When you started in the beauty industry were you trained to be a photographer too? I can nearly guarantee there are no schools or not very many that go into depth about how to take the best photos. They may have you take before and after photos and show you generalized idea of how to do it. We are our own worst critics and looking to closely at the pictures we have taken and critique our work too much or even worst compare us to someone else’s work or photography skills. My opinion is to take the best pictures you can to showcase your work, but do not compare yourself to others. I hear some podcasts and other influencers speak about how pictures are everything. They are important, but it is more important to portray the quality of your actual work. Focus more on your customers experience and the service you provide.
Before & After Benefits
There are a lot of benefits to taking before and after pictures. They create a portfolio for you to put onto social media or simply be able to provide customers when they ask. It adds to the customer experience of your client. Believe it or not, most clients love having their service taken a picture of. They feel as if they must look good if you want to take a picture of it. After pictures are taken, I will show the customer the before and after. This shows them you are proud and how it looked before you are performing your amazing work. It also creates a record of how the customer left and that they in fact received a service. This protects you in two different ways. If customer says they didn’t receive the service they expected or didn’t receive a service at all and calls their bank to dispute charges, you have proof of services rendered. It also may protect you if the customer makes false claims of any kind. We want to believe everyone has the best of intentions, but you must protect yourself and your business. These circumstances are very rare, but something everyone should be aware of.
Ok, now how to take the best before and after pictures.
Before: You should take the same quality of before pictures as after. Same lighting, positioning and care. It always amazes me when I see before pictures that are in terrible lighting and care. They look terrible. Yes, you want your after picture to look better than the before, but the quality of photography skills should not change. When you guest comes in remove their makeup or cleanse the eyes, then take a before picture. Make this a habit and it is easier to remember. I swear, the hardest part is remembering to take the before picture. We just get so excited to get started we usually remember about halfway through the service. Still take your after picture if this happens. I would not take a before halfway through the service. A beautiful after picture is great to have too.
Lighting: There are several different types of lights you can get. The best ones are Glamcor lights. They provide a professional lighting for photographs and while performing your service. There are various options out there. Make sure you do your research when finding the right lighting for you and your space. When taking a picture of the eye area, you want to light the eye area evenly on both sides. I would take a picture with flash and without. This will provide you with more than one option when choosing what picture to use. Some use the auto flash option, however, in the moment I always take at least 1 of each and decide later which one. If I let the camera or phone decide flash or no flash, it may not choose accurate for me.
Camera and Positioning: Using a good quality camera does make a difference. It is a good investment to make, but your phone will be ok in the meantime. When investing in a high spec model it will ensure consistent high-quality close-up images.
You want to position your customer in the same place and position in the before and the after picture. The best place is laying flat on their back and hold the camera/phone directly above the client approximately 6 to 8 inches away from them. You will then want to zoom in as closely as your can with out losing focus and quality of the image. If you have various settings on your camera or phone, set it to a macro setting. This will help you get a high-resolution photo when zooming in.
Cropping and prepping your images: You want to include both eyes in the image. Crop them so you have clear margins of both. Do this with the before and after pictures. Create a collage. Put the before on the top and the after on the bottom or vice versa. Just keep it consistent. There are several different photo editing apps that assist you in this process. Some are Canva or Pic Monkey. If you post your pictures on the internet at all it is important to include a water mark with your business logo and contact information. This way if you photo is shared someone can find the artist easier.
Always remember everyone starts somewhere. If you put it off because of insecurities, you will miss out on valuable content and practice. Going through this everyday will increase your ability and confidence because you will be able to look back and see your work from day 1. Watching your own growing experience and progression will increase your confidence in performing the services and taking pictures.
I hope the information we have provided will help you get started in creating the perfect pictures for your business. It is all just my opinion of my best practice and there are a lot of various ways to create the best lighting and position of your guests. You have to figure out what works best for you and what type of pictures you are wanting. The biggest take away is to be consistent with lighting, position and cropping of your images.