In the post-lockdown world, many teams are still opting to reduce the number of people on set as much as possible. Rhiannon D’Averc shares how models can style their own hair in emergencies!

When you’re heading for a photoshoot without a hair stylist booked in, what can you do? It’s important to figure out how to style your own hair, whether you’re having a one-off portrait session or you are working as a model. Not only is it a great skill to have when you know a hair stylist isn’t involved, but it might also save the day if your booked hair stylist doesn’t turn up!

Having said that, it’s obviously difficult to get salon-ready hair if you’re not a trained professional yourself. So, what can you do to fake it? Here are a few tips to help you to get it right.

1. Ask the photographer

If you’re a model who has been booked for a particular purpose, your photographer probably has a certain style that they want you to follow. They are likely to have a moodboard or at least some idea of the style they want, so ask them. If you’re sitting for a portrait session to build your own portfolio it’s more down to your personal choice. But you don’t have to decide on your own – your photographer can always help!

2. Look at your portfolio

If you’re a model who has been cast for a role, then you should probably look as similar to the majority of your portfolio images as possible, as this is what the casting decision has been based on. In other words, if all your portfolio images show you with long, red hair flowing over your shoulders, now’s probably not the time to reach for that bottle dye and try an updo. Again, if in doubt, ask the photographer.

3. Learn a simple, unfussy look

In most cases, wearing your hair down and simply straightening it or curling it will work wonders. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or time to do. For models who prefer to wear wigs or weaves, something simple again will work – for example, you could bring a straight wig and one in a more natural curly/afro style to provide options. If you own them and you have the space to carry them, you might as well!  Bring a few bobby pins with you and you instantly have the ability to transform the look into something more complex or exciting with just a few adjustments.

4. Head for YouTube

Here you will find lots of tutorials on how to do different hairstyles, such as more complex updos or period appropriate looks which might be suited to your photoshoot. You can often find tips on Pinterest as well. Make sure that the style fits the photoshoot or your hard work will be undone! And, this should go without saying, but ALWAYS practice before the day. As we all know from experience by now, following a YouTube or Pinterest tutorial can often lead to an epic fail, as these experts make it look so easy – but it isn’t! You might need to try a few different tutorials before you get your head around some of the more complex styles

And, again, don’t waste your time – make sure to check with the shoot team first that what you’ve got in mind will work. Why spend 15 hours learning how to do victory rolls only to find out that your photoshoot actually requires a flapper style?

Well, except that those victory rolls could come in handy at a different shoot, of course!

5. When you have your hair cut, consider the styling

If you have layers or bangs cut in, it’s a lot easier to style your hair in a specific way – for example, to create flowing Hollywood-style waves. But having it cut a certain way can also make it more difficult to try other styles.

If you leave the natural shape of your hair untouched and simply cut in a straight line at the bottom to remove split ends, you have more of a blank slate. This isn’t to say that everyone should go the blank slate route – just know what your own hair looks and feels like and how that makes it work in certain ways. The more practice you get in of different styles, the better. Consider this your model homework to get you ready for those moments in front of the camera – when you’re going out with friends, try a new style just to see what works and what doesn’t!

6. Bring a mirror and styling products with you to the photoshoot

If the journey messes up part of your hairstyle, you can redo it and keep it looking as good as it did when you left home. You can also redo anything that doesn’t work for the look if there’s been any miscommunication about the intended style. It’s much better to carry everything with you and not need to use it, than to be unprepared. Imagine if the shoot can’t go ahead because your hair doesn’t fit the brief – you definitely don’t want that to happen!

On a related note, make sure you know which products work with your hair and which don’t. Everyone’s hair is different. Whether you need coconut oil or frizz-free spray, dry shampoo or styling gel – research products, find out what works to fix any hair mishaps you might have, and always keep them on hand. Keep your hair in great condition in general and it will have your back in return.

7. Protect your look

If it’s very intricate, you could wear a headscarf over your hair while traveling to protect it from wind and rain! There are lots of cute ways to tie a headscarf that will keep you looking chic as you make your way to the shoot. Or, you could simply plan to arrive earlier and style your hair from scratch whilst on set.

8. If wearing your hair down, bring a hair tie

Being able to quickly scoop your hair into a ponytail will give you an extra look to try on set! Along with bobby pins, hair ties will always be super useful for switching things up quickly. This goes for models who wear wigs and weaves too! I can already off the top of my head name several occasions when a model with long, straight hair had to tie it back because all those beautiful locks were covering up some intricate details on the front of the clothes, which left the designer unhappy. Don’t be caught out!

These tips should help you to keep your hair under control on set, and give you a new talent to bring to the table. If you’re really serious about modelling, it might be worth taking the time to learn hair styling to at least an intermediate level. It means you have an extra skill to bring to each job, getting you bonus points in tricky situations and potentially increasing your value in the eyes of your clients.

For more tips about photography and modelling, follow Rhiannon on Twitter @rhiannondaverc

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