairstylist wants to show. This is similar to shooting fashion collections, with models wearing unobtrusive make-up and subtle hairstyles. The aim of it is to emphasize the design of the clothes. What we aim to display is the art of doing magic with hair; that’s why the main focus is directly on it.
On average, the shoot can take several hours to a whole day. It depends on the number of images to be photographed and how everything flows. The shooting of a couple of models can last half a day, however if more than five models are involved, it may even take a few days. Always be prepared for intensive and arduous work.
Perhaps the most crucial stage of creating a collection is creating the looks to ensure they match your vision. You have to complete the haircut for every model, colour the hair beforehand as some coloring techniques are highly time-consuming. And after all, creating hairstyles themselves, with all the elaborate elements, may take hours of work. All of these different aspects have to be carefully thought through in advance. My advice is to prepare the sketches of your future images or draw up a plan to follow during the work with models. It can make your job way easier and help take all the small things into account.
Shooting is a rather costly process. And obviously, you can ask yourself if it is possible to save on something. In my opinion, you should not. A better option would be to form and adjust the shooting budget carefully, based on your finances. Do not cut down on the experts you are going to invite to be part of your team.
However, the necessary thing is to have every step of the shooting process under your personal control. If you let things go with the flow, even a thoroughly prepared procedure can be ruined. As an example, an inexperienced model, the lighting wrongly-set during the shooting, inappropriate or disharmonious clothes and accessories can bring all your efforts to naught.
Even after the shooting is complete, it is too soon to say that the work is done. Indeed, the photos have to be edited because the material you have now is ‘raw,’ as they say. The next stage – post-processing, retouching the images, fine-tuning, including stylistic and error-correcting editing. In most cases, photographers do all the retouching themselves. But it is worth clarifying in advance with your potential photographer if they provide this type of service or you have to look for another experienced professional in this field
From my experience, it is better not to neglect this important nuance. On one occasion, an unprofessional retouching individual nearly ruined all the brilliant work done during a photographic shoot. Ensure you are involved within every detail of the shoot and supervise the process by yourself to get exactly what you want and how you want it.
Go to Any Length to Promote Your Collection
Promotion is not nearly an insignificant phase if you expect your work to be rewarding. And here, you can use whatever service is available – social media, specialised publications, professional webinars and workshops, partaking in competitions and exhibitions. Reach out to as broad an audience as you possibly can to demonstrate your craftsmanship and build your brand.
Experiment and Trust Your Team
I want to point out that a photoshoot is a thrilling and, at times, an unpredictable process. During one of the first professional shootings I did for an international contest, an incident showed how a spontaneous decision could turn everything around and help get the result you have been trying to achieve all along.
We had our photoshoot plan, the poses and the styles – all prearranged. Despite having only a single model, the process turned out to be quite lengthy: we were switching outfits and accessories, adjusting the makeup, and changing the hairstyling. Six hours in, when our time had almost run out, and I felt like there was nothing more I could think of to help complete the look, the photographer threw in the idea to make a couple of shots just for himself. I didn’t mind and put in one last touch fixing the model’s hair.
Later came the most exciting part. It was the shots that the photographer had made “just for himself” that caused wild enthusiasm from the judges and were further selected to be represented in the contest. Professionals from twenty-three different countries were in competition for the finals, and this very piece of work was recognised as the best and brought me the win. This kind of unforgettable turn of events is quite possible on a creative path.
To conclude, I would like to share the life-hacks that can ease the exhausting process of creating a new collection. Unfortunately, there are none. Only constant sharpening of your skills, work on the past mistakes (which are inevitable), revision of your experience, participation in contests, and relentless self-improvement will help reveal all your hidden talents.
The only magic way to create a successful collection – seek after new experiences and never stop learning.