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A great image…. is a game of chance.

Creating the perfect image is a total game of chance. Every thing matters and everything interrelates. For a beauty image, this is especially true. To create an enduring and arresting image, every part of the image has to be on point. The model, the hair, the makeup, the fashion styling, the lighting, the environment, et all. And then, there are the nontangible things that matter as well… the attitude on set, how the team collaborates, the concept, how the shoot is managed… it all matters.

With so many interrelating variables is there any chance of creating the perfect image?

Here are a few rules to shoot by:

Chance Favors a Prepared Mind.
You have some control over the game of chance. The better prepared you are, the better your chances of being successful. That means having a concept, having preproduction meetings, having prep day and collaborating with the team prior to shoot day. Essentially, get all the very essential grunt work out of the way prior to the shoot day. 80% of the success of your shoot will depend on what you do before the shoot.

Hair is not the Image – Hair is in the Image!
To be blunt, if hair is all that mattered, you could get a great wig, put it on a mannequin and take a picture of it with an iPhone in your backyard….. and be done!

That would not make a great image.

It’s about the whole image. Great hair by itself does not make a good image, much less an interesting image.

Concept, Hair: Chrystofer Benson, Photo: Joseph Cartright, Makeup: Danielle Donahue, Wardrobe: Colleen McCann


Every image has a "Hero." If it’s a Fashion shoot, then the Hero is the Trend. If it’s a Beauty shoot, then the Hero is the Hair or Makeup.

But…. You can’t be a Hero on a deserted island. Nor can you create a great image by forsaking the other elements in the image.

The objective is to create a visually harmonious image where all the elements play a supporting role to the Hero.

There’s no I in Team.
Every artist, every support person… everybody on the team is critical! Period! The way they are treated and how they are allowed to contribute will determine the outcome of the shoot. Managing a team on and before a shoot is a skill. If you don’t have the social grace/patience and/or skill to do so, have someone else do it for you. The results of it will be visible in the image.

Everyone has a role and purpose. We will cover that in an ensuing article.

In closing…. Cultivate and nurture your team and your images will thank you for it.


This is the second installment of a multipart series on Styling for the Camera, from Joseph Cartright


If you are interested in developing or improving upon your styling skills for editorial photoshoots, enroll in Visionary Icon, a 2 day workshop, April 26-27th 2015, taught by Joseph Cartright and Chrystofer Benson, that walks you through the entire creative process of doing a photoshoot, from concept to print.