Project 52

Assignment 50: A Salon Shoot

There would be no procrastinating this week.  We had our annual summer party during the weekend I would normally shoot, followed by a two week international business trip, so I had to get down to work early.  The assignment was three images for a hair salon:  one for a facebook banner (think long and narrow), one for a pop up display in normal 4x6 orientation, and one for a product brochure which was to be a bit narrower than a normal 4x6.  Due to my tight timeframe, I ruled out finding a salon and/or hair models and stylist and instead focused exclusively on shooting products.

The brief said that the salon is fairly minimalistic, with white, black and teal decor.  I ran to Ulta, a large beauty products store close to my house, and began to search the aisles.  I found hair products from Biolage with teal accent colors, so I grabbed those.  I hit the hairbrushes next, and found several Spornette brushes which had a teal backing.  Finally, I stumbled upon a hair extension which was teal, so I grabbed that to include in a picture with a pair of scissors. 

My plan was to shoot one image each night after work.  The first night I went with the Biolage hair products.  I set them up on a glass surface so I could get a reflection, with a strobe shooting into the white background, and a large softbox above and behind the products, which bounced light off the glass and reflected light off two white foam core boards in front of the products.  When I got the lighting working, I added some translucent white and teal stones and some soap suds to the scene.  The image came together much faster than expected and was exactly what I had in mind for the shot to be included in the product brochure.  This is the resulting image:

The next shot was the banner for their Facebook page.  I wanted to do a line up of brushes on a bright white background.  Before putting the background in place, I put the brushes standing upright in cups of sand (it worked quite well).  I used a softbox above and behind the brushes, but removed the outer diffusion material, because I wanted a slightly harder light.  This gave a nice glow to the tops of the brushes and reflected light off both the white surface underneath and off the white cards I had placed in front.  When I added the white background, all the highlights disappeared, and light was pouring through the holes in the vented brushes, which wasn't the effect I was after.  I pulled down the black background and got the highlights back.  The resulting image, after cropping to the banner dimensions in Photoshop, is below:

For the final image, I had purchased a pair of thinning shears.  I thought they had a bit more interest than a normal pair of scissors.  I set up the scissors on a white background, placed the hair extension into the shot, and set up the lights.  I normally am not one to use hard shadows, but there was something about this shot that made me want to put in a very hard shadow in from the scissors.  So I set up a strobe with a grid on it (the grid focuses the beam of light to a narrower patch than I'd get without it) positioned 90° to camera left, aimed directly at the scissors.  I used the softbox with the outer diffusion removed from the previous shot in the same position to get more even light across the scene and on the background.  I then used a white card to ensure a lot of the surface of the scissors gave a good reflection - this was achieved across several shots - getting different parts of the scissors reflecting white or gray, and blended together in Photoshop.  I had bought some teal scrapbook paper, but couldn't make it work in the image, so when I got the final white shot in the software, it needed something.  So I added a slight teal color in Photoshop from the top left and bottom right, and I think it helped pull the scissor shot more into the series with the others. 

Despite the time pressures, the images turned out as I had envisioned.  Next week's assignment, the second to last, is entitled "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."  I've got one day to knock this assignment out after my work trip to India, so it's gonna take some planning!  See you next week.

Behind-the-Scenes for the three shots.

Behind-the-Scenes for the three shots.