At Virtue, we are committed to the integrity of our photos. Whether it’s images captured by one of the wonderful photographers we work with, or pictures taken in the salon, our highest priority with editing these images is to reflect the real, raw, beautiful services completed in our salon.
Photoshop is a great resource that has so many useful tools to enhance photos and give them that little something extra that a smartphone can’t capture. For example, you can use it to brighten images that were taken in poorly lit areas, or sharpen some of the details that were missed with a phone camera. However, it’s easy to go overboard when it comes to editing photos. When photo editing is over-done, photoshop changes from a photo-enhancer to a tool that distorts the reality of certain services.
With the variety of photo editors and apps available, it is easy for social media to misrepresent colors and tones. A picture of hair taken in studio lighting can look completely different than the photo of the same hair taken in natural lighting. This is especially true of blonde tones or vivid, vibrant colors. Every hair color can reflect warm tones and cool tones depending on a multitude of factors: eyesight of the viewer, indoor or outdoor lighting, skin tone, the colors of the surrounding area, etc. While discussing possible color options with your hairdresser, it is important to consider your natural skin tone and eye color not just the hairstyle of you favorite IG model.
Due to the nature of photo editing, sometimes services are misrepresented. This affects not only the guest’s expectations but it also can make it more difficult for the hairdresser and guest to get on the same page. Some examples of this misrepresentation in media include:
- A simple Pinterest search for balayage could turn up with foiliages, full-highlights, and other, even more intensive and expensive services that are everything but a balayage
- Before and after photos of black to pastel pink hair and expecting it to happen in one appointment
- Photos of super-long, super-thick, “perfect hair” but failing to mention the use of extensions, wigs, or hair pieces
The alteration of images affects most areas of the beauty industry—not just color services but even clipper cuts as well. Andrew Kozak of @andrewdoesahair recently put out a post revealing photoshop methods that some barbers use to smudge and manipulate fades of clipper cuts. He ended up taking down the video because his honestly towards photo editing was making people upset.
Recently Kim Kardashian’s hairdresser, Chris Appleton, broke down the process and cost that went into Kim’s finished look. Not Another Salon, located in London also frequently posts this information on their Instagram account @notanothersalon . These and many other hairdressers and salons are transparent with their images and honest about the multi-appointment process it takes to achieve certain looks.
When it comes down to it, the reality is that we now live in a filtered world and think through a grid of social media. Many times we don’t want to settle for a #nofilter photo. Whether it’s images that are over-edited to fit the aesthetic of the composition of Instagram profiles or tweeking the saturation of a vivid service because it just doesn’t look violet enough, there is a temptation to distort reality. This is important to keep in mind when looking for hair inspiration photos. While they may look beautiful, it may not be 100% real life. Instead it may be real life enhanced by VSCO Cam filter #A5.
Written by Emma, Louie, Teake, Allison, Lindsay, and Kendra