How to take before and after photos in your salon like a pro

Woman taking before and after photo to client in salon

Before and after photos play a significant role in the salon industry, acting as key instruments for attracting new clients and promoting your business. These photos serve as impactful visual tools for beauty professionals to showcase their skills and craftsmanship. According to experts, people remember only 10% of the information three days after hearing it, while adding a picture can improve recall by up to 65%.

In the age of social media, where visual content is highly valued, you must include before and after photos of your work in your social media marketing strategy. Why? First and foremost, people are emotionally driven to purchase by seeing inspiring, beautiful transformations. Secondly, by posting before and after photos, you will generate interest and reactions from your followers. So, you’ll not only become more popular, but you will also get the chance to open your door to more clients. 

What’s more, if you have a website or an online booking page, you can create a “before and after” album and let people admire your work. If you don’t have a booking page yet, you can create one for free by downloading the Goldie booking app from the App Store or Google Play

In this blog post, you will find 6 practical tips to improve your salon before and after photos. You’ll discover what equipment you need, secret tips and tricks from beauty experts, and the average cost for your salon photography equipment. Ready?

How do you take professional before and after photos?

Taking professional before and after photos involve much more than just pointing and shooting a camera. It’s an art that combines technical prowess, creative flair, and an understanding of your subject’s unique features.

1. Showcase the transformation

First, ensure you have your photo equipment ready, and you find the best shooting spot in your salon. Then, it’s time to actually take the before and after photos. There are some small secrets that will bring out the best in your photos, such as:

  • Take the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures from the same angle and in the same light conditions. This allows for an accurate and clear comparison, emphasizing the changes you’ve achieved. If your service will take a few hours and it’s possible to get darker outside in the meanwhile, it’s highly recommended to use only your lightning equipment for the shoot. Anyway, make sure you don’t use too much of it. Too much light can make colors and textures look different than in reality, and we don’t want that!
  • A busy or distracting background can take the focus away from the subject and the transformation. It’s best to use a clean, neutral backdrop. 
  • When capturing the ‘after’ image, focus on highlighting the details of your work – whether that’s the glossy finish, a perfectly clean cuticle, a new hair color, the precision of a cut, or the glow from a facial treatment. These nuances underscore your skill and professionalism. Therefore, use a macro lens both in your before and after salon photos to highlight the transformation.
  • Include some close-ups of the details you’re particularly proud of, as well as wider shots that give a complete picture of the transformation.
  • Guide your client on how to pose and where to look, ensuring their best features are showcased. Encourage them to express their satisfaction and joy with the transformation, as emotion-filled photos can create a stronger impact.

Here are some tips on angles and lightning from professional hairstylist Laura Ashley:

With these secrets, your salon’s before and after photos will not just showcase a transformation, but they will tell a story, highlighting your expertise and your client’s trust in your talent.

2. Invest in high-quality equipment

When it comes to taking before and after photos in your salon, your equipment is everything. Without good lights, a performant camera, and some essential accessories, all your efforts are pointless. 

  • Camera

A high-resolution camera will capture the smallest details, ensuring your followers can fully appreciate the transformative work you’ve done. If you want to go extra professional with your before and after photos, a camera like Nikon or Canon is the go-to tool. The price for a high-quality camera varies between $1000 – $3000. 

Anyway, if you simply want to use your smartphone to take salon before and after photos, it’s perfectly ok. Just make sure you own a phone with a good camera and with multiple options available while shooting. Investing around $1000 on a phone once a few years is absolutely worth it if you think about how many things you can do with it, both personal and professional. According to this guide on the best phone cameras in 2023, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max appear to be the best alternatives for you.

  • Lightning

Good lighting is crucial, both from professional lighting equipment and natural light. Professional lighting equipment can be beneficial to highlight the subject and eliminate unwanted shadows. Now, if you’re wondering how to take before and after photos in your salon like a pro, here are some lightning tools for you:

Multimedia studio lights

Multimedia lights

Light ring for slaons

Lightning ring

Led light pannel on tripod

Rollable light pannel & Light pannel tripod

  • Background

Using a plain, neutral-colored background will ensure that the focus remains on the transformation. Investing in an easy-to-clean backdrop can significantly elevate the overall look of your photos. Anyway, make sure that the background you use is made of a matte textile material that doesn’t reflect the light.

Photo shooting background

Photography background

  • Accessories

Accessories such as tripods, mini light rings, or lenses can provide an extra luxurious effect to your salon before and after photos, reducing the chances of blurry images and allowing you to take photos from consistent angles. 

Phone camera lens

Phone camera lens

An additional phone camera lens can enhance the photography experience by providing additional functionalities like macro capabilities for close-ups or wide-angle views for broader coverage, thereby highlighting details that might otherwise be missed with the standard phone camera lens. For example, permanent makeup artists might want to highlight the small pixels on the skin, and that would only be possible with a macro lens attached to the phone camera.

Phone selfie light

Phone Selfie Light

Remember, the investment in high-quality equipment will pay off in the end as you present your work in the most visually appealing manner, attracting new clients and retaining existing ones. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the salon industry, it could very well be worth a thousand customers!

3. Prepare the salon for optimal lightning

Salon desk with lights

Having the best lightning equipment is not always enough. Sometimes, you might need only natural lighting or a mix between natural light and some extra equipment. Therefore, make sure you configure your salon space to maximize the use of natural light. 

This could mean positioning your photo-taking area close to a large window to take advantage of the daylight or arranging your artificial lights to complement the natural light and reduce shadows. 

Also, consider the color of your walls and surfaces; lighter colors can help reflect light and brighten the space. Play around with different setups until you find one that gives you the best shoots, then stick to it.

4. Naturally edit your salon before and after photos

Editing salon before and after photos might be required in some situations, but it’s crucial to keep this process minimal and ethical to maintain the authenticity and trustworthiness of your images.

Here are some minor elements you might need to edit in some of your before and after photos:

Brightness and Contrast

Adjusting the brightness and contrast will make your images clearer and more vibrant. However, it’s important not to overdo it as it can lead to a loss of detail and give an unrealistic impression.

Color Correction

Correcting color balance is essential, especially in a salon environment where accurate representation of color is vital. This is particularly relevant for hair color transformations or makeup applications. Be careful to maintain the original hues and avoid oversaturated colors, which can look artificial.


A slight increase in sharpness can enhance the details in your photo, making your work more visible. However, too much sharpening can lead to a harsh, unnatural look.

Skin Retouching

It’s ethical to remove temporary blemishes, redness, or stray hair that don’t reflect the client’s usual appearance. However, avoid modifying your client’s features, as this can be misleading. 

Edited vs not edited photo

The most important rule in editing is “less is more.” The goal should be to present a polished yet authentic representation of your work. Ethical editing practices maintain your credibility as a professional, helping you build strong, trust-based relationships with clients. 

If you didn’t edit your salon photos yet or if you’re wondering how to have better before and after photos for Instagram without any editing skills, here are some tools that will help you:

If you want to create a whole social media content strategy fast and easy, here’s an article on how to create social media graphics for your beauty salon in Canva.

5. Share your masterpiece

Share salon images on social media

Speaking of social media, sharing your masterpiece on Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram is essential. Why? Because it’s pointless to have beautiful before and after photos of your work without showing them to the world. Social media is crucial for reaching a broad audience and boosting visibility for your salon.

These platforms serve as a virtual portfolio of your work, providing potential customers with a glimpse of the transformations you’re capable of.

Also, don’t forget to create an engaging narrative. Stories sell, and a compelling narrative can make your photos even more engaging. Lastly, getting your client’s permission to post a photo of them is a must. Always seek explicit consent from your clients before sharing their photos online. Not only is it respectful and professional, but it also ensures you are legally covered.

6. Engage with your audience

Woman engaging with audience on social media

Posting salon before and after images is not everything. Engaging with your audience and encouraging people to give you feedback on your work is part of the game too. We know that beauty professionals are very busy all the time, but if you want to take your business to the next level, make sure you take one or two hours a day for marketing. That includes:

  • Editing and publishing new salon before and after content
  • Answering messages and comments
  • Following new trends and sharing them with your audience
  • Creating Q&A sessions on Instagram story (to engage with your audience and to let them know you better)
  • Editing and sharing videos of your work
  • Working on your personal branding


You already know that salon before and after photos are a crucial component of marketing in the beauty industry. They provide visual proof of the transformative skills of salon professionals, playing a pivotal role in attracting new clients and building loyalty with existing ones.

We hope you discovered in this blog post how to take before and after photos in your salon like a real professional. And remember, each photo is a reflection of your brand. Invest in the right equipment, prepare your salon to maximize natural light, learn the secrets of showcasing transformations, and avoid common mistakes. Keep striving for improvement and watch as your efforts translate into a stronger online presence, increased client engagement, and, ultimately, a more successful business.

Now, we’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts, experience, and tips on taking salon before and after photos in the comments section below. Your insights could be the spark that inspires another salon professional! 🙂

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