Sorry for the delay and being M.I.A for about a week! Lots of amazing things happening of here between contract signings, new apartments, shoots commisioned for some UK magazines, new cities, a new gym membership and Milan Fashion Week. You will be updated on everything as soon as possible but in the meanwhile an along waited blog series you have all been asking me for!
While I was working as a Learning Leader at Paul Mitchell the School Sherman Oaks, and especially now that I have started my blog, I receive many questions about how to start an editorial book as well as life in salon vs life “on set”…mainly where to start and if the two can mesh together. I do not claim to be any sort of expert on the subject…and have not figured out the perfect angels sing from heaven balance (if there is one). What I can share however is my personal experience and that of those around me. To make this easy lets divvy up the main topics I’ve been asked about…
Building a book
Balancing salon and session work
Today lets tackle building a book. Building a book puts you truly in an artists shoes. You are going to have to exhaust every resource to attempt to create the strongest book you can so show people what you can do and who you have worked with. Now, unlike your average artist your book will depend on teams of people. At the very least the teams will be made up of model, photographer, make-up artist and you (unless you have chosen to do both hair and make-up). This leaves many variables up to chance each time and forces you to relinquish control of the final result a bit. Variables can include people not showing up, having creative differences, different skill levels, and naturally aesthetic preferences. My biggest suggestion is to take any and all test shoots at first, mainly to start to understand how hair works on camera vs. the salon, to get a “set pace” going, and even develop a personal style. Fair warning, most of these first shoots you will probably not use in your book. Consider these trial and error and fantastic laugh makers to look back on.
Once you start to get into a rhythm with your shooting and start to make the right connections with people on set you will start to see your body of work develop, but remember that your book is never “done”…it is a constant work in progress. Slowly start to become more selective as to who you shoot with and remember that even a basic pony tail or simple flat-iron look have a place in your book. A large amount of your eventual paid work will be seemingly “basic” hair.
Once you feel like you have a variety of hair looks in your book and “stories” which show that you know how to do multiple looks within one shoot it is your cue to start to hustle and “network” your “brand” aka you!. Make a little comp card for yourself in a pdf format and have your work displayed online. Yes, modelmayhem, flicker, pinterest, blogs, facebook and photobucket are all great and free, however, a website can cost you 110 dollars a year including hosting and your personalized domain, a well worth it investment. Send your comp card and website link to as many photographers as possible…going by statistics 1 out of every 10 will respond. The response may be immediate for testing…or maybe in 3 months when their hairstylist cancels at the last-minute for a paid job…who knows! Same thing with business cards, moo.com has my faves with pictures on them! Get them printed out and hand them out everywhere. You are your own publicist and you are your own agent for now. Work it. Thing is you are getting your name out there and how else is anyone going to find you!
This does not happen over night, but it will happen. You will be amazed by the amount of work that starts to flood into your lap…however alot of it will still be for trade or test. This is the point where if you are not being paid your trade and testing work should be getting you additional publicity i.e. online or print publications, even if small and independent. Tears are super important for your book as are clients. This means that you may need to re-narrow down your list of people you shoot with. We all love our work but…we are not a non-profit. In some way shape or form everyone at the shoot should be “bringing something home” beyond experience. If the material is promotional or work you would not place in a book (i.e. wedding and headshots) you should establish a rate which works within your market.
I currently still use my online portfolio, www.nicolettagauci.com, for all of my bookings. This is mainly because I work either freelance or through Paul Mitchell here in Italy and also because I book internationally. As for a tangible book I am currently opting for a tablet for meetings and a (faux) leather-bound book to send out for larger bookings and agency meetings. But that is a whole other topic!
Hope this shed some light onto building an editorial book and getting starting on this sort of career path. If it seems like alot…it is…but if you love it….it is totally worth it. The again you are asking the girl who was at Milan for Fashion Week this year :).
send any asks to my facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/nicolettagauci!