Instagram is an important channel for a lot of stylists and hair artists, which only makes sense—a visual platform naturally fits well with a visual industry like hair!
Because it’s such a visual platform, stylists need to get good at creating and posting high-quality, compelling, inspirational photos that show off their work. Done correctly, this can help you attract new clients, build your brand, highlight your salon’s culture and voice, and fill your appointment book. But poorly-shot or boring photos can do just the opposite, sending potential clients running into the hands of a competitor.
Has this ever happened to you? Are you simply unsure of how you can improve your hair photo abilities so that you’re posting a gorgeous pic each and every time?
Below, we outline tips that you can use to up your instagram game and take better client hair photos for your social media strategy.
Tips to Get Better Instagram Hair Photos
1. Make it an experience for your guests.
The best photos that you’re ever going to get are going to be from your actual clients right after you’ve finished performing an amazing service on them. After all, that’s your target audience right there—the person sitting in your chair! And that means that you need to ask your clients to take their photos each and every time you see them.
Worried about being awkward? Do your best to get them pumped. Tell them how great their hair looks, get a few snaps, and show them the pictures so they can actually see how perfect their hair looks. Nine out of ten times, they’ll respond like, “WOW, that's MY hair? Can you send that photo to me?"
2. Focus on the hair, not the face.
A lot of your clients and customers are going to feel self-conscious about their photos being blasted out all over social media. In fact, 90% of your guests will not want to have their faces posted all over the internet, and you need to respect that.
Once you're done with the service and they are still in the chair, this is what you could say, "Your hair looks amazing! Would you mind if I snapped a few photos? I promise we won't show any face, JUST HAIR!" Usually, this works, especially after you’ve already shown them how amazing they look.
3. Use natural lighting.
One mistake a lot of stylists make when taking client photos is they take the photo right in the chair after the service is finished. Unfortunately, the lighting in many salons isn’t great for photos—especially if there’s a lot of harsh lighting or shadows going on. The result is that the photo does not accurately reflect how the color actually looks in person.
We always recommend that you take pictures with indirect, natural lighting. It does wonders!
4. Take photos against a solid background.
With any client hair photo, you want the focus to be on your client’s hair—not anything else! Photos where the client is still in the chair, or where the salon can be seen in the background can cause the hair to get lost amongst all the other details. And that’s no good.
Don’t have a plain wall in your salon you can shoot photos against? Luckily, you don’t need to just use a white wall. Buy a backdrop or scope out a perfect place to get indirect lighting, even if it's outside or down the hall!
5. Take a LOT of photos.
Once you’ve had a client agree to let you take their photo, you want to get as many usable photos as possible. So take more than a couple of pictures! Take 20; take 50,000 if your client will let you! This will come in incredibly handy when you need fresh content to post to your social channels on a rainy day.
Of course, you can’t just take the same photo over and over again. Try different angles, different poses, different styles (like braids), or quick hair accessories and hats so that you can get as much content out of each guest.
If your client doesn't mind her face being shown and she's a good representation of your brand, you can turn your phone around into selfie mode and have her pose in the camera. (We learned this from our collab master class with @mane_ivy).
6. Make the time.
We hear so often that people "don't have the time" to take pictures. It’s time we all stop with the excuses and make the time! If you want to bring in more customers and grow your business, you need to invest time and effort into your social marketing. If you are trying to bring more clientele to your chair, make time!
Tend to go right from one client to the next? Talk to your salon owner or booking staff about allotting 10-15 minutes extra at the end of your service to take photos.
7. Don’t be afraid to edit your photos.
A lot of stylists think that it’s cheating if they edit their photos before posting to social media, but we’re here to tell you that it’s perfectly fine. Not only does virtually everyone edit their photos—it is, simply put, a powerful tool in your arsenal.
We use an app called Facetune, which you’ve probably heard of, for most of our editing. One of the great tools in this app is the “whiten” feature, which lets you very quickly and easily clear up and bright background of any photo that you’ve taken to sort of smudge away any dinginess so the hair really pops and stands out. Similarly, if your client or model has any imperfections that they’re self-conscious about, you can use the tool to soften those, which can go far in helping her feel more at ease about you using her photos.
Facetune is the tool that we use, but there are a lot of others out there that you can try. If you’re particularly savvy, FaceTune can let you get a lot more granular and specific in your edits, for example.
The one important thing to note here is that you’re not editing the photo in order to lie to your audience (for example, by altering your client’s hair). You’re simply editing the photo in order to help the hair itself pop more and really show off your skill.
Want to learn more about how to improve your Instagram marketing game? Consider signing up for the Social Media & Powerful Brand Design in-class workshop, which will be taught by Jamie Sea and Evan Maguire on Monday, April 6th. In it, you’ll learn how to brand yourself, how to hire a graphic designer, how to observe the market and look for inspiration, design fundamentals, and so much more!