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Educators in all industries rely on images to help clarify concepts. In the hair industry, many hairdressers are visual learners and when approaching techniques involving various tools and/or chemicals and products, a picture can be worth 1,000 words.  Sam Villa, Co-Founder/Chief Creative Officer of Sam Villa and Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken believes an image of a beautiful style supported by a pictorial step-by-step is one of the best ways to teach an inspiring concept so it is easy to understand and apply.  This is why before heading into a shoot, it’s wise to consider education, branding and art direction to ensure goals are achieved and assets are utilized efficiently.


Villa explains: “The world had been shaken by forces beyond our control. 2020 left us humbled, but also resilient and determined. We witnessed modern science and technology achieve incredible life-saving innovations in record time, and it changed us all.  We’ll never be the same, we’re now centered in genuine and authentic experiences with positive pursuits, and it’s all inclusive and amazing!”

The Sam Villa company chose the Lived-In Precision concept to represent their authentic educational voice and to cultivate and communicate their message. It’s based on the consumer who now largely connects with the planet through a lifestyle centered in sustainability.  Villa believes the fashion and beauty industries must follow suit by striving for a new level of individuality, versatility, and duality. “Hair is a fiber with an attitude just waiting to be changed. Whether it’s short, long, straight or curly, there’s a strong lean towards “lived-in” looks.  Consumers want to make a proactive confident statement and have an authentic connection to nature, yet they still want to celebrate their individual style in a unique way.” 

The Sam Villa brand is transitioning into a new phase of design, one that speaks to simplicity yet feels powerful, and their education will reflect and support it.  So, the question is, why are visuals so important to support an educational message? Villa offers these tips:

  • Pictures speak louder than words.  Visual communication can convey more meaning because it helps evoke emotions and provides stronger examples for a verbal and/or written message.  It makes learning easier and faster.
  • Images clarify the information by demonstrating how something is done or how it can look, transform or evolve.  They are processed by long-term memory aiding in better comprehension. 
  • Visuals help provide structure and routine, increase motivation and reduce frustration. 





Once Villa has a concept, he relies on his team to help make it a reality. Dana Schmidtbauer, VP of Strategic Marketing and Education, leads the team and explains why photo shoots are important for branding.  “Given the major importance that digital plays in marketing today, clearly content is king. When planning a brand shoot you need to consider all the various platforms where you engage with your audience(s), including websites, social media, video channels, press, blogs, etc. It’s not enough to go into it having only one goal in mind – capturing model stills. You need to map out a plan to create maximum impact with your time and resources while on set.

Social Tile:

See Villa teach the full step-by-step:

During the Lived-In Precision shoot, the team designed a goal to capture various types of content to build a massive library to fuel the brand’s digital, social, video, educational, press and print needs. 

  • Coordinate a shoot team including 8 hairstylists, 2 makeup artists, 2 photographers, 2 videographers, a wardrobe stylist team and multiple student assistants.
  • Direct 12 models and rotate them through different creative stations to secure various stills and video.
  • Shoot captivating “hair hero” images and then change wardrobe/hairstyle to capture lifestyle images and videos.
  • Record 8 full-length step-by-step instructional videos for pros.
  • Secure step-by-step images and copy for “hair hero” shots.
  • Generate “get the look” how-to videos for consumers.

Schmidtbauer also suggests diversity in models; female and male, straight to highly textured hair types and short to long lengths. “By working on many different models with a variety of hair fabrics it demonstrates how the Sam Villa brand and ergonomic, high-performance tools support the diverse needs of both the salon professional and consumer alike,” she adds.

Webpage: See here


Blog: See here

IG Post: Play video here


A post shared by Sam Villa (@samvillahair)


Art Direction

Once a shoot strategy is conceived, the art director makes sure it stays on point from start to finish.  Teresa Romero, Artistic Director for Sam Villa says, “It’s the artistic director’s responsibility to communicate the creative vision, manage time and keep everyone on track.  They need to have clear direction and capture the shots the team has planned for, yet they still need to be open to letting the magic happen.  So, after goals are achieved, coach the team to rework the hair, makeup and wardrobe and let them get creative to help develop their eye and experience.”  Romero offers these tips:

Clear Artistic Direction:  Focused artistic vision allows a team to communicate visually and have verbal discussions effectively.  It’s vital to inspire and execute an on-point image and/or collection.

  • Create Mood boards representing hair, makeup, wardrobe and photography and use them to communicate the creative vibe and goals.
  • Refer to the boards throughout the day to keep the vision clear for the team.
  • Art directors should remain on set to guide and provide feedback.
  • Be open to input from the team yet stay focused on the desired result. 


Choosing the Hero Shot: Choosing final images takes time, don't rush the process.  The winners usually stand out by evoking emotion and commanding attention.  Romero offers these steps for choosing final images:

  • Scan images, but don't overanalyze them, just see if any jump out.
  • Mark the ones that are special.
  • Walk away for 24 hours.
  • Scan images again and see if the same images or new versions pop.
  • Take a closer look for any hair/makeup and body/arm/hand issues.  Eliminate those images that don't work and make retouching notes for those that need it.
  • Final images should stand alone, work in a collection and tell a story. 


A successful shoot will produce images that represent a brand visually, feed its social channels, enhance education, fuel the website and speak to both consumers and stylists.  And the most important thing to remember is to create something beautiful.  A beautiful image stands the test of time, and draws others in to want to know more. 

Stylists on Set: 

Row 1: Marisa Villa, Teresa Romero, Sam Villa, Anna Peters. 

Row 2: Jackie Litscher, Roger Molina, Ellen Devine, Ashley Brown, Twylla Jan



Hair: Sam Villa Team

Art Director: Teresa Romero

Photography: Nico Norsdström/Obsidian and Blush

SBS Stills: Todd White Photography

Lifestyle Video and BTS Still of Sam Villa: Dani Bauer Hierophants Work

Tools: Sam Villa

Products: Redken

Makeup: Tanya Ortega and Leticia Tapia

Wardrobe: Michi Lafary/Obsidian and Blush

Models: Kaitlyn Covington, Ashley Aleshire, Noel Hollis and Julia Railey.