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.