Genres, Impact, Personal Preferences
I wouldn’t say that I am quite a hair fetishist, yet this comes close. In my photographic work, the element “hair” is incredibly important. 9.5 out of 10 times I prefer to shoot a subject with long hair (if I get to choose this aspect).
Of course, I like women rocking cropped hairstyles. They are able to convey a totally different message right off the bat like power, standing out, rebel and more. Yes, I know these are common clichés pouring out of a guy’s mind without previous reflection. But in story telling simplified outlines can make all the strong differences.
Hair Styles In My Work
Personally, I find long hair to be more attractive in many delightful ways. Now on the practical side, it helps to better form a message of a photographic series (more about that in just a minute).
In my imagery, I want this magnificent head of hair to be perceived as silky, fragrant, attractive, tempting and sexy – supporting femininity and overall beauty. And yes, sexiness and femininity are not mutually exclusive!
Except from a few conceptual approaches, the hair is never intended to be the center of attention. It is a heavily needed (and desired) ingredient for the completion of a story/message/mood. This is all true but it is not the USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Hair Styles In Various Genres
Most of the women photography genres that I stroll in are having the whole subject as their USP. It is a rather holistic approach selling the personality. Be it in form of Portraiture work (= tighter framing) to teasing Glam (= allure on location) or charming Boudoir (= natural sensuality). But in any of these styles hair supports the allure and emotive storytelling strongly.
Only in cases of shooting Classic Nudes with a sculptural/statuesque twist or Bodyscapes, the hair plays no role at all. Quite on the contrary, hair needs to be removed (pinned up to a bun or the like) as much as possible in order to reveal/preserve various body lines such as, for example, an elongated neck line, shoulder areas, etc.
Hair Styles Help To Form The Message
From a practical, photographic standpoint, long hair is a fantastic “accessory” that endlessly helps you with storytelling, forming messages, and supporting moods. Despite the genre and across all styles, long hair is a versatile tool that can be deliberately deployed in order to precisely achieve the following aspects in almost scaringly easy ways:
- subjectively influencing the subject’s age,
- creating a conveyed mood like from tame to wild, innocent to temping, naïve to sophisticated and so forth,
- adding extended unique shapes and forms to a photograph. Fanning the hair, letting the model jump weirdly, twist, move or simply do a creative “head-banging” session.
Open wild mane, accurately styled, an innocent looking braid, soft and flowing – the hair’s shape and form is what massively influences the overall message.
Sample Shoot With Sabi
A few days ago, I organized yet another pleasant test shoot in order to get to know a new model for future potential projects. The model’s name is Sabi (Sabina), 24 years young, 170 cm tall, lovely personality, rather on the shy side when meeting new folks – but she can be very lively and bubbly, I heard. Anyway…
The two of us shot in a tiny hotel room using natural window light and I brought along my cheap LEDs to function as fillers. We had outlined a few different sets (well, rather “situations” as the room was very small and talking about “sets” would be bragging …), we chose some of Sabi’s styling based on our “mood intention” and shot for about 2 hours.
I selected Sabi as “new face” because of her wonderful hair, amongst other features. Since I had no clue about her personality, I was forced to do my selection based on the visible, obvious features. Sabi’s hair is strong and thick, slightly curled (well, wavy), long, and full of volume. Of course the test shoot wasn’t solely meant to be about her hair but rather an evaluation of all her features, including her personality, punctuality and some other pragmatic and practical criteria.
Working different situations, I felt the need to vary Sabi’s hair style more purposefully. So every now and then, this urge led to shooting some small segments where I was intentionally creating different messages within the same series.
Do You Need A Hair Artist?
It depends. Not necessarily but sometimes it is a must-have. I recommend a hair artist for the following situations:
- You work on a professional production. Every additional team member is speeding up the process; every pro is doing her/his best in their domain. In short, there is no way of not working with a team of pros when producing a big shoot.
- You want to have another pair of eyes on the set, helping you to control the details. Believe me: you most likely will miss little things all the time. It’s not only the hair but also styling aspects and automatically occurring makeup “incidences”.
- You need to very precisely achieve a specific look. A model is not always able to deliver/create the results you are wishing for by doing the hairstyling herself.
- A model has heavy, thick, and straight hair but you want to have it glamorously wavy and big .
- A model has very thin, “bad” hair but you want to get something more appealing than just a few “strands of hair” on her head. My tip: Simply don’t book those models if you can avoid it.
- Client commissioning: When shooting portraiture work or similar, a MUHA (see below) is a helpful addition to relax your client and a professional help to get the best preparation for a successful shoot.
Note: Private commissioned photos are not only about the results but also (strongly) about the experience your client lives through – it’s an exciting event for them (and a bit scary too)!
Hair Artist/Makeup Artist: Most of the time, except for huge productions, Makeup Artists and Hair Artists are the very same person/role, called MUHA (Makeup + Hair Artist).