May 2012

Clive Lamb

Food for Thought | by Clive Lamb


Preparation and Planning is Key to a Successful Photo Shoot 

Photo shoots are a great way to showcase your work and they don't necessarily have to be expensive. The key to a successful photo shoot is in the preparation and planning. 

Here are a few of my tips for a successful photo shoot: 

Gather your team. You'll need a make-up artist, photographer, clothing stylist and of course, hairstylists. Creative people are always looking for avenues to show what they can do -- so get out there and start networking with like-minded people.

Pool your talents so everyone has the opportunity to showcase their individual work. It makes the creative process more fun, everybody benefits from the exposure and it may not even cost you a dime.

Meet with your team. Discuss direction, theme and trend. Create a story board to visually show what you're discussing and to be sure that everyone is on the same wavelength. The story board should be themed by what inspires you, and have examples of each piece of the puzzle, such as color scheme, backgrounds, lighting, photography, make-up looks, hairstyles, clothing and special effects. Pull pictures from everywhere; inspiration is all around us.

Find Models. Great models make great photo shoots. Professional models are best, but if you're shooting strong cuts, modeling agencies may not allow it. Model calls or ads for shoots with strong cuts are usually a waste of time, so I tell my staff to get out and look personally.

You know what look you are going for, so the best way to find it is toa go out and find the people who fit. That's the only way to get exactly what you need and want.

Create the style/ haircut. What's most important here is to give yourself enough creative time. If it's a new haircut idea, make sure you have enough time to look at it again and again. Tweak it until it's PERFECT and never settle for anything less.

Use haircolor as an accessory. Color can make or break an image so use it wisely. Make-up should not clash with the haircolor so don't forget to communicate with the make-up artist.

Meet with your team again. Once the looks are complete, gather your team so everyone can visually see what needs to be done. Decide where the shoot should be -- on location or in a studio. If you're doing a location shoot, discuss the location, time of day that it is best to shoot, backgrounds and individual shot ideas with the photographer so that they can put together a shot list.

For outdoor location shoots, it's helpful to have the photographer scout the location prior to the shoot. This allows them to be familiar with lighting and other challenges that might arise on location and to bring the proper equipment. Give the photographer creative room for ideas but not creative freedom as it's a hair shoot and only you understand what you want to show.

If you plan to shoot outside, it's a good idea to have a back-up plan in case of bad weather. Discuss clothing and accessories. Remember, it's a hair shoot, so keep the clothing simple and accessories to a minimum -- the hair is the star of the show.

A clothing stylist is also a great person to have on your team, as they have good resources and can borrow items from their retail contacts. They will also dress the models and pull the entire look together.

Go over everything with your team. Make a list of the shoot schedule, products, tools and equipment needed, times, location, addresses and phone numbers- and make sure everyone gets a copy.

Day of Shoot.  Allow plenty of time for prep. Get as much done at the salon as possible because locations and studios don't always have the best facilities for hair and make-up. Have models arrive with clean hair, clean face and a 'front-opening' shirt. Make sure you've scheduled the models for enough time to get hair and make-up done. When prepping the models, keep hair products to a minimum to start, then build it up gradually. Don't overwork the hair. If it's not working, start over. If you're shooting on location, understand that the elements will have an effect on the hair - so be sure to bring the necessary tools and products to achieve the look you want.

Make sure you bring everything and anything you think you might need to the shoot. YOU are director and in charge- so be aware of everything around you.  If you see something that you don't like anytime during the shoot - change it. 

Most importantly - HAVE FUN with it.

Don't forget: If you Fail to Prepare...Prepare to Fail!

Clive Lamb owns and operates Clive and Co., a modern, thriving salon based in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Clive was appointed Chairman of the Texas Cosmetology Advisory Board in 2006, a position he held for five years. Clive has over 30 years of international exposure to the vast and constantly evolving hairdressing industry.