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October 10, 2016

How-To: Get the Perfect Before and After Photos for Instagram

Everyone loves a good hair transformation. Getting the perfect before and after pics for Instagram is essential. If you want to gain lots of followers and show up on the “discover” page of IG, you have to have the perfect profile aesthetic. Keeping with one color scheme, making sure you have before and after collages, and making all your pictures look like they were taken by the same person can help you establish yourself as an Instagram guru. Here are some tips to make your IG photos picture perfect, featuring advice from some IG pros.

Here’s how professionals snap the best shot:

Use Natural Light

Natural light is always going to give you the best results in pictures. Because natural light is white, it shows the true color of what you are looking at, as opposed to yellow light, which creates a gold filter over colors.

Always choose a natural light. -Mechele Duke, Stylist at Rain Salon & Spa

When taking pictures of pastel and platinum hair, this tip is extra important!

Here is an example of great use of white, natural light.

Use a Plain Background

“Always use the same background, or filter, or have a signature edit. Something that keeps your photos consistent, and yours!” -Ashley, Barber at Rudy’s Barbershop, Hair colorist, Bridal specialist, and Lash artist.

The background of your photos should not distract from what the subject is. Using a distressed wood background can give your photos a classy feel. Continue to use the same background in all of your photos. Consistency will keep your photos looking uniform and professional.

Pick a good background! Nothing too distracting! Remember: don’t edit the picture too much. If editing at all, adjust the shadows and sharpness.
Chloe Morrin, Beauty Enthusiast, Lash Artist, and Hairstylist.

Here is an example of a good background:

A photo posted by Shylo Gray (@notsograyy) on

Watch your background. Don’t choose anything busy or with other people in it. -Mechele Duke

Pick a Good Photo

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked. Choose a photo that you like! You may feel obligated to take a picture every time you complete a cut or color, and you should keep record for your portfolio, but you can save the photos for later, or not post them at all! If you have multiple appointments in a day, save a few photos for a day when you don’t have clients. Keep looking busy!

Take before/ after pictures of everything! It’s an amazing way to see your skills grow, or use as reference for techniques & challenges you’d like to conquer later! – Ashley

Take Multiple Photos

Taking multiple shots of the same work can give you multiple options to work with. You can also show different details of your work with different angles. While a long cut may look amazing from the back, that doesn’t always work for a pixie.

Take multiple angles of your work to find the perfect pic for your portfolio. Side views aren’t always the best! – Chloe Morrin

Here is a good example of the proper angle:

Image No Longer Available

A photo posted by Chloe Morrin (@chlobear93) on

“Take 20 shots! Nothing is worse that thinking you captured the light and going back through your photos and not getting the look you wanted!” – Ashley

Use the Right Tools

There are several ways to take before and afters. You can create a collage, a sped up video, or maybe take two photos and post them separately. Either way you decide to do it, it’s important to have all the right tools.

For speeding up videos: Hyperlapse – This tool for videos is created by Instagram itself. It is available in the iTunes store for free. Unfortunately, it’s not available on Google Play. But here are a few alternatives.

Framelapse – creates time lapse videos. It’s also free and has no ads (currently).

Lapse It – this app claims to be easy to use and allows you to capture resolution up to 1080p. Pretty cool.

For snipped videos: Boomerang – Basically, you create a moving photo with this Instagram app. Get it on iTunes or Google Play.

For creating a collage: Layout – Choose from several types of collage layouts in this free Instagram app. This app is available in the Google Play store, too.

Splitpic – This app is available on iTunes. There is a free and a pro version for purchase. You can choose from several layouts that create seamless collages.

“Mirror effects and videos showing the movement of the hair or lashes pulls attention to your work.” – Chloe Morrin

Be Kind

It is always important to respect your client’s privacy. Ask the client before you take their photo, don’t show their face unless they give you the OK, and always adhere to their request when they say that they don’t their photo taken or posted.

If they do allow you to take their photo, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask if they want you to tag them in it. Some clients love to share their new ‘do. A client may want to repost your photo and spread the word!

“Make your client feel beautiful. Have them gloss their lips, remove the drape, and hand them something… a cup, your brush or comb, and CAPTURE them RAW! Getting authentic smiles or just a “real” expression.” – Ashley

Being kind and respectful is the way to keep your clients coming back!

“Don’t over think the nitty gritty. The tiny details in your photos are what you’re capturing, you’re looking for the whole package. So don’t toss out a great photo because of one fly away hair, or a tiny spot of light you don’t like! Ease up, and remember that people are seeing much more than you see!” – Ashley

Do you have any more IG tips? Share them with us in the comments below! Interested in becoming a hair artist? Contact us or visit our cosmetology program page for more information.


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