Top tips for hairdressers working with commercial models

By Eloise Skinner on February 22nd, 2023

How to make sure you spend your time with talent effectively and efficiently

Planning a shoot with commercial models and other talent can be intimidating – what if you don’t use the time effectively, or if you don’t feel like you captured all the content you needed? But it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By planning ahead and making sure you’re ready for a range of scenarios, you’ll be in the best position when it comes to shoot day. Below you’ll find some top tips from Eloise Skinner, a commercial agency model working across categories such as e-commerce, bridal, fitness and beauty.

Aligning your brand values and mission to your talent selection

If you’re under time pressure, it can be easy to pick a few models for your project based on their look, and then leave all communication until the morning of the shoot. But if you have time available – and if you have key brand values that are important to you – aim to align your talent selection with your brand’s mission and purpose. For example, if you’re shooting a project focused on sustainable fashion, make sure your talent is aware of the mission beforehand. It might seem like a bit of extra work, but you’re far more likely to have an engaged, excited and committed team if every individual is aware of the greater goal you’re working towards.

Creating – and sharing – a mood board

Most creatives will be used to preparing a mood board ahead of the shoot – a collection of images, themes and ideas to inspire content creation on the day. The mood board should consider specifics like lighting, wardrobe and make-up – as well as provide an indication of a general style or colour theme. If possible, aim to share the mood board with your model’s agency (or directly with the model) before the shoot. Enabling your models to see the theme of the shoot will allow them to arrive prepared and focused – and could even impact pre-shoot preparation like nails, tan, hair or other personal styling. Think about whether you want your model to bring or wear a certain colour or style of underwear to work with your styling, or their own jewellery or shoes.

Shoot day summary

When your models arrive on set, take a moment to talk them through the set-up of the day. Often, models will arrive into a busy set environment without clear directions or indications of when and where they’ll be needed. If you have a moment, let them know the timetable – if there are any breaks, how many outfit changes there will be, how many other models are on set, etc. – so they can plan accordingly. You’re far more likely to have people in the right place at the right time, and ready to shoot when you need, if you can make the day’s schedule widely available.

During the day

When you’re shooting with models, keep the communication up. If there’s a certain pose or visual you’re going for, you can demonstrate or show an image for inspiration – models often like to receive guidance or adjustments so you can capture the image you need. If you’re trying to shoot images that focus on a particular aspect (for example, a product, or hair / makeup), make sure your model is aware of exactly what needs to be captured. And if you can allow your model a quick look at the images in-between shooting, models will often be able to make adjustments and enhancements so you can capture an even better shot.

And finally, after the shoot

Many models will have active social media profiles, so sharing final images with your entire talent team can often allow you an extra opportunity for promotion. And as always, staying in touch with models that worked well with your brand can allow you to develop sustainable, long-term relationships with a team that could support you with future projects.

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Eloise Skinner

Eloise is an author, teacher, existential therapist, model, and the founder of two businesses: The Purpose Workshop and One Typical Day. She sits on the youth board of the UK’s national social mobility charity, and is an Enterprise Advisor for the Mayor of London’s education & careers strategy.

All articles by Eloise Skinner

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