Rookie mistakes I used to make

Looking back at how I started, I sometimes cringe at the mistakes I used to make. With this post, I want to show that everyone starts somewhere, and make sure that other people don’t make my mistakes!

Doing a lot of things in the back of the hairdo and forgetting the front. I used to focus a lot on updos, cause that’s what I learned at hairstyling school. The problem with these updos was that they mostly looked good from the back. Of course, I was shooting with hobby photographers who had no idea, so they took 115265524 pictures from… the front. Yes, a TFP shoot with all pictures of the front side of the hair, where nothing was going on, for my portfolio. Score.

How do I do it now?
I discuss the concept with the photographer and ask for their vision, and how they will photograph the model. I try to make sure the hair looks good from all angles, but I don’t hesitate to point out to the model and photographer what the best side of the hairdo is, so they can focus on posing in a certain way or setting up their lights differently.

Photo by Au Contraire Photography – I did both sides of the hair, of course, but I did point out to the photographer that I liked this side best, and that the hair would be the prettiest in profile view. That resulted in this amazing shot!


Accepting everything. Everytime someone wanted to work with me, I was so overwhelmed with the thought “wow, they want me!!”, that I always said yes. This resulted in a LOT of terrible shots that I could throw in the garbage afterwards.

How do I do it now?
As I said in previous posts, I have become very picky with TFP. It really has to be worth my while, otherwise I will ask for a fee. Check out this article for more pointers on that subject.

Photo by Sheridan’s Art – Working with photographers like Sheridan’s Art made me realise that it’s much better to work with a few photographers that you really trust, rather than working with everyone and wasting a lot of time. These days I stick to 4 or 5 photographers I really trust, even though sometimes I am open for new collaborations.


Being late and forgetting stuff. I don’t think I took it that seriously when I just started out, especially when I was working with a team of friends. So I assumed it would be okay to be a few minutes late, there’s no pressure. Guess what. There is pressure. If you want to reach the top, you will have to be strict and professional at all times!
I also used to forget things like bobby pins. Extremely shameful moment when I had to ask to the MUA if she had any…

How do I do it now?
I am very strict for myself when it comes to being punctual. I have a scedual where I put every shoot and every work day so I don’t mix anything up. I check my trains or other means of transportation very thoroughly the day before the shoot (or earlier). I also have my suitcase in which I keep all my hairstyling stuff at all times, so I never forget anything.


Not being informed well enough. Because I had so many shoots, I often got confused which one was which, and sometimes I wouldn’t get any information on what to do when I got there. I would hit a wall sometimes and have no idea what to do – especially if I had a model with shorter hair.

How do I do it now?
Most of my best work is made with fake hairpieces. Now I always inform: what does the client want? What does the model look like? How long is her hair, and what color? I try to base myself on that and sometimes I even sketch out designs. Muuuch easier, and saves a lot of time!

Photo by Sheridan’s Art – This hair was very elaborately planned. I wanted to do something with moths for ages, and I got a lot of inspiration from the Popovy dolls from Russia. The little braids (made of extensions) form the eyes and antennae, and the big braids on the head resemble the structure of a bug’s head. I still added long extensions on the bottom to make it more feminine and soft.


Work too much. I still struggle with that, but I have gotten better. There was a time where I squeezed 3 shoots and a workday in one weekend, or when I had an early shift at work and then did a shoot on the same day. I crashed. I learned to know and respect my limits over time.

How do I do it now?
I try to plan more efficiently and I got over my fear to decline or rescedual a shoot. As for social media, I have a curfew – at 8PM, I stop answering messages and focus on getting rest (or spend the entire night making wigs. WOOPS.)


Let’s start a nice discussion here! What were your rookie mistakes? How did you overcome them? What advice would you give your younger self when you were just starting out?

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