Building Your Online Bridal Hair Portfolio: How to Take Instagram-Worthy Photos
We all know that these days, our online presence is integral to having a successful business. Brides love to flick through magazines, but when it comes to finding bridal hair inspiration and booking their bridal hair and makeup artist it is now almost always off the back of an amazing online portfolio and lots of 5* reviews.
Instagram is the perfect platform for bridal hairstylists, essentially offering a shop window for the world to browse. The only problem is, there is an awful lot of competition you’ll be going up against. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make Instagram work for your business, it just means that you’ve got to go at it like a pro and really make the most of all it has to offer.
As an image-based platform, your Instagram photos MUST be exceptional. Taking clean, clear, bright images with a strong sense of your brand is the first step you must take to create an online portfolio that gets those all-important views, follows and shares.
As a bridal hairstylist, you will have loads of gorgeous things worth taking photos of: your amazing hairstyles; accompanying bridal makeup; beautiful hair accessories and bridal wear and not to mention those stunning brides in their fabulous wedding locations (just make sure that you get their permission first!). It’s just a matter of knowing how to take those photos and edit them in such a way that it makes a winning image.
Fortunately, there is a science behind this. You don’t have to be the best photographer in the world with a fancy photography kit to take Instagram-worthy photos for your online portfolio, you just need a bit of insider info, which we’re going to share with you in today’s blog.
Use these tips that are easy enough for anyone to follow to build an online bridal hair portfolio on Instagram that will make a huge difference to your business…
Make a Plan
Going at Instagram all slap-dash and spontaneous might seem like a great idea and it’s fine if that’s way to do things on your personal account, but your business account, as with anything work-related, is always far more effective with a proper plan of action.
Before you even set about uploading your first post on your business Instagram, you’ll seriously benefit from figuring out what you’re doing there, who you’re targeting, and what your brand is about.
Even an individual hairstylist or makeup artist should consider themselves a brand to grab the attention of your target audience. Think big, be big!
Once you’ve done this and your stream is full steam ahead, you may even want to consider preparing and scheduling your posts, rather than just doing it as and when. This way, you can make sure that you keep in line with your plan at all times and you never miss a valuable day of Instagramming!
Always Well Lit
One way to make sure that your photo looks terrible is to take a snap in poor lighting. Don’t do it! There’s simply no reason to and it never looks good.
You don’t need to have a full studio set-up to take beautifully lit images; often natural lighting is the best source of light there is. If you’re taking a photo of a client to put on your Instagram, ask their permission first of all and then ask them to step into a well lit space, whether that’s at a window or outside.
Your chance to draw in potential clients on Instagram comes down to what your photo looks like as a tiny thumbnail in-amongst all the other pictures and a dull, dark, poor quality images simply isn’t something that anyone is going to want to take a closer look at.
Do you work justice and take a few extra minutes to take a photo worth posting, otherwise it’s really not worth taking atall.
Embrace Negative Space
Just as an image needs to be well lit to capture the eye on Instagram, it also needs to be appealing to look at and often background clutter is enough to make people scroll on. A messy photo can be hard to take in and it certainly won’t help to highlight your beautiful styles.
A gorgeous backdrop or even a behind the scenes shot can work really well, but you’ll notice on some of the most successful Instagram feeds that images with very little going on in it other than the main subject are frequently the most popular. This is down to the magic of negative space.
Embracing negative space basically means not shying away from empty areas in a photo. Try standing your client in front of a plain white wall, or completely clear the space around them for a more aesthetically pleasing image. This also works really well for product and tool shots, if that is something you would like to try.
Use Editing Apps
If you think that your favourite Instagrammers upload photos fresh out of their camera or phone, think again. It is very rare that a fabulous image is free from editing. It might be just some very subtle tweaking of the light balance, details and contrast or it could be quite a bit more.
Don’t freak out if you’re not a photoshop whizz-kid. Thanks to a bucket-load of nifty apps that you can now download straight to your phone, photo editing is easy.
We love Snapseed for it’s straightforward, user friendly tools that can transform a photo in a matter of minutes. Pinpoint areas to light up or dim down, bring out the vibrancy or add a filter or frame for a fun effect.
Following on from our point on editing your images, when doing this, do your best to keep your editing consistent throughout your Instagram feed.
Take a look at Instagram streams you follow and observe how all of their photos have a strong look carried through them. This might be down to their photography style or, more commonly, it is down to keeping their editing choices the same throughout.
Throwing in random filters for each post can leave your feed looking haphazard and messy. This is not something that people enjoy looking at! You need to consider your stream as a whole, like a book or a shop window and dress it accordingly.
Choose a signature look and stick with it for best results.
Use Your Phone Features
Aside from editing apps, your phone actually comes with some clever in-built features that are designed to help you take a better photo. There’s nothing complicated about it and they’re well worth using, so start today!
The latest iPhones have a portrait mode which will give you fabulously crisp clear images of the hair and makeup and will actually blur out the background so even clutter in the background looks good!
Alternatively, turn on your grid function. This brings up a square grid whenever you go to take a photo, which means that you can line up your subject in a far more symmetrical way or draw attention to bits you want to stand out. Pro photographers will tell you that keeping the main point of interest right in the centre or in a corner surrounded by negative space is the best way to utilise this.
Burst mode is another good one to try out if you’d like to capture some action shots at an event. This feature will allow you to use a fast shutter speed to take lots of quick images – you can then choose to best moment to save and use.
Keep it Simple
Over-edited shots can be very unappealing, particularly if you’re not that great at doing it. Be conservative with filters and how strong you make them – less is more.
Maintaining a more natural look with subtle changes to bring out the very best in a photo is the best way to go for a stunning Instagram feed.
Practice & Play
Just like we say with bridal hairstyling, practice makes perfect, so always be taking photos. If you want to improve a skill, there’s no better way that by playing around with it, having fun and doing it every day.
Make taking creative photos part of your daily routine and take time to really look at your favourite Instagram feeds and emulate the look they’re using. Eventually, you will develop your own style, but experimenting with looks that you know you like and trying to understand what makes them work is really helpful.
Practice, practice, practice! You’ll get better all the time.
Look for Moments
If you’re not used to taking photos, you might find yourself waiting for a shot to present itself to you, but really it’s down to you to go looking for the moments.
Switch on your creative brain and always keep an eye out for Instagram-worthy moments – something that tells a story, something that shows emotions or something that just looks gorgeous!
Use your eyes before the lens and consider the best composition, lighting and angle before taking a picture. This will help you take less throw-away photos and more worth using, making your time choosing which to upload far more efficient.
The more you train yourself to do this, the easier it will become. Start looking at the world through a photographer’s eyes. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your skill develops.