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Building Your Online Bridal Hair Portfolio: How to Take Instagram-Worthy Photos

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…


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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.

Thinking about doing a bridal hair photo-shoot?

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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.


Want to know more about how to win at Instagram?

Read our business Instagram tips…

Be Consistent

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.

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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.

Practice Makes Perfect!

Keep practicing your bridal hair skills…


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.

Bridal Makeup for 2018: The Create Beautiful Hair Favourites

Bridal Makeup for 2018: The Create Beautiful Hair Favourites

Now that we’re well into the swing of 2018, it’s time to start really getting to grips with the bridal makeup trends that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of and the looks that you need to know if you want to be that bridal makeup artist that every woman wants to book for their big day!

A small number of your brides will request a ‘natural’ bridal makeup look, but as a bridal makeup artist you’ll have to keep up with current trends.

Smoky eyes are big, full lashes are gorgeous, and beautiful brows essential for all but your more mature brides. Fashion is always changing and although to the un-trained eye it may not appear all that different, it’s the subtle nuances and being on top of the hottest trends that will really set you apart from the rest.

Make sure that you have the very best bridal makeup looks up your sleeve for 2018, with this list of some of our favourite styles for the year ahead

bridal makeup

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Go for Grey 

For many brides out there, although they love a striking smoky eye on a night out they don’t really see it as a viable option for their big day. Until now, the answer to that has usually been a lighter version in neutral taupe and beige hues but for 2018, the browns are out and the greys are in.

A soft grey shadow is such a flattering tone on almost any eye colour and skin type and it is undeniably sexy, without being too obvious.

Keep it diffuse with lots of blending and pair it with a pale pink lip and glowing skin to keep it looking fresh.

bridal makeup

Super Dew 

We’re all familiar with glowing skin, but 2018 has just knocked it up a notch! It’s more than just a hint of highlighter now, with this dewy base trend looking less like a subtle shimmer and more like an out-of-the-gym health kick. We’re not talking that sweaty, frazzled style though – think goddess on a hot summer’s day.

Try adding a dab of gold powder or a particularly gold highlighting cream mixed into the foundation. We love the new highlighting powder by Illamasqua ‘Beyond Deity Powder’ for a lightweight, iridescent shine.

bridal makeup

A Bold Lip

Who doesn’t feel like a stronger woman for wearing a powerful red lip?! If your client happens to be one who never wears vibrant lip colours then her wedding day is probably not the time to start, but if she has that bold streak and loves to apply a vibrant lipstick for an important meeting or hot date night, then it’s time to introduce some of that confidence as she walks down the aisle.

As a bridal makeup artist, it’s part of your job to get to know your bride at her trial run and find out what she really wants, not what she thinks she should have. If she’s not averse to giving it a go, try a bright red lip in a hue that suits her skin tone (match the red, blue or neutral undertone of their skin to the lippie).

bridal makeup

Strategic Highlighter

Highlighting and contouring is nothing new, but adding a pop of quite obvious white highlighter to the inner corners of eyes and across the brow bone teamed with otherwise ‘barely there’ bridal makeup is a fresh take on it.

This is a step away from that natural glow that highlighting is often used to achieve and a step towards a deliberately ethereal edge that really makes the eyes stand out.


Metallic Eyeliner

Skip the black and brown liners and instead, opt for a metallic sweep along the lash line for a contemporary change.

Keep those lashes looking thick by building up a neutral tone (two shades darker than the skin tone) along the lashes and in the eye socket before finishing off with a gold or silver liner.

bridal makeup

Strong Brows

Noticeable brows have been a thing for a while now, and this is set to continue for 2018 bridal makeup trends.

There are a number of options to go for with this: strong and defined, natural and feathered, or precise and tapered. Whatever you and your bride choose, the key is to keep it deliberate. ‘Natural brows’ does NOT just mean leaving them to do their own thing, just like ‘no makeup makeup’ actually involves…well…a fair amount of makeup.

bridal makeup

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Bridal Makeup Artist Expert Prep Tips from Pam Wrigley

Being a bridal makeup artist is an amazing job, but quite a challenging one too! It’s up to you to create the best makeup look that your bride has ever had, so it’s important to get every single step right, from prep to finish.

For bridal makeup that is flawless and lasts throughout the day and night, the most important thing is thorough prep and skilful application – without the perfect base to work with and all the little tips that make all the difference, you won’t be able to create a perfect overall look.

Usually, discovering the small things that take your makeup skills a step above the rest can only come from experience, trial and error, but award-winning makeup artist Pam Wrigley is happy to share her pro knowledge with you that she has developed with her 20+ years in the industry.

To become an incredible bridal makeup artist, who wows your clients every time, join us on one of our bridal makeup courses for expert training with Pam Wrigley.


Until you can come along to our bridal makeup course, try using these expert makeup prep tips used by Create Beautiful Hair’s bridal makeup artist trainer, Pam Wrigley:

bridal makeup artist


Primer is a must for makeup artists – it minimises pore, smooths the surface and creates a barrier between the makeup and the skin to avoid oils and sweat allowing makeup to slide off.

Pam says

“I love Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer – it is a lovely moisturising start for dry skin which will leave your client’s face feeling plump, fresh and hydrated.

As we approach the menopause our skin can become dryer and more delicate, so using a primer is even more important on mature skin faces.

Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer is great for oily skin as it will help to keep the oil at bay and will help to disguise enlarged pores. Cosmetics a la Carte Matte Miracle is another great option for oily skin as it is a beautifully light oil absorbing gel that you can use on the t-zone to prevent getting shiny on camera.

If your bride has very open pores, Porefessional by Benefit really does what it says on the tin! Say goodbye to large pores, fine lines and wrinkles – it literally fills them in and makes them disappear!”

bridal makeup artist


Eyes are the window to the soul and so your clients are going to want these to look absolutely perfect on their wedding day. Smokey eyes, vintage eyeliner or soft and natural – all require an eye primer and amazing eyeshadows.

Pam says

“As we get older, the skin on our eyelids often becomes fine and – lets face it – a bit wrinkly! Eye primers are key to smoothing eyelids out and smoothing out creases, but pick your products carefully – there are lots to choose from!

Inglot Eyeshadow Keeper is, in my opinion, the best eye primer for mature skin. It is light, colourless and doesn’t look at all heavy or crepe-y on the delicate skin of the eyelid.

When it comes to colour, matte eyeshadows and eyeshadows with a gentle shimmer work best, but avoid eyeshadows with a lot of shimmer and glitter as these do not work well in photos.

Mac do a great range of paint pots. Painterly looks great on English Rose complexions, but be sure to build it up gradually as this product can be a bit heavy on the delicate skin around the eye.

Avoid liquid eyeliners and pencil eyeliners. Instead, try applying a dark eyeshadow using a sharp angle brush along the lash line for a soft, sultry yet defined look that stays put. Liquid eyeliners give a harsh line and can highlight wrinkles on the lid and eye pencils can drag the skin on the eye lid.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara is fabulous: clump proof, waterproof, cry proof, sleep proof and 100% smudge proof – it just doesn’t move and is totally perfect! All you need to do is add a couple of individual lashes to finish off the look.

As an added bonus, it also comes off easily with just little bit of warm water without even having to rub.”


Many a bridal makeup artist goes horribly wrong when it comes to foundation and blush – even being slightly off in your colour choices can ruin the whole look.

Pam says

Cosmetics à la carte skin tints are excellent. Super light weight but with good coverage and they come in a wide range of shades to suit all skin tones. Build them up on the skin bit by bit to give extra coverage as and when you need it.

Bobby Brown cream blushes are my favourites – you only need a touch on the apple or along the cheek bone for a lovely, natural hint of colour and dewiness.



The brows, lips and highlighting add the finishing touches to your bride’s makeup look!

Pam says

“Avoid going heavy or dark with brows – keep them

bridal makeup artist

understated but still there. Forever Makeup do a great brow palette containing three powders, a wax, a highlighter/concealer and a great double sided brush for prefect application. Remember less is more!

Go easy on the highlighter – just a very subtle touch of a la carte shine illuminator on the cheek bone can be beautiful and make all the difference.

Keep lips simple by simply choosing a colour that your client loves, but steer clear of gloss, go for moist instead.”

The Trial Run: Make Sure Your Bride is Happy with Her Hair & Makeup

Trial Run Tips for a Happy Bride

Doing a trial run with a bride-to-be can be a bit daunting, for both the bride and also for you, whether you are doing just hair, just makeup or both!

There’s no denying that an awful lot of pressure can fall onto this one day, with you wanting to get it right and the bride wanting to find that dream look that she’s been after, but remember, the most important thing is that you both relax and enjoy it.

It is flattering to be selected as hair and makeup artist for someone’s wedding day, but if they’ve booked in a trial run with you you’re already off to a good start – clearly, this bride thinks your work is fabulous, so own it! You’ve totally got this.

We know that telling you to relax and know that you’re great is easier said than done, so as Part 1 of our trial run blog series, we’ve put together a list of more practical tips that you can draw upon when you need a bit of guidance.

trial run

Talk it Through


The number one pointer for making sure that your client is happy is to always have an excellent line of communication, from beginning to end. From the moment of first contact whether that’s via email, over the phone or maybe even face to face start asking questions to try and figure out what it is that your bride is after.

Ask lots of questions

This extends to so much more than simply asking about her hair and makeup preferences, some brides will know exactly what they want and others will have no idea, be reassuring – let them know you’ll be happy to try different ideas until they find a look that they’re happy with.

Whilst asking questions, be careful not to be too full-on, as this can be a little overwhelming and remember to listen as well.

If you’re going to be styling hair – ask them to send you a few photos of the sorts of hairstyles they like, this will give you the opportunity to practice the styles before you meet your bride.

Body Language

Once your bride is with you at the trial run, hopefully you will have some idea of where to start. Be observant and watch out for any tell-tale signs that she’s not comfortable or that she likes what you’re creating, as many brides aren’t that vocal! It’s up to you to do the talking and to give her the space to say (honestly) what she does/doesn’t like.

trial run

 Wedding Makeup Trial


When it comes to creating beautiful makeup that your bride is going to love, Pam always recommends doing the trial during the day.

9 times out of 10 your bride will be getting married in natural light, so she needs to know what her makeup is going to look like during the day for full confidence in the overall style.

Do the makeup in front of window so you have lots of natural light. You don’t want bright sunlight as it bleaches everything out but you do want good, even, natural light.

If you’re bride isn’t sure about her makeup when you finish, ask her to go and look at her makeup in her usual makeup mirror and remember, it’s best to leave the makeup to settle a little bit on the skin first.

Get lots more makeup tips and tricks on how to achieve the perfect bridal makeup on our Bridal Makeup Course with Pam Wrigley.

Make Notes

There’s an awful lot to remember during a trial run, so whatever you do, don’t rely on your memory! You could be doing the trial run months before the big day so unless you’re superhuman, you’re probably not going to be able to recall that shade of lipstick she adored or the genius way you managed to achieve her dream ‘do whilst still covering up her ears just the way she wanted. Make your life infinitely easier and keep your bride happy on her wedding day by writing down every little thing about the finished look that you need to know to recreate it exactly, later on.

Remember: Its the small things that make the hair and makeup perfect for that individual person – so write down the detail!

Our hair planners and makeup planners are specially designed by Pam Wrigley for this very purpose – you won’t find another that is more comprehensive! Pam knows, from her 25 years experience in the industry, just what you need to make a note of, so these are truly invaluable for any hair and/or makeup artist out there.

trial run

Take Photos


Something that many hair and makeup artists neglect to do is take photos for the bride to have a look at during her trial run.

If you’re not doing this, you’re really missing a trick!

Wedding photography is, of course, a pretty huge part of the wedding day and the bride wants to look as fabulous in those photos as possible, so don’t be shy in reassuring her with a few snaps.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – your phone will do – but giving the bride the opportunity to see how each hair and makeup look you try out looks on camera will avoid any nasty surprises later on.

Take photos from all angles, so she gets a complete overview of the whole thing.

Make sure you’re taking the photo in a flattering light!! It really does make all the difference.

trial run

Be Brave


It’s your job to be confident and brave with your choices, so focus up! Brides are often quite nervous during their trial run and they also might play it quite safe with their hair and makeup ideas, which won’t necessarily achieve the best result. Whilst you don’t need to go crazy with really ‘out there’ styles, it is a good idea to push her out of her comfort zone, just a tad, to see how she feels about it.

Brides regularly get an idea in their head about what they want or they find a photo of a style that looks gorgeous on the model in the image, but not so great on them. It’s times like this that you should be prepared to pull something out of the bag and maybe try angling her in a direction that you feel could work well.

Leave your ego at home!

Don’t force your ideas on her! It’s always good to try different ideas but give her the space to say she does or doesn’t like something, without being offended.

It’s our job to make sure our brides are 100% happy and although we know a lot about hair and makeup, your bride is the expert when it comes to knowing her own style. She needs to look in the mirror and love what she sees!

Good luck with your 2017 wedding season!

Pam’s Wedding Hair & Makeup Artist Guide to Getting The Bride Ready On Time

On the big day all eyes will be on the bride and it’s our job as wedding hair and makeup artists to stay calm and make sure she looks and feels totally fabulous! We all know that it’s not really about the groom and even the wedding dress is just an accessory…


The bride is the main feature of the day – not to put you under too much pressure!


With beautiful wedding hair and makeup either natural, glamorous or somewhere in between, you can help your bride to feel confident and gorgeous.

On the big day she’s going to be excited and a bit nervous, so applying make-up and styling hair is only part of your job. You need to make sure that she is ready on time, whilst helping her stay to relaxed and calm.

wedding hair

Your Wedding Hair & Makeup Kit

Make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey – factor in time for parking and make sure you have all your kit ready the night before.


Wedding Hair Kit: Always have plenty of hairspray, grips and hair pins, a selection of donuts, snag free elastic bands and a pair of scissors – not for cutting the hair, but to cut labels off dresses.


Bridal Makeup kit: Don’t run out of anything! Make sure you have the right colour lipstick and a good mattifying product such as Cosmetics a la carte Matte Miracle and some mattifying papers. I love the Kleenex shine off papers, so if she has oily skin give her a couple to pop in her bag.


I learned very early not to cut down my hair or makeup kit down on the day of the wedding; If you just take the items you need you might find you come unstuck when an aunty or even the MOB decides she would like her hair or makeup doing after all!

wedding hair
wedding hair

Record Keeping 

Whatever the size of your bridal party it’s your job to make sure everything runs smoothly on the wedding day. 


Once you’ve done the trial run you can make an action plan. Make things easy for yourself by using one of our wedding hair and makeup planners – essential for every wedding hair stylist!

Make sure you can re-create the hair style just the way she likes it with our detailed records sheets. Taking photos of the hair style only shows you the end result – in order to recreate the style to perfection you need to know how you got there…

  • Take step by step notes
  • Work out the timetable (so that everyone is ready on time!)
  • Keep it all on one handy sheet
  • Each plan has a carbon-less copy sheet below – one copy for you to keep & one for your client.


Buy our wedding planners here:

Wedding planner – Hair

Wedding Planner – Makeup 

wedding hair
wedding hair

First thing’s first – find out the time of the wedding

Once she’s chosen a style for her hair and a look for her makeup you can start the process of working out the timings for the day. Whatever you do, don’t let the bride decide what time she needs to be ready! It is your job to know best.


When you know the time of the wedding, find out how long it is going to take her to get there. Remember, if it’s a long drive and she’s going to be in a vintage car, they tend to take longer to get from A to B.

If she’s having a church wedding brides can usually get away with arriving a few minutes late, but if she is having a civil ceremony she will need to arrive 10-15 minutes before her ceremony for her interview with the registrar.

Next, you need to allow some time for the photographer to take a few photos. I usually allow approximately half and hour for this and then she’ll need an additional 10-15 minutes to get dressed. Factor in a bit of time to pop to the loo, have a glass of champagne and stop to take breather whilst she has a look at her flowers when the florist arrives.

Timings on the big day

For a 2 o’clock wedding with a 15 minute journey time you need to have her ready for 1pm, ready to step into her dress.

With this is as a guideline, your timings for the bride and 2 bridesmaids (with just hair for the bridesmaids) would look something like this:

7.30 arrive and set up

8.00 Curl Brides hair

8.30 Curl BM 2

9.00 Curl BM 1

9.30 style BM 2 hair

10.15 style BM 1 Hair

11.00 bride’s makeup

12.00 style bride’s hair

1.00 ready to get dressed

Once the bridal party has seen the timetable they will understand why we have to start so early and the bridesmaids are more likely to arrive on time!

wedding hair

Working with the Bridesmaids


It’s always a good idea to ask the bridesmaids to collect a few images of styles they like beforehand – so you can get a bit of an idea of what they are likely to want on the day and it’s worth finding out a little bit about the bridesmaids hair type in advance. For example, does anyone have an incredible amount of thick, heavy hair? If so, you can allow yourself more time to work with it.

If you are just starting out, it would be a good idea to ask them to send you a few images a week or so in advance, so you can practice the styles in advance and build your confidence before the big day.

You probably won’t have had the chance to do a trial for the bridesmaids, so this may be the first time you have been able to work on their hair.

Watch some of our quick style videos on Facebook to get some helpful hints and ideas for quick bridesmaid styles.

wedding hair

Dealing with Difficult bridesmaids

Stick to your timetable! Don’t allow yourself to be thrown of course by a difficult bridesmaid who doesn’t realise that this is not all about her.

If you feel you are running short of time and you haven’t quite finished her hair and makeup hold your nerve! Just let her know that you have to start the bride now but that you will come back to her when the bride is ready. Reassure her that you will make sure she is happy but let her know that you have to start the bride.

She’ll no doubt spend the next hour in front of the mirror and invariably will be almost sorted by the time you get her back in front of you anyway!