There’s always a First – Danielle DeGraaf’s Competition Photoshoot Journey

There’s always a first; first impression, first job, first car, first house.  We use these ‘firsts’ to mark time, to look back on, laugh about and grow from.  They are also something that no one can experience quite like you did that very first time.

In order to let everyone who has been so supportive of Danielle in this first experience know how the day unfolded I planned to wrap up this blog series with some final questions for Danielle.  Little did I know this really wasn’t the end of the series….

 

Q. ‘Were you nervous the morning of the shoot? Did that last through the day?’

Danielle: ‘Nervous and excited.  I think having sat in on a shoot the year before helped since I knew what to expect.  I didn’t feel nervous through the rest of the day but definitely stressed!’

Q. ‘With a lot of prep work the day before, how long did the shoot end up taking in total?’

Danielle: ‘There was still a fair bit of styling to do the day of the shoot since a couple of the models had more than one look to be photographed.  We arrived at the photographer’s Studio at 8:30am and wrapped up around 3pm.’

Q. ‘What things were you very grateful you did this year for your first photo shoot and what things do you know you’ll do differently next year?’

Danielle: ‘I’m grateful I did so much work with testing my colours and textures beforehand. Having prepped the model’s hair over a period of months instead of entirely on prep day made the colouring process run very smooth.’

Q. ‘You had hired a Makeup Artist for the shoot.  Knowing you have experience with makeup yourself, how did you feel about the makeup looks?’

Danielle: ‘The makeup looks were unreal!  It was definitely the aspect I was most impressed and surprised with.  Florencia (Taylor) made what I had envisioned come to life with ease.’

Q. ‘What was it like working with a professional Photographer who had experience shooting competition hair?’

Danielle: ‘Working with Paula (Tizzard) was amazing.  I think it was a huge benefit for me to have a photographer that has shot competition hair before.  I told her from the beginning to let me know what she was thinking during the shoot and she did just that.   I was very grateful to have her eye that day!

Q. ‘Were there looks that turned out differently than what you had originally envisioned?’

Danielle:’ Yes! My third look did not portray the way I imagined it was going to, which is OK.  This year was all about learning!’

Q. ‘So what happens next? Are you planning for next year?’

Danielle: ‘I will definitely be doing another shoot next year but I’m actually working on an additional look for this years collection.  After seeing all the images together I felt two of the model’s looks flowed great, and the third did not.  After talking with Paula we both decided shooting another look this year would be worth it.  I’m also going to test out hiring a professional model for this additional shoot to see how that goes!  The third look will be finished up mid June.’

Q. ‘I’m sure you are so excited to share your pictures! Why do they have to be kept under wraps and what happens with them after submission?’

Danielle: ‘I can’t share the photos until I hear whether I placed in the competition or not.  If you release any photos before hand you are disqualified under the Contessa rules.  Submissions are due in August and it will be at least mid September before I hear anything definite.  I will have my photos to keep as all the submissions are done online.  Once submitted, the Contessas, along with certain magazines have the right to reproduce the images.  I will also be using the images to enter other competitions!

Q. ‘Since this is a Canada wide competition there must be a lot of photos entered.  How do they break them down and how are they judged?’

Danielle: ‘Submissions are broken down into categories, one for example being by Province and others by the style of the looks. So yes, there a lot of submissions but each contestant may only enter 1 or 2 categories.  Each category is judged on a specific set of guidelines, a great example being the Texture category. Sometimes entires for this category are even done in black and white as it is only the texture that is taken into consideration during judging.  Others, like the Ontario category, is judged on overall look of colour, cut and style.

 

So what’s next for Danielle? Even though the photo shoot itself is over the work is far from done.  Making sure every form, rule and requirement to enter is fulfilled and submitted properly is a time intensive task.  The excitement of the experience though is worth taking care of every last detail.

Regardless of whether Danielle is chosen as a finalist, this was all about a ‘first’.  Dipping a toe into the world of competition hair and choosing whether she prefers dry land or to cannon ball straight in without a backwards glance.

I think it’s safe to say this is a cannon ball moment!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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The Final Photoshoot Touches with Master Stylist Danielle DeGraaf

It’s hard to believe the day is almost here! Monday April 10th is just around the corner and Danielle has been eat, sleep, breathing photoshoot prep! In this last interview before the shoot Danielle reflects on where she started, how far she’s come and the process that will take place the day of.

“I started planning, or coming up with ideas in late summer, early fall 2016,” she begins, ‘I changed my mind 100 times since then and I’m still putting thought into the concept every day.”

Physically, Danielle has been hustling.  While maintaining her regular Studio hours she estimates having put in a minimum of 40 hours of work for the shoot and that number is still climbing.  With the required looks being more fantasy and avant garde focused, some of those hours were also dedicated to working with and colouring extensions, which is a very common practice in photo based competitions.

When asked what she’d do differently in preparation for her next shoot she was quick to answer, ‘I think the biggest thing would be to decide on my colours and styles and just stick to it instead of changing my mind so many times!’

In the last interview we discussed how styling had been her biggest challenge to date since it is so different from her everyday work.  Interestingly enough, even though the styles are different the products needed to create them are still the same. ‘I learned new ways to combine our products and worked out the exact amount necessary to build the style I wanted.’

Now that the day is so close I asked Danielle to walk me through what her day will look like. ‘The day of the shoot is pretty straight forward,’ she said. ‘All the colouring is done and the model’s hair will be set the day before.  We’ll get to the photographers studio in London around 8:30am. While I’m creating one model’s finished style, another model will be in makeup.’ With 3 models to prep in a relatively short period of time Danielle is thankful to have some help from fellow Stylists who can jump in and be an ‘extra set of hands’ for her when needed.  ‘The goal will be for each model to always be busy, either with hair, makeup or on set modeling for the photographer.’

With the new connections she has made for photography, makeup, education and with other hairstylists pursuing this type of work, I asked whether she’s found the network different from the behind the chair network. ‘I wouldn’t say its far different.  I believe the majority, at least the ones I’ve had the opportunity to meet, are still working and enjoy being behind the chair.  The hair industry has so many avenues and I think competition work is just an example of one where Stylists can come together and share their passion.’

To say it’s been a journey for Danielle is an understatement!  When asked what the first thing she will do after the shoot is complete her answer had me laughing, ‘Cry, laugh, drink (she laughs), I’m actually taking a couple of days off and will probably reflect on my experience and have a glass of wine!’ And it’s a well deserved glass indeed.

You’ll see a follow up blog post about Danielle’s shoot after she’s had a chance to relax and reflect on her experience the day of the shoot.  There has been so much support shown for Danielle throughout this process that we just want to say thank you for every word of encouragement, all the well wishes and to those simply just happy for Danielle and all she has worked so hard to accomplish! Your support does not go unnoticed!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

 

 

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