Salon Masterclass 2023: Andrew O'Toole on Creating Standout Collections

Published 18th Oct 2023 by Chloe Woodland

One Salon International 2023 masterclass featured the world-renowned hairdressing photographer, Andrew O'Toole. He drew an eager crowd of hairstylists, photographers, and creative professionals from around the world.

The masterclass kicked off with a warm introduction by Ken Picton, who set the stage for an enlightening and innovative experience. He described Andrew O'Toole as not just a master of hairdressing photography but also as a disruptor in the field. Ken emphasised the significance of O'Toole's collaborative approach to hair, makeup, styling, and photography. 

One of the key takeaways from Andrew O'Toole's masterclass was his encouragement for attendees to "be a unicorn." He illustrated this concept by showcasing a collection that stood out, captured the viewer's attention, and became a reference point for mood boards. O'Toole continued to unveil the secrets behind his most iconic shoots, explaining the thought process and techniques that set them apart.

The masterclass delved into the practical aspects of photoshoots, including budgeting. O'Toole provided a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in a shoot, encompassing the photographer, model, stylist, makeup artist, studio, lighting, retouching, and even catering. Attendees gained valuable insights into how to navigate these financial aspects and make them less prohibitive as well as some tips to help bring costs down if you are just starting out.

During the event, Andrew directed four quick shoots in real time alongside ELEVEN Australia Ambassador Melvin Royce Lane who to demonstrate that the "pre-work is the magic work," and that with the right preparation, a shoot can go off without a hitch and produce beautiful results. Andrew also provides a timeline for the preparation process leading up to a shoot, starting 12 months in advance with idea collection and culminating two weeks before the shoot in showcasing key images to the client.

O'Toole also shared tips for creating effective mood boards, showcasing Errol Douglas MBE's mood board ahead of his current British Hairdressing Awards shoot to show how the process works from start to finish, and how being as organised as possible is key to sticking to your idea.

The masterclass covered inspiration, with O'Toole encouraging attendees to look beyond the obvious sources. He emphasised the importance of not just copying ideas but creating something truly unique and suggested exploring nature, clothing patterns, and even books on unexpected subjects like butterflies to find incredible and unexpected colour combinations.

The session concluded with insights on creating collections that are original, distinctive, and unforgettable. For those looking to elevate their photography game, this masterclass was a goldmine of knowledge with O'Toole shared secrets and techniques he has accumulated over 25 years of collaborating with the world's most awarded hairdressers. Attendees learned how to accelerate their image creation process and

Andrew’s final words to the audience were: "If you can cut hair, straighten hair, curl hair…then you are capable of winning awards.”

If you couldn't attend Salon International this year, catch up with everything you missed on our website. To start, here's what happened on the HJ stage.

Chloe Woodland

Chloe Woodland

Published 18th Oct 2023

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