The perfect scenario: you book a dream editorial with an amazing photographer whose work you know and love and get the creative freedom to do whatever you want and you quickly realize the pressure is on. Not only do you feel the pressure to produce your best work for the editorial but also to impress and build a long lasting relationship that’ll create future work.
So where do you begin to get inspiration?
When it comes to drawing inspiration for a hairstylist there are many popular media sites to help inspire you. Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Google Images are a great start, but overall the best guidance is paying close attention to the style of the editorial. This includes the roles of the entire creative team (model, wardrobe stylist, makeup artist, and photographer).
The most technical and creative person on the team is the photographer. All photographers have a specific image, or series of images, in their mind that they are trying to achieve, and while some are better than others at communicating what they want, it’s the job of the creative team to make it come to life. As a hairstylist it is important to know if the hairstyle will be in focus or if the main part of the hairstyling is just to smooth and tuck the hair away. Here is a photo shoot I worked on with Photographer Pierro Javechi and Model Miranda Assalley where the hair did not have a central focus and was smoothed and tucked away for the shoot.
Mood boards play an important role in bringing a creative team together. By providing examples of poses, wardrobe, hairstyles, and makeup, they allow the creative team to not only think about their respective roles, but also the role each team member will play in creating the desired “mood” of the shoot. Here is an example of a mood board created by Photographer Ella Dedegkaeva for our circus inspired editorial.
Another important thing to factor in is whether the shoot will be indoors or outdoors. Lighting plays an important role not only for photography and makeup but also for reflecting tones in the model’s hair. Textured hairstyles (wavy/curly, updos with overlapping designs, etc.) need to be able to reflect light and show dimension in order for the hairstyle to stand out. This is why I recommend having different colored hair wefts in your kit. The extra hair is not only great for fullness and adding length but dimension as well. Depending on the model’s hair color, whether dark or a single tone, you can add hair in small sections to highlight/lowlight and add dimension to your hairstyles. Here is an image shot by Ella Dedegkaeva for another editorial we worked on together. In this picture you can see that even in black and white, multiple tones in the hair plays a key role when bringing your hairstyle to life.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
As much as you plan, prepare and even practice your elaborate hairstyles before the shoot, it is important to keep in mind that nothing ever goes 100% as planned. Maintaining a flexible attitude will not only help you be a better team player but also allow you to “roll with the punches”.
Coming back to our Circus inspired shoot, the first surprise was wardrobe. I was imagining a sleeker and more reveling style, like most of the examples in the mood board, but our selected wardrobe was more vibrant and elaborate with a vintage twist. The outfits were beautiful and immediately made me rethink my approach. The second surprise was when meeting the models. We had a couple of new faces due to last minute cancellations. This turned out to be a great surprise when the new models had longer hair. I always prefer working with natural hair versus adding hair for length. Both are fine but I like the consistency in texture you get when working with natural hair.
The last surprise came when discussing makeup options. I always enjoy talking to the other creative people on the team, discussing our individual ideas and their plan of execution so we’re all on the same page. Communication is key when combining efforts to bring an “inspired” photo shoot to life. Key information to get from your makeup artist is what colors and style of makeup application they’re using (beauty, face painting, etc.). Here is one of my favorite images from this collaboration.
One thing I love to do after I add product and create the desired texture to the hair, but before creating the style, is to look at what the makeup artist is doing. By stepping back for a moment and seeing how the makeup is turning out not only helps reassure me about the way I had planned to proceed with the style but also gives me time to change anything, if needed, based on where the style of the makeup is going. As I mentioned before, nothing goes 100% as planned and you should learn to be flexible and work with all key elements at play here to achieve a great collaboration. After paying close attention to the wardrobe and seeing the way the makeup was going I started to think about the personality this woman would have living in this circus environment. It sounds a bit silly, but the more I thought about her personality, there more my creative juices began to flow. This type of woman would not have perfect hair, I thought. One of my all time favorite movies, Moulin Rogue, popped into my head and I finally had a clear vision for this shoot.
I wanted to create messy Victorian hairstyles. Hair that not only gave the impression of natural texture but also looked like she styled it herself. Maybe she brushed it or maybe she didn’t. The results were amazing. I had an incredible time collaborating with this team. This is still one of my favorite shoots.
By giving myself that time in the beginning and by observing everyone else’s work I was able to rethink my approach and anticipate multiple hairstyles to mirror both the stylist’s and makeup artist’s work. This new mindset allowed me to change the model’s hairstyles very quickly which saves everyone time and helps a photographer like Ella to get all the images she wants while working with natural light.
Fashion magazines, hair/makeup tutorials, mentors and various media sites are only the beginning of what can inspire us as Hairstylists. Through a collaboration, inspiration comes from everyone involved and as a team, in order to succeed, being flexible and supportive of each other will ultimately produce your best work.
WHERE TIME STOOD STILL editorial published in Elegant Magazine
Photography by Ella Dedegkaeva
Model Rayna Rebrovic
Fashion Designer Tatiana Andrade
Makeup Artist Vanessa Talamantes
Hairstylist Reba Vera
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