What I’ve Learned… about using video for hair

Edinburgh salon owner Austen Thomson explains why he’s embracing hair and the moving image

Late last year we decided to create a short series of videos using a professional film crew. The idea came after a conversation with the team at social PR and content agency Wonderhouse – we wanted to see what we could create that showed hair moving. There are so many beautiful images around of commercial and creative hair, so for this project we wanted to bring the movement of hair to life. We were keen to make a departure away from static images and showcase hair 360 degrees in a real life setting… and to make our clients the stars!

Through social media, people are more likely to engage with video. We took the decision to film in and around Edinburgh. From Carlton Hill, a famous historical hot spot; near the water of Leith, an iconic viewpoint near the salon and Tigerlily, a stylish bar in city centre. From a brand point of view we want people to be able to relate to us, and a faceless brand with just a logo or a local magazine advert doesn’t build trust or make a connection.

Since we made the decision to invest in films, I very quickly started to build up a small kit for filming short educational films myself. It includes everything from a camera, lenses and lighting to editing software. It allows me to shoot professional content, from education videos to industry events. I have launched a YouTube channel with more than 50 films on it now. Part of the project was to be able to understand how filming worked, so that I was not only prepared for any eventuality on the day, but also so that our business could begin to position itself as deliverers of high quality informative and brand building content.

The budget for this was more than £5,000, and it was great to spend time in that situation – it was very different from the usual photo shoot we’ve done often. This has given us some cool content for our website, as visitors are met with moving images that are more engaging, commercial and honest.

Would I do it again? I’ll admit, I really missed shooting for a collection. However I’m a great believer in taking risks and trying new things. Our industry is creative and with the speed that the business landscape is changing, we need to be looking constantly at ways we can attract clients, build a great team and inspire young people to take a career in hairdressing seriously. And I believe that these videos are a step in the right direction.