I met Kelsy at Fashion Week in New York a couple of years ago and as is customary in our culture, we “followed” each other on Instagram. I was immediately taken by her talent and the way she captured her own work with nothing more than an iPhone. It is creative and it’s warm. We have featured nothing more than a screen shot of her images on our Instagram account and I think it holds up to a lot of editorial work that we feature.
At the most, these shots are about her styling, setting, eye, and her iPhone. What I love about it is that she is putting maximin effort into her style out, so that her clients could seemingly walk out of a salon and walk right onto a photoshoot. Think of how that effects her clientele. She draws the exact type of hair that she wants to do because she advertises her strengths and taste so well.
Instagram is becoming an essential avenue for showcasing our work and generating new clientele. We could all take notes from Kelsy Osterman. Please enjoy her story below.
Hello again all! It’s me, Kelsy from NYC:)
For my last contribution to Lost Hairdressers, I discussed my experiences working behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week. I also briefly touched upon my love for working on set and photographing hair. In photos, moving objects are turned into still ones with a click of the camera. Hair in both of these states is magic to me.
Motion is constant with hair, as it’s almost always moving. It’s actually the reason I’m attracted to hair as a medium. It’s a sculpture that is forever altering in shape, constantly influenced by the decisions of the stylist and environment. Because of this, the stillness captured by a photo creates a magic moment. It’s the moment when everything stops and settles into the most perfectly imperfect place.
As Marilyn Monroe said “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” These words have always resonated with me. Celebrating imperfection is the reason I do hair. When working with individuals, I try to recognize these imperfections and show people how beautiful they are by celebrating their individuality. It’s about capturing a story that is raw and so very human.
Now, as you embark on the actual mission of taking your own photos, there are a few things you should always keep in mind:
First, think of yourself as a brand. Ask yourself what idea or mood you want to be present in every photo to create a common thread. I like to start my shoot with 3 descriptive words to guide my journey. For example, say your three words are nature, movement, and human. You want your photos to tell a cohesive story so use these words as guidelines for your theme and as reference when shooting.
Next, make sure you have a beautiful backdrop to shoot against. I usually choose to go one of two ways: Clean, blank canvas (to allow the hair to be the central focus without any other distractions), or shooting with the addition of another texture (to compliment what you’ve created). Either way, keep in mind that you want the backdrop to enhance your work, not distract from it, in order to get your hair story across clearly.
Third, don’t forget lighting! Don’t settle for anything but a beautifully lit shot and don’t forget the saying “quality over quantity”.
Finally, get to know how to edit your photos. Remember, photo editing is not meant to be a crutch. Retouching will not completely transform an average photo into an amazing one. Keep your standards high and simply rely on this step for refining and fine tuning. When editing my own shots on my iPhone I use an app called Afterlight for quick alterations. I mostly use it for cropping, giving borders, and adjusting levels of contrast and brightness.
As a stylist, you should understand what movement and stillness means to you, get comfortable with the idea that imperfections are beautiful, and do your best to create appropriate environments that help your muses feel their most beautiful. Now it’s time to capture the moment through photography. Give it a shot. Refining your eye through practicing these ideas, will help to make your work dramatically more exciting and will, in turn, encourage interest and positive reactions from your viewers.
– Kelsy Osterman