Hairdressing Photography: How to Take Hair Pics Like a Pro
Published July 19, 2021
Whether you’re a freelance photographer or a salon hairstylist wanting to promote your salon, you want to capture hairstyles in vibrant images that truly showcase them. I see a lot of hairdressing photography on the internet where the photographer did not give the hairstyle any justice. When an amazing hairstyle is photographed improperly, it can appear ordinary at best.
So, what is the greatest way for hairdressing photography? Utilize an overhead light source that beams down into the subject’s hair. Allow the hair to dominate the image. Remove everything from the shot that can divert the viewer’s attention away from the hair. Make an attempt to select a white or darkish background. Let’s get more into all those in detail.
How do I position the lighting when taking hair pics?
The most vital factor in creating truly stunning hairstyle photographs is lighting. Photographers employ a technique called “specular highlighting” to enhance the appearance of hair.
Specular highlighting is a term that refers to the fact that the light source you are utilizing will reflect off the thing you are capturing. To position your lighting, it should be roughly 1ft-3ft higher than your subject’s hair and approximately 2ft-4ft distant.
To create the ideal reflection off of the hair, you’ll want to experiment with the height and distance of your light source. The reflection of the hair is what truly enhances the appearance of hairstyle photographs. If possible, use a slightly diffused light source. If you’re a photographer shooting in a studio, it’s a good idea to utilize a reflector from underneath the subject to balance out any dark shadows on their face.
Should I consider hair accessories?
The second most critical point to remember in hairdressing photography is that less is more in terms of subject matter. Try to avoid adding anything to a photograph. Rather, focus on removing as much as possible. If you’re photographing the back of someone’s head, the process is quite straightforward, as there won’t be much else to observe.
Simply ensure that no clips or bows are visible unless that is what you wish to emphasize. If you are photographing someone from the front and their face will appear in the frame, attempt to remove any earrings, nose rings, necklaces, or other jewelry that may show in the shot.
Additionally, it is a good idea to have the subject close their eyes. Otherwise, when someone looks at your photograph, they will glance directly at the eyes. You can either instruct your patient to close their eyes or to look in a different direction. Professional photographers like to take it a step further by eliminating all clothing from the frame, leaving only bare shoulders and hair visible. This puts all the emphasis on the hair.
Is the clutter in hairdressing photography okay?
Remove as much as possible from the area surrounding the topic, such as furniture, plants, and paintings. This can be accomplished with the camera itself, by getting closer to the subjects’ hair or zooming in –– although avoid excessive zooming on camera phones –– or by physically removing objects from the frame. By omitting these elements from the photo, the focus will be on the hair rather than on the other random objects in the shot. As mentioned previously, ensure that the hair is the focal point and that nothing distracts from it.
Where should I take the shot?
Generally, shooting from the same height as your subject or slightly above it produces the best results. Utilize a step stool to elevate your camera slightly above your subject, especially when photographing the back of the hair.
Take note that shooting down on the hair will increase the amount of light reflected off it and will also pick up the shadows in the desired locations. When photographing your subject from the front, shooting from the same height as them usually works nicely.
(Related: How Much Do Hairstylists Make in Florida?)
How many shots do I take?
Take numerous shots as possible because you never know which one will hit the sweet spot. While pressing a button on your phone or camera is simple, preparing and setting up your hair takes time, so don’t rush. While phone and SD card storage are inexpensive, your time is not.
Consider photographing from a variety of perspectives, different heights, and with the illumination in a variety of locations. However, your best bet is to keep the light close to and above the subject and to shoot down onto the subject’s hair.
Take shots of their profile from the front, rear, and at around a 45-degree angle. It’s beneficial to have different perspectives from which you can see the hair. Always keep a sticky roller nearby in case you need to remove any loose hair from the subject’s clothing prior to and throughout the session.
Which background should I use: black or white?
Hairstyle photographs typically appear their finest on a white or near-black background. A white backdrop will impart an airy, light sense to your photographs, whilst a black background will impart a more dramatic feel.
If you’re photographing clients for your salon, a lighter or white background will work well. It’s acceptable to take photographs with various aspects of your salon in the background, although you simply want to ensure that your focus is not on that.
You may also take some photographs in front of your salon to provide some variety. Outdoor pictures are best taken in the morning or late afternoon. Cloudy days are also effective, as the clouds produce a soft light impression. Bear in mind, however, that the specular highlight produced by controlled lighting will appear the best. If you’re doing a photo shoot for someone and want the haircut to stand out like it does in fashion magazines, choose a darkish background. A dark background will direct the viewer’s attention to a focal point on the hair where the light is striking.
Can I use my smartphone?
If you own an iPhone, you should be familiar with the term “Portrait Mode.” Android users can accomplish the same thing by selecting “Live Focus.” Experiment with this in conjunction with your usual camera settings to see if you can catch any truly detailed photos. Portrait mode sharpens the focus on your subject while blurring the background, making this an excellent way to make the hairstyle stand out.
On an iPhone, launch the camera app and choose Portrait Mode. To begin, tap the screen on your subject’s hair. The camera will then indicate whether you should approach or distance yourself from the hair. Once you’ve reached the necessary distance, re-tape the screen to the hair until the image seems crisp and clear with the appropriate amount of lighting, and then take your photo.
On Android devices, open your camera application and select “Live Focus.” Tap the screen in the area where the hair is and then use the slider near the bottom of the screen to change the blur level. Then, using either the shutter or volume buttons, take a picture. Additionally, you can change the blur after the photograph is taken.
Tip when using a smartphone camera:
Because smartphone cameras are relatively limited in terms of zoom, make sure you are careful. Some have both optical and digital zoom, while others may have solely digital zoom. You should avoid employing digital zoom since digital zoom on a smartphone camera will result in a blurry image. Your best choice is to get as near to the hair as possible while maintaining a sharp focus, so that you avoid having to zoom in and can catch the complete hairstyle.
What are the recommended DSLR camera settings?
If you’re using a DSLR camera, you can utilize comparable settings to a portrait shoot. Generally, a shutter speed of roughly 1/200, an ISO setting of around 200, and an aperture of at least f/5.6 or f/6.3 will work nicely. Moreover, you’ll need to alter the brightness of the lighting you’re utilizing.
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