How to… shoot an editorial collection

When it comes to shooting an editorial hair collection, been-there-done-that session stylist Syd Hayes is the master. Here, the BaByliss PRO ambassador – who’s worked with a host of big names including Juergen Teller, David Sims, Alasdair McLellan and Tim Walker, and seen his work featured in I-DSelf ServiceLove and British Vogue – gives us an expert’s overview on how to make sure you don’t sway into the avant-garde to keep your shoot looking as sartorially strong as possible…

“You don’t want to draw someone’s eye to a piece of jewellery when it’s the hair that should be the focus”
“From a session perspective, the key to a true editorial shoot is that it’s a collaboration between all those involved – make-up, styling, photography and the hair – to achieve the end look. These different factors should not fight against each other in the finished image, otherwise you can end up with a mess.

“If you’re interested in making your hair shoots more editorial, rather than the straight head-and-shoulders approach, the first thing you need to do is learn to look at the hairstyle as the viewer would. If something is standing out for the wrong reason to you, then it will to anyone else who views the image. For example, you don’t want to draw someone’s eye to a piece of jewellery when it is the hair that should be the focus. This means that if the focus is on a strong hair fringe, or the hair colour; the make-up should work with it and not distract from the hair. Work with your clothes stylist to use colours and garments that showcase your hairstyle and enrich the colour of the hair, not drain it.

 and Self Service
Solve Sundsbo
Alasdair McLellan
Willy Vanderperre

“You need to develop a keen knowledge of how each factor should complement the other to create a total finished look. Focus on the area where the camera is directed and learn to look at, and understand, a style through the camera lens. Try each style with different jewellery and clothes – sometimes just removing one item can make a huge difference. For a head and shoulders shot, you don’t want to be filling the space with lots of activity, especially as the camera can exaggerate a look. Think about the whole balance, where the model is looking and how this affects the composition of the image. When it comes to creating an editorial image, less is generally more.

“Before you even get in front of the camera think about how you envisage the finished look and plan your prep accordingly. There’s no point spending hours on the back of a hairstyle if you are only shooting it from the front. For editorial shoots, we often need to be able to change a style quickly for different looks. If you are only using one or two models, again think about the order in which you are creating the styles to save time on set. Do the simple shots first before moving on to styles that require lots of product. Obviously, if you are going from braids to beach hair then it’s the braids first. Plan the order and prep in advance.”