Hair Salon Shoot


Recently I did a shoot for some stylists at a local Ventura hair salon (Alejandro’s on Main St). I was originally contacted by Kris Young to shoot before and after images to promote her hair extensions services. The project later morphed into a cross-promotion effort as well, with these 16×24″ prints displayed prominently in the salon itself.

[click “continue reading” below for more…]

Another stylist, Joey Villegas, was enlisted to participate as well. Each stylist arranged for one of their clients to model, and we did the shoot at the salon on a Monday (when it was closed).

The before shots for model Mandy (above, but not shown) were done on a gray background, very flat lighting, and very ‘blah’. They were, after all, the ‘before’ shots! I upped the drama for the ‘after’ shots though, and this is the one we went with for the display prints. I believe the stylist selected a different one for her brochure, since it showed the length of the extensions better.

Below, stylist Joey arranged for his client Dana to come in and model his work. She’s got a ‘hair flower’ (I think it’s called) on her right side, which is sort of a temporary mini extension. Or perhaps it’s a hair garnish? 🙂 Anyway, it’s cute.


The lighting for the ‘after’ shots originally started out as clamshell lighting with a hair light and backdrop light. For those who don’t know, clamshell lighting is when you have a light directly above and in front of the subject, and either a reflector or light directly below to fill in the shadows. Usually the light ratios are pretty small though, with even lighting and non-dramatic shadows. I didn’t think this was working well though, and eventually just used a reflector instead of a strobe as bottom fill. It essentially became ‘butterfly’ lighting at that point, with some reflector fill underneath (it’s called “butterfly” for the shape the nose shadow makes on the upper lip…see the lead shot of Mandy for a good example. Although I fail to see how it looks like a butterfly). Since Dana turned her head away from the key light and camera, the same set up has turned into ‘loop lighting’. Whatever, it’s all beauty lighting.

Below is a set up shot. Alien Bees 800 in a brolly box (softbox that folds up like an umbrella) as key, directly over camera and subject on a boom. Reflector down below to fill in the shadows. Sb-28 on the backdrop, and another SB-28 in a cardboard snoot up high, camera left, as a hair light. SB-28s were triggered via CyberSyncs, and the AB800 was triggered optically (from the SB-28s through the brolly box, no less! That’s pretty sensistive!). You can see that we’re in the salon here. Camera position in this photo was off to the left. One difference between the two shots is that I used a red gel on the background light for Dana. But otherwise it was essentially the same.


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