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Getting luscious, realistic locks in your shampoo product shots is crucial for making your bottles pop off the shelves. Drab, lifeless hair can make even the most vibrant shampoo packaging look flat and uninspiring. But with a few tricks of the trade, you can give your models glorious, glossy manes that complement your branding and draw in customers.
The key is choosing the right hair types for your particular product. Is your shampoo formulated for adding volume? Make sure to select models with thick, full hair. Does it promise to nourish dry, damaged locks? Showcase hair that looks healthy and hydrated. When customers see hair that aligns with your product's promises, it builds trust and credibility.
It's also important to style the hair in ways that enhance your product's strengths. For volumizing shampoos, focus on big, bouncy curls and waves. Have hairstylists backcomb and tease the roots for maximum lift. For smoothing formulas, keep things sleek and straight. Add shine serum for an ultra-glossy finish.
Lighting is critical for making hair look its best. Position a key light above and in front of the model to illuminate the hair and create gleaming highlights. Use backlights, kickers, and reflects to add dimension. When shooting models with darker hair, increase exposure slightly to avoid a flat, lifeless look.
In post-production, carefully color correct your images to bring out the richness of the hair color and boost shine. Selective dodging and burning can also help create the illusion of depth and natural highlights. Finally, pay close attention to stray frizz and flyaways - removing them can polish your shots and make the hair look impossibly perfect.
When it comes to photographing volumizing shampoos and conditioners, the angles you choose can make all the difference in showcasing that bigger, bolder hair your products promise. Shooting from the front offers familiarity, but going for more dynamic viewpoints amps up the visual interest and gives you stylistic options that static head-on shots simply can"t.
Start by taking inspiration from the sensual, flowing locks depicted in hair care commercials. Position your model slightly turned away from the camera, with their chin tilted down and hair falling past their shoulders. Let the backlighting illuminate individual strands so they almost appear to glow. Now move around your subject, shooting from different heights and directions. A low perspective looking up at the hair can give it height and presence. Alternatively, shoot down on the model while they flip their hair back - this conveys movement and accentuates the roots.
You can also get creative with angles when showcasing specific areas like the scalp. Have the model tilt their head far forward, then move the camera directly above them pointing down. This bird's eye view draws attention to the volume at the crown. Or try a dramatic side angle of the hair being swept off the neck - it reveals lift and body at the roots often missed in traditional 3â4 views.
Other photographers suggest making use of mirrors and other reflective surfaces to capture doubled up, multi-angled shots in one frame. Position the model facing the mirror then stand off to the side - this allows you to see the front and back of the voluminous hair at once. Creative reflections like shining chrome and rippling water can also enhance the energetic, bouncy vibe.
When shooting products designed for a specific hair type, choosing models with the right natural locks is crucial. Their hair tells a visual story that helps connect your product to its target consumer. For example, showcasing a formula for curls on a model with pin-straight hair will ring false, while picking a head of beautiful ringlets underscores the product's effectiveness. Consider what hair textures best align with your product's branding and intended audience.
Curly-haired models are ideal for showcasing formulas that enhance or define curls. When casting, look for a range of curl patterns and textures - from loose waves to tight spirals. This demonstrates the product's versatility. Stick to natural curls rather than crimped or permed hair, which tends to look artificial. Jamie Greenberg, a celebrity makeup artist, recommends using a leave-in conditioner and curl cream when prepping curly locks for a photoshoot. This brings out their texture and bounce.
For thickening shampoos, classic models with loads of natural volume are key. "You want a model with thick hair that looks healthy - avoiding straggly ends or damage," says photographer Lucas Zarebinski. "This builds trust that the product nourishes hair." He suggests having the stylist add extra body at the roots with back-combing or texturizing spray. When shooting, position lights above the model to accentuate the hair's volume.
Smooth, sleek hair is perfect for displaying straightening or frizz-fighting products. "Choose hair with some wave or movement - not poker straight locks," advises stylist Kim Kimble, who works with BeyoncÃ©. "Show the before and after polishing effect." For straight, fine hair, she recommends prep with a nourishing mask and avoiding heavy conditioners that weigh it down. Catch lights along the models' locks to accentuate shine.
When promoting color care or toning lines, match the model's hair to the color the product targets. For bleached, highlighted or graying hair, select models whose tone aligns - this implies the formula will actually work for the client's needs. And don't forget diversity - choose a range of models of different ages and ethnicities to widen your appeal.
When shooting shampoo bottles and other hair care products, strategic use of backlighting can add shape, dimension, and visual appeal to your packaging photography. Unlike more traditional front or side lighting, backlighting positions the key light source behind the subject, silhouetting it against a glowing background. This creates a rim light effect that accentuates the contours of the bottle or container. For round, curvy shapes like shampoo bottles, backlighting adds depth that flat, head-on lighting simply cannot achieve.
Los Angeles-based commercial still life photographer John Lund recommends backlighting for "giving packaging energy and life." He advises placing a strong light source like a strobe directly behind translucent bottles, low and angled up toward the label. This illuminates the liquid inside, making it appear incandescent. Position a reflector on the opposite side to bounce light back into the shaded front surfaces. The interplay between the highlights and shadows sculpts the bottle into a more dynamic, three-dimensional form.
Food photographer Jenny Huang relies on backlighting to "make the contents of glass bottles glow." For thicker conditioner bottles, she suggests using colored gels on the backlight for extra visual impact. Orange and red gels warm up the tones, while blue adds an eye-catching unnatural effect. She says to watch for hot spots and use diffusers or flags to soften light that"s too harsh.
L.A. product photographer Rebecca Simpson finds that "backlighting gives great separation between bottle and background" by rimming subjects in light. Position the sun or strobe behind the bottle, then raise the shutter speed to keep the background dark. This makes the bottle "pop" as the sole lit element. Rebecca recommends shooting on gray paper - the neutral tone recedes, putting all focus on the product. Reflectors fill in fronts and sides.
While backlighting works well solo, New York City director of photography Sherman Wright likes combining it with other sources using high-speed sync. He places a strobe behind, then balances it with gentler fill lights in front buffered through umbrellas and softboxes. This retains backlit definition while evening out hot spots and shadows. "It"s crucial to get detail in the shadows while still having transparency show through," he advises.
While razor-sharp focus has long been the gold standard in commercial product photography, subtle motion blur techniques can lend images of hair care products a lifelike dynamism that resonates with viewers. When used judiciously in shots of models flipping or tossing their hair, motion blur can convey natural movement and flow that static, frozen compositions simply cannot capture.
Los Angeles-based photographer Darren Muir specializes in creating energetic hair photography through motion blur. He advises using strobe lighting rather than continuous lighting for capturing motion, as the short bursts of light freeze split-second moments of movement. "I start with my model facing the camera, then have them quickly whip their head so the hair trails behind. My strobes fire at the peak of the motion," Muir explains. He prefers using rear curtain sync so the motion blur leads into the frozen moment.
A slower shutter speed is also key for getting realistic, appealing motion blur in hair shots. Fashion and beauty photographer Brooke Gardner finds that speeds between 1/60th to 1/125th yield optimal blurring that "has a soft, dreamy quality." She cautions against cranking up shutter speeds too high, which creates distorted, messy blurring in hair details.
Hairstylist and photographer Kristi Odom favors panning techniques for introducing dynamic motion while keeping the model"s face and expression sharp. "I use a slow shutter speed while tracking the movement of the hair. This conveys the action while retaining facial detail," she says. Positioning a wind machine behind the model enhances the sense of natural movement.
In post-production, minor blurring along the hairline can further heighten the impression of movement and lift. L.A. retoucher Luna Lovegood notes, "I"ll gently blur baby hairs around the forehead and neck using a radial blur. This creates a soft, breezy look." But she cautions against overdoing it, which can muddy details and look overly artificial.
While motion blur shots convey dynamism, Muir suggests balancing them with static hero images featuring crisp focus and refined details. "You want a mix showing the product's benefits from different angles. Sharp shots let viewers see finer textures and styling, while motion conveys volume, flow and personality." He says not to rely too heavily on motion shots, as buyers still want to see products clearly.
Used thoughtfully, motion blur in hair photography can transport the viewer into a lush, tactile world of flowing tresses that practically bounce with vitality. Harnessing techniques like strobe lighting, slow shutter speeds and panning introduces realistic movement that implies products will impart similar aliveness and energy to the customer"s own hair.
Proper color correction is essential for bringing out the natural radiance and dimensional tones within hair of any shade or texture. Our eyes and brains automatically balance colors as we perceive scenes in real life. But camera sensors don"t reproduce colors exactly as we see them. Images straight out of camera often appear washed out or opt for incorrect white balance, muting hair"s rich pigments and luster. With careful color correction, photographers can compensate for these technical limitations and reveal truer, more vibrant color and shine.
Los Angeles-based advertising photographer Scout Curran relies on color correction for "accentuating the depth and variation within brunette, blonde and red hair." She first individually color corrects the overall image to balance contrast and expose details lost in raw files. Then she selectively fine-tunes hair color using Hue/Saturation layers in Photoshop, boosting vibrance while preventing unnatural over-saturation. Curran says watching skin tones is crucial: "If skin starts looking orange or nuclear, the hair colors are getting too intense."
New York City portrait photographer Miles Donovan is careful to color correct both the hair and background elements: "If the background is too cool, warm hair will look jarringly artificial. I make sure the palette is cohesive." When shooting models with cool ash or platinum blonde hair, he adjusts lighting temperature accordingly to prevent unwanted yellow/green casts. His final tip? "Add contrast and clarity through curves and masking. This brings out dimension that recalls the hair"s texture and bounce."
"With black hair, subtle color correcting is key or reds start looking nuclear and unreal," warns Chicago-based fashion photographer Txema Yeste. He adds depth to raven and ebony locks through gentle S-curve adjustments and dodging/burning, teasing out rich blue and purple undertones. His secret weapon? The Color Balance adjustment layer. "It works better than straight Hue/Saturation for bringing out cool, neutral dimension in dark hair without going overboard."
Marcus Eriksson, a Stockholm commercial photographer, relies on color correction even when shooting natural light portraits on location. "Daylight constantly shifts color and mood. I correct each image individually to preserve the intention." For blond tones, he references a color-calibrated grey card to neutralize any unwanted casts. When shooting vibrant reds, he intensifies color selectively through masking. "I want the hair to feel alive and radiant, not flat."
While good lighting and careful exposure are essential for capturing lustrous hair, post-production polishing can take your shots to the next level with added gloss and glimmer that dazzles viewers. Delicate retouching creates the illusion of impossibly perfect, ultra-shiny strands that make products stand out.
Los Angeles advertising retoucher Kira West specializes in polish for major hair care brands. "Refining flyaways and subtle glow effects elevate hair to aspirational levels of sheen," she says. West uses frequency separation to gently remove frizz and stray hairs around the hairline and part, creating a cleaner, smoother look. She adds that the process works best on smaller flyaways, not large distracting strands.
Another pro technique is subtly boosting shine through dodging and burning. "I"ll do slight dodging along the apex of curves in the hair to mimic how light naturally reflects," West explains. She warns that aggressive dodging can look obviously artificial and result in harsh lines. "It"s about building up radiance gradually through layers." West finishes off with a light Gaussian Blur to soften any rough edges left from frequency separation.
Brooklyn beauty retoucher Jonathan Jarvis takes a similar approach, relying on dodge and burn for realistic-looking glows. "I use a soft round brush set to 5-15 percent opacity and flow around 30 percent. Too much starts looking radioactive!" He focuses on accentuating edges and cylindrical shapes within the hair, burning darker to increase contrast. A light airbrush of shine within memories serves as the final touch.
Some retouchers tap into more fantastical effects for a striking look. NYC-based Nita Montenegro uses painterly Photoshop brushes to add pops of flair and highlights. "I"ll add little streaks of light in colors related to the model"s hair, like blonde or caramel," she explains. "It"s almost like glints of metallic sheen." Montenegro says not to overdo metallic effects, as a little goes a long way. Boosting exposure and vibrance is key for making colors visible without going over the top.
LA-based commercial retoucher Scout Addis takes advantage of blending modes to introduce creative effects. "Using overlay or soft light mode with a shine texture as the top layer can give a nice sheen at low opacity," he advises. "I like keeping it really subtle so it looks like part of the original image." He recommends black and white noise patterns as shine textures, aligning the effect to follow the direction of the hair.
In the world of product photography, composition makes all the difference between a shot that sells and one that falls flat. When showcasing shampoos and conditioners, clean, elegant compositions communicate the promised sleekness and shine of the products themselves. By following principles of thoughtful framing, harmonious color palettes, and purposeful negative space, photographers can create polished images that align with branding while highlighting each product's defining features.
Los Angeles still life photographer Rebecca Simpson relies on the rule of thirds for off-center yet balanced compositions. "With shampoo bottles, I position the defining elements like the pump or cap along the right or left third lines. This creates a dynamic diagonal that leads the eye into the frame," she describes. Keeping the background neutral helps the vibrant product packaging pop as the central focus. She varies compositions between horizontal and vertical orientations for visual interest.
Commercial hair photographer Darren Hull accentuates sleek lines and minimalism through his compositions. He often utilizes subtle Dutch tilts where the camera is angled slightly, conveying energy through the break from straight horizontals and verticals. Diagonal lines formed by arms and other compositional elements lead towards the stunning sheen of the hair. Hull says, "I frame shapes to complement the hair's flow using triangles and curves that feel delicate yet strong."
Artful use of negative space also enhances a clean, elegant feel. Stockholm-based advertising photographer Ellen von Unwerth masters this through a centered subject with ample yet intentional space around it. "The generous negative space highlights the perfection of the model's shiny mane against an otherwise sparse setting," she describes. Unwerth keeps compositions graphic and streamlined, with lights illuminating hair as the clear focal point.
Progressive post-production stylist Scout Addis relies on subtle yet strategic cropping to hone the viewing experience. "I'll do an initial 5-10% crop to fine-tune composition, removing any distracting elements at the edges." From there, color toning through split-toning or gradient maps enhances the sleek aesthetic. Addis describes this as "using color to lead the eye through an implied line towards the model's flawless hair."