Lens Crafters

Lens CraftersYour pictures should speak more than a thousand words about your talents, your business and your career dreams.

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I never thought in a million years that Paula Abdul would ever say something unforgettable, but on a recent showing of American Idol, she did just that. If you’re lucky, she related, you’ll do something really great in your life. And if you’re really, really lucky, the whole world will see what you’ve done. Go Paula! You only have to look as far as the thrilling NAHA submissions over the past several years to know that her observation rings true. Breathtaking images are one of the best ways to market your salon, inspire your staff and share your talented team with the world.

Shooting for the Stars

If you’re on a par with major product manufacturers, you already have a team of seasoned editorial stylists on staff, a mega-budget and the time needed to create wondrous works of art. But for all beauty pros working in the trenches who have hundreds of clients to tend to, payroll to meet, and day-to-day drudge duties to be performed, the road to greatness can be more challenging. Fear not! According to artistes already working behind the camera, beautiful images can still be had through ingenuity, volumes of passion and very little cash.

Prepping and Primping

“When prepping the hair, I give it a good blow-dry before reaching for any other tool,” says Ginger Boyle, renowned educator, photographic stylist, and owner of Planet Salon in Beverly Hills, California. “Because most photo shoots involve multiple hairstyles, I begin the session with a softly blown style, then perhaps one that’s curly, and then at the end, I take a flat iron to the hair to create an über-sleek finish. If you do the process in reverse, the hair can become overworked, and your end result will be compromised.

“Because photos are two-dimensional, you can create the illusion of three-dimensional images by adding subtle highlights and lowlights to the hair,” continues Boyle. “And in that regard, nothing can replace freshly colored, shiny hair. You also need to be careful when applying styling products. Subtly building them into the hair one light layer at a time will allow you to stop short of applying too much product, while invisibly enhancing the final results.”

Be a Penny Pincher

“There are so many areas where you can cut costs and still produce a top-notch shoot,” says Robert Lynden, president of Sole Icon Productions in Los Angeles, beauty and fashion photographer for L’Oréal Professionnel, Matrix, Sebastian Professional and other companies too numerous to mention. “Instead of renting an expensive studio, figure out a way to use your salon for the shoot. Work with up-and-coming fashion stylists to dress your models. Find agencies that will charge discounted fees for newer models. And recruit talented staff members to invest in the project in return for something other than money—tear sheets, images or whatever lights their fire…within reason, of course!” 

“If you’re going for a slick editorial look, you can also offset the cost of the photo shoot by using the images in marketing pieces, brochures, salon posters, press opportunities, and in your ads,” says Dwight Miller, international creative director of V L V T Academies, NAHA recipient and former international artistic director for Matrix, Zotos International and Pivot Point International. As for photography fees, Miller adds, “Photographers will tell you that they make $5,000 or even $20,000 a day, but don’t be put off by these inflated figures. All photographers have open days that they need to fill. They also know that you’re a small company with a small budget. Most will take these things into consideration and cut you a deal.”

—Jeryl E. Spear

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