HAIR BIZ editorial feature Aug / Sept 2019
Kym Krey from Mocha Publishing and HAIR BIZ Magazine talks to ANNISS+BARTON, to dissect the secrets to successful photoshoot and hair collection.
FEATURED IN HAIR BIZ MAGAZINE – AUG/SEP 19
THANKS to Kym Krey & Linda Woodhead at HAIR BIZ MAGAZINE & MOCHA Publishing
Sometimes its good to stand out and be different.
We love it when we a collaborative team comes together and creates something magic.
SECRETS OF THE SHOOT – with ANNISS+BARTON (words by KYM KREY – Mocha Publishing)
With the hustle and glamour of photographic award season now behind us for 2019, many will begin thinking about the process for 2020.
Maybe you’ve entered before but have yet to walk away with the trophy and are looking for expert tips on what that level of success takes. For some, this will be your first venture into the photographic shoot arena and you’re looking for guidance on how to get started. Even if you’ve never aspired to creating a collection, knowing how to create great unique photographic and video content for your social media and general marketing is such an important skill to master in today’s digital world, but who teaches you these skills?
We spoke to Photographic Wizards, Kurt Anniss and Nathan Barton to get the advice, direction and inside tips you need to get you well on your way. Kurt Anniss and Nathan Barton have been meshing their unique styles for over 10 years. Taking Kurt’s shoot-from-the-hip, amorphously artistic approach and combining it with Nathan’s keen eye for detail and style, it’s no wonder this Melbourne based duo is in high demand from the best in the industry, like Kobi Bokshish, Uros Mikic, Joe Habbaki and Stevie English. Here they share their wisdom and experience on all things photographic with Hair Biz Editor, Kym Krey.
WHY DO YOU THINK CREATING QUALITY IMAGERY IS SUCH A CRUCIAL ELEMENT FOR SALONS TODAY?
As we all know, the world is more connected now than ever and so the old adage– a picture tells a thousand words, could not ring truer. Hairstyling is 100% visual. You can try to evoke an image as to what your style is or how you want your work to be viewed but, just like when reading a book, everyone visualises differently. With strong, quality imaging, you send the exact message you want, rather than relying on third party product branding. Countless competitions are available to hair artists. With potential national and international exposure obtainable via print and online publications, careers of rising stars can absolutely be launched. The notoriety, both local & global, and the influx of clients this brings to a salon is invaluable.
Of course, to compete against the best of the best, the most superior of images are an absolute necessity.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES YOU SEE BEING MADE IN OUR INDUSTRY?
Hairstyling can be somewhat of a solo art; it is often forgotten that “teamwork can make the dream work”.
Talented artists are putting loads of effort and money into what they think will be a great shoot, only to be let down by one or more components that just don’t see the shoot reach its full potential.
Collaborating with great talent – models, photographers, stylists, make- up, is as essential as using quality ‘real’ hair for a wig or weft. The costs will likely be higher, but you will get a far superior final product – and if done well, the return will outweigh the initial expense.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE HAIR INDUSTRY AND WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT WORKING WITH HAIRDRESSERS?
It was a classic case of who you know, not what you know. It all started with a contact who worked for L’Oreal which afforded us the opportunity to shoot with the one and only Mr. Benni Tognini. His warmth, patience and advice will stick with us for the rest of our careers.
From there, we started shooting collections for Hair Expo, which in turn snowballed and evolved into both the editorial and commercial sides of hair fashion photography. It’s amazing how well the slightly wild and insanely creative hair industry suits our personalities and style. We love working with such dynamic artists and in an ever-changing industry. And to be honest, we don’t think we’re half bad at it.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE FOR HAIRDRESSERS & BUSINESS OWNERS WITH MINIMAL EXPERIENCE IN CREATING CONTENT?
Understanding your brand is the first step. Your content will develop from the aesthetic and/or message that you or your salon want to be known for.
When starting out, there’s no need to stop to tie your shoelaces, just start running. Spit ball. Seek out unusual sources to spark your imagination. Accept advice from those who’ve tread the path before you. And reconcile with yourself that not every piece of content will be from a professional shoot. With such formidable competition for viewership, no one has the time or money to produce professional images each and every day. Shooting your own images on your phone for your Instagram page can be perfectly fine, but don’t put out content for content’s sake. Shoot what is pertinent. For example: if you are a blonde specialist, an image of a brunette with an edgy cut is going to confuse your followers.
When the time does come to produce more professional content, build your creative team carefully.
CAN STYLISTS CREATE REASONABLE CONTENT FROM THEIR SMART PHONE?
Absolutely. But there is still skill required. Photography literally means, “light-art”, so, as you can imagine, knowing how to shape light is crucial when showing off a stylist’s skills. But placing the light in the right direction or moving your model to suit the available light can create a pretty awesome result, even with a smart phone. That being said, much like a stylist who has trained in their field vs. Mum with the kitchen scissors, a professional photographer with the skill, right equipment and training, is generally always going to get the best shots.
HOW WOULD YOU SUGGEST SALONS COULD USE VIDEO EFFECTIVELY IN THEIR MARKETING?
Statistics don’t lie; video is certainly an important component in effective marketing. With the saturation of video platforms available, it is definitely an opportunity a stylist or salon can’t afford to miss when attempting to make a memorable digital presence.
Fun fact: On mute (and usually in the bathroom) is the most common way people watch their video content!
This being said, relevance is still of utmost importance and diversifying will generate the most success. An evocative still shot can be just as unforgettable as 15 seconds of action.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL TIPS OR RULES TO CONSIDER WHEN CREATING VIDEO RATHER THAN STILL PHOTOS?
For both mediums, planning is key. Concept, mood, a clear vision as to what the message will be must all be developed well before a camera is in anyone’s hand. With video especially, keeping the concept simple and to point will always produce the most effective content. PUTTING
TOGETHER AN AWARD SUBMISSION CAN BE DAUNTING, HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SUGGEST WE SHOULD ALLOW FOR THE PROCESS?
Shooting collections for an award submission is really our strength. We love to collaborate with creative hair artists and really produce the shoots, not just be the guys with the camera. A production team is definitely something to look for when putting together the team needed to pull off a winning collection shoot. Pre-production takes up at least 70-80% of a collection shoot. We suggest as much time as possible, a minimum of 4-6 weeks, to really delve into ideas, build the story and create a clear concept.
Choosing your creative team well is always important, but especially for a first timer. It takes a village, and of course you want your village to have the know-how, but gelling and being able to collaborate and communicate effectively is so, so important. You can only know this, of course, by meeting with your creative team, in-person, as much as possible.
WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR KEEPING THE SHOOT AS COST EFFECTIVE AS POSSIBLE?
It may seem like it would make sense to go the amateur route and save as many pennies as possible, but this is exactly the thought process that can backfire badly, and expensively. A professional model can pull off a look in just a few minutes while your pretty cousin with all those likes on her Insta but zero studio experience will generally require much more time to create a good image. Always remember that time is money. The same goes for your stylist, make-up artist and photographer. To be the top in your field, use the skills of those who are the top in their fields. There is no point in spending months of your life in pre-production only to create a sub-par final product. A second shoot day to fix the flaws would not be cheap! In saying that, we would suggest starting with perhaps a competition that requires one or two images, as this can keep the costs down and will act as a building block to a collection shoot at a later date.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO HAVE WELL PLANNED BEFOREHAND, TO MAKE THE SHOOT DAY GO AS SMOOTHLY AS POSSIBLE?
The short answer is: everything! As mentioned above, about 80% of a successful hair collection shoot happens before you even set foot in the studio. There are no short cuts, and why would you want to take any with so much at stake?
Start by creating a moodboard. This will serve as the narrative for the entire shoot. The team will use this as the foundation for the shoot, and every component will tell the same story.
However, as prepared as you need to be coming in, being adaptable will make shooting day far less stressful for the entire team involved and generally create better shots. It’s natural to want to stick to your guns–this is your vision after all– but you chose a photographer, make-up artist and stylist who know what they’re doing too, who are there to support you and make your collection look their very best.
I’d imagine that first timers would be quite nervous on the big day of their shoot which could make it difficult for their creativity to flow. Any tips for relaxing into the process and having a little more fun?Photoshoots are exhilarating and seeing your months (or even years) of preparation come to life in front of you is something you really want to take the time to appreciate properly. Nerves are just a symptom of how much you want this to all turn out. Remind yourself how well you’ve prepared, how skillful you are and how skillful the team you’ve chosen are. It is very likely not their first shoot and part of their job is to put you at ease.
And if none of that works, maybe a glass of champagne will do the job!
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AFTER THE SHOOT TO ENSURE THE IMAGES ARE READY FOR SUBMISSION?
Selecting the best collection of images shot throughout the day is a process unto itself. Usually to produce six terrific images, we recommend shooting around ten. Killing your darlings is one of the toughest things to do. It’s always wise to heed the advice of someone a lot less emotionally attached to the project i.e., your photographer. Don’t forget to see this as one of the most exciting parts of the process too, to see your vision there in front of you. No one hates the problem of having too many great shots to choose from (well, not too much).
Once you have selected the images that work the best as a collection, it’s off to retouching. Retouching should be used to compliment what’s created, it’s not a complete restructure. The retouching process is essentially about the subtle enhancements that draw the attention to all the right places. After your retouched images have been received. It’s time to submit, usually along with a written submission. You may want to go this part alone, or, just like with the rest of your creative team, you could be better off using the services of a professional.
So many decisions, right?
You’ve created group photoshoot days ahead of industry competition deadlines, designed to allow those just starting out to access a fully professional crew to get one great shot, including makeup and fashion styling for a fraction of the cost of an individual shoot.
Why are these such a great idea rather than trying to ‘go it alone’?
We’ve found these to be very successful, a great way for newbies to “dip their toe” into the competition circuit. Like taste-testing the wine before committing to buying the bottle you can get a snapshot of what works, what doesn’t, who you may want to work with in the future (or who you absolutely do not). Of course, not having to cover the costs of a full, professional-level photoshoot is very desirable and bouncing ideas off the other creative types in the room (or just checking out the competition) can also work to your advantage.
This kind of shoot also takes the edge off those nerves when it is time to really get your collection going.
IS THERE ANY OTHER ADVICE YOU WOULD OFFER TO SALON OWNERS REGARDING CREATING CONTENT OR ENHANCING THEIR BRAND?
Understand who your clients are, who’s attention you are trying to capture and what you want to say to them. Start with where your passion lies but ensure this will be embraced by the demographic you are attempting
to reach. To put yourself in your potential client’s shoes usually takes speaking directly to them- you know how much people love to speak about themselves! View what they are viewing and take note of what is succeeding and what is failing.
On the flip side, be careful of trends if they aren’t true to you. You don’t want to sacrifice everything that makes you ‘you’ for the sake of a five-minute fad.
You’ve created numerous collections recently for Australian Hairdresser of the Year with some achieving Finalist status.
Can you spot a winning image in those early stages and what is it that catches the judges’ eye do you think, when it comes to creating outstanding imagery?
It’s a pretty special moment when you capture one of those shots. The shot that, as soon it has been captured or is reviewed on the screen, you just know – it has that ‘wow’ factor.
It is difficult to put down in words what exactly it looks like because it is constantly changing but connection, the silhouette of the hair, the texture and “flow” in the image are what draws the viewer in, and, from what our experience has seen, captures a judge’s eye.
After months of planning, hours of shooting and days of retouching, seeing your work and that photo being appreciated by others, especially others who have the power to crown you a winner, is a feeling that you simply cannot get anywhere else.
Nothing makes us prouder to see the images we helped create, in print or up on the big screen – it’s the best feeling.
We hope you enjoy!!
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