Everyone always asks me what camera I use, and how I edit my photos.

I recently was scrolling through Instagram the other day and a hairstylist with quite a big following posted the following, “stop editing your photos”, then he went on to explain how it doesn’t create realistic expectations for the clients.

Pay attention to this next photo. Both of them were shot in the exact same spot at the exact same time. I shoot with a Canon Rebel, and you can adjust the lighting (ISO) to let more light in, or if it’s overexposed, reduce lighting.

Is this considered editing? Or would you consider it just finding the correct lighting to represent your work?

When I was taking this photo I did not even adjust my settings. I do have a ton in natural lighting, and I take multiple photos of each pose. Sometimes the focus or the lighting changes for you without even knowing what you did.

The photo on the right was way warmer than it actually looked in person, while the photo on the left was too dark and too cool.

So in order to represent my work accurately, I chose the warmer photo and reduced the warmth just a tiny bit. I always teach my students if you’re going to edit your photos, so much of a great shot is lighting. However, make sure you edit so it represents your work.

If you are a solid artist and stand behind your work, you know you can deliver the photos that you are representing.

It’s marketing.

I always take the opportunity to look at a photo of my work or my team member’s work, and ask a simple question, “is this the best it could be, or could I improve?”

Meaning, sometimes there are moments I look at my photos and think, “I don’t like this dark piece, or next time we definitely need to do a toner.”

It actually helps me become a better artist. There is always room to learn and grow.

This is one of the first hair photos I posted on Instagram about 6 years ago. When social media started, most artists did not take before and after photos.

Sure, large salons in LA, New York, and any major city would build a portfolio using professional photographers, and you better believe those photos were edited.

When I look at this photo now I think WTF… I would not buy this product, although in person I’m sure I was extremely proud of my work.

So remember you can’t improve as an artist unless you can look at your work in a photo and give yourself feedback.

And no one in the marketplace knows how good you are unless you show them.

The only thing I use to edit the photos in this post was with the iPhone. Apps I like are Facetune and Snapseed.

Let’s be real for a minute. When you’re going through somebody’s feed on IG, and you think, “oh my God their feed is just so pretty”, ask yourself, “is it because they’re doing 25-year-old models?”

For the majority of us, this is not realistic. And what girl doesn’t like a little face tune to smooth over her skin. But be careful not to over edit – I’m sure we’re all guilty of this at some point playing around at night with different apps. All of a sudden things start to look a little cartoonish.

So much of a great photo can be corrected with lighting equipment and angles. Every now and again all the stars align, and the photo is absolutely perfect!

Oh, and the client just happens to be 25 😉

Working with many photographers over the years, I’ve learned a little bit about camera settings, lighting, and posing. I don’t consider myself a photographer but I can take a decent headshot, and have trained my eye for good lighting.

We use different backdrops at my salon, and move them throughout the day based on where the lighting looks the best. It’s hard to have a consistent spot for natural lighting.

A trick a photographer actually taught me when looking for the light is to take out your cell phone and take multiple shots of your hand in front of your face. You’ll immediately notice where the light looks the best, and this is where you should face your subject. Over time you won’t need to do this, and you will have just trained your eye.

Now for those of you that are reading this and think, “yeah, but I work till 11 PM at night…how do I get the good shot?”

First off, why are you working that late?

Value your time. Create boundaries for yourself, and stick to them.

However, I get it. In the winter or crappy weather, lighting can be a little bit trickier.

Although I love natural lighting, you can use things like box lights, ring lights, and backdrops to help.

Here is an example of photos I took at night: (and yes… they both are very Beautiful which doesn’t hurt the shot 😉 )

If you’re going to do photos at night, three-point lighting is the best. Meaning you need three points around the subject lit.

We use a large box light and a ring light close to the face. A box light is kind of a pain in the ass because it’s large and bulky, but if you have room in your space you could mount it on the wall and have that be your designated spot for night time.

Bottom line is, get in the habit of taking before and after photos on each client.

Even if you don’t use every single photo for marketing it will help you become a better artist and a more experienced Photographer.

Better equipment and lighting, less editing.

Here is some of the  equipment I currently use:

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We are an upscale hair extension and hair color boutique only. I currently have seven artists on the floor, all of whom have been doing hair for over 10 years and are not new to hair extensions, or NBR. Each artist works with 1 to 2 assistants at a time to ensure the overall experience and quality for the client.

I currently only take 5 to 6 clients a week but would love to work with you if you would like to personally schedule with myself.

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