Photography, despite common expectations, is not a one-size-fits-all profession.
It has many different types and niches that specialize in specific fields. People must not expect a travel photographer (read: 10 Ways to Improve Your Travel Photography) to shoot a wedding or a hair photographer to capture wildlife.
As for photographers, looking for your niche is not difficult, you just need to focus on the photography type that you are the most passionate about or maybe the one that is the best for your bank account. Either way, each one has a different set of steps and directions that you need to follow.
For hair photography, these steps are not difficult. You just need some creativity, a passion for photography, a love for beauty, and a camera (a Canon like this one is a good starting point).
If you want to start your career in hair photography and do not know where to start, here are some tips that will guide you to capture the best hair shots (and you might want to also check out these websites to learn photography):
1) Have a clean background
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When you want to capture photos of intricate hairstyles, you need to have a clean background behind them. If the background is lively and interesting, it will steal the show away from the hair. So keep it simple and plain. It can be a white backdrop or a blurred brick wall. It depends on your vision.
2) Play with contrasts
Generally speaking, light-colored hair is the best option for capturing complicated hairstyles. That is why most hair stylists choose light-haired models when showing off the details of their work. However, that does not mean that dark hair does not work for hair photography.
Dark hair can be great to showcase health, shininess, and strength. To balance colors and focus on the hair, you can choose a dark-toned background behind light hair and light-toned one behind dark hair.
3) Choose the best lighting
Not all lighting is good lighting so choose your equipment carefully.
Stay away from using flash in shooting intricate hairstyles because flash will ruin the photos with too much light and contrast. Use a studio light or a hair light instead. You can also take advantage of natural light and give your photos a softer touch.
Additionally, early on in your hair photography career, invest in a couple of white reflectors because they will be really useful for some extra shine and lighting.
4) Focus on the hair
Do not forget that you are showcasing a hairstyle created by the stylist and not the model attached to the hair. So have the model look down or away to focus the attention on the hair. Additionally, make sure to communicate with the hairdresser and find out what sides they would like you to focus on.
Make sure to keep track of your progress. Do not get too immersed in taking pictures and forget to monitor the results. Set a routine for yourself.
For example, take 3 – 4 photos, check the results, make the model move the pose, adjust the lighting, touch-up the hair, then continue and so on.
This way, at the end of the day, you will not end up with overexposed photos or photos that are just too similar.
6) Do not over depend on retouching
Do not go to the studio or the photoshoot with the “I-will-fix-any-mistakes-later-in-photoshop” mentality.
Try not to over depend on retouching in your work.
Focus on the here and now when you are taking the photo and fix any mistakes immediately instead of fixing them post-production. This will give results that are more professional and take your work to the next level. A little retouching here and there will not harm anyone, just try not to over-rely on it.