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What if I can't do it?

The other day I had a trial run with one of my brides. When I asked for her to show me some ideas of what she wanted for her wedding day, she pulled out one photo from her phone. That was it. I don't know about you, but I love when brides have a Pinterest board with a collection of ideas, or at least a few ideas of different things they like. One photo feels like a lot of pressure, and it's challenging to make one person's hair look exactly like another's! I often think to myself "what if I can't do that updo on this bride?" So when she only had one photo, and I could tell that her hair was SUPER thin on the top, I had to push down the anxious feelings rising in my chest.

So what do you do? How do you figure out how to replicate a photo if you've never done it before, and how do you replicate an updo on someone who's hair will never look exactly like the photo they brought to you?

I'd love to give you a magic formula that works every time, but alas! That doesn't exist. I will offer you some ideas that have worked well for me.

1. Ask a lot of questions about the picture. Your goal here is to figure out what it is about that particular photo that they love. It may be certain elements of the picture that they like, and they don't necessarily care if you make an exact replica. Is it the way it's curled? Maybe the texture or the volume? Ask enough to get a feel for what they are really looking for. It may not actually be exactly the photo they bring to you.


2. Replicate the elements that you can. After asking the questions initially, it may be the braid they like-or the volume-or the location of the bun-whatever it is, you can often take some element of the photo and recreate it in their hair.


3. Be super honest about your abilities. If you know you absolutely can't do the style they bring you, be up front about it. A bride will be way happier if she's given the option to find a new stylist who can do her desired look if that's what her heart is set on. If you're honest about what you're able to do, she may decide to pick a different style that's in your wheelhouse because she want to be able to still work with you.


4. Be honest about her hair type. I am always up front with my brides about what will and will not work with their hair type based on the picture they choose. It's way better to talk about this in advance, rather than try to replicate an updo on them with hair that won't cooperate. You can always talk about alternatives-like adding extensions, getting a few highlights, or how to achieve the overall feel of the updo they like but modify it for their hair type. Let them know the realistic options they have.

So back to my bridal trial. I was pretty sure I could replicate the style of the photo, but I asked a lot of questions to try to get an understanding of what she really liked about the photo. Then, I told her that she had pretty fine hair which could be difficult to achieve the look. I suggested we try it first like the photo, and she could see how she liked it on herself. If she didn't like how it looked with her own hair, we could modify it to create something that was similar to the photo but was better suited for her thin hair.




In the end, she didn't love what the inspiration picture looked like on herself exactly. I took it out and started again with a modified version, which she like much better. We ended up modifying it even more on the wedding day once she saw how it would look with her own hair.

I asked a lot of questions, I replicated the elements that she liked, and I was honest about what I could do with her specific hair type. Did her trial run take a little longer than usual? Yes. Was it worth it? Of course!

Do you struggle with brides bringing in one inspiration photo? What things have you found helpful or not helpful in situations like this? Drop your thoughts in the comments I'd love to hear them!

As always, thanks for being here!


Heidi :)

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I love doing bridal hair and I am super passionate about working in the bridal industry. It can be a daunting task to get started, but I want to show you how and help you do more of what you love!
The Updo Collective is for passionate stylists like you, who want more creativity and freedom in their career. It's for stylists like you who want a place of learning and collaboration, to grow in our skills together. It's for stylists like you to have a community of support in an often competitive and isolating industry. 
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