Julie Mustoffa Southwest Hairstyling Awards Winner { New York Photographer }

Southwest Hairstlying Awards Winner for Avant Garde Category Julie M New York Photographer


I’m so proud of these shots.  Frankly, I’m proud of this whole shoot, it was such an amazing collaboration.  Everyone on this shoot did such an amazing job.  I guess first I should talk about Julie a little bit.  Julie is a partner at the Parlor salon in New York.  She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with on a shoot like this.  She came to me wanting to do some shots to enter into the Southwest Hairstyling awards.  Something that I was totally honored to shoot.

I knew I wanted to knock these shots out of the park for her.  When she showed me her inspiration I knew I could get close to nailing it for these.  The shots were fantastic, but they were simple in execution.  Nothing super scary, just big flat natural light for the shots.  So I went to the studio and spent a day testing out some lighting setups so that I could be totally prepared for this shoot.  I wanted them to look like the pictures she shared with me.

On the day of the shoot I had 2 setups that I wanted to show her, and work through, and see which one she liked better.  One was softer, simpler, and altogether much less dramatic.  The setup that we ended up going with though was this.  Very dramatic.  It’s almost hard light, but that’s just because the falloff from the octobox is intense because I put the octo pretty close to the model.

Julie also had the backdrop made by her mother.  Which was awesome because the inspirations shots she showed me were so cool because they had shot against a peeling plaster wall.  I knew if these were going to come out just as well, the backdrop would need to be equally as cool.  When I first saw the backdrop I have to say I wasn’t convinced, but after shooting a real model on it, I totally loved it.  In the shot that’s closer to the backdrop you can see more of the texture which was pretty sick.

I didn’t know what all kinds of hair were were going to shoot until the day of, but after seeing it that morning when we were prepping I knew I had my work cut out for me.  White hair, does one thing really well, reflect back almost all the light that you put on it.  So that meant if I exposed for the hair, the model would be totally dark.  If I exposed for the model, the hair would be pretty blown out.  I ended up going with the later of the 2 options, because I knew I was going to have to do beauty retouching on the models skin, and luckily the hair wasn’t going to need much retouching.

The shoot went great, and the model did a great job of giving us some good poses.  I was most impressed by the hair and makeup though, and have since used Monique Ness on a few of my shoots since then.  She did such a great job of making the skin so pale, that almost none of that was done in post.  This is why I always think it’s funny when people try and figure out how to make skin go white in post, when if you get a good makeup artist you don’t have to worry about that.  I also absolutely adored the heart lips on the shoot.  It was that perfect touch of france that really pulled these shots together.

Marie Antoinette Themed shot from my studio With a big pink bow New York Photographer

Which brings up another thing that I’ve noticed here in New York, why are most creative team members on such different pages when it comes to shoots like these.  I don’t get it.  It really seems like the photographer is doing his own thing, the makeup artist her thing, the hair a totally separate book, and then the stylist comes up with whatever they want to.  It seems ludicrous to not have a clear vision of what you want the shoot to come out looking like.  That’s why when I work with my clients we pick a clear creative direction, and everyone is all aiming for that same goal.  Nobody goes ‘off script’ and does whatever they felt like that day.  I don’t understand how people expect to come up with a cohesive look without doing that.

That first shot is my favorite out of the shoot.  Big surprise it’s the one with the most dramatic lighting.  My favorite hair though, is definitely the big tall one with the roses.  It’s just so much fun, and I almost never shoot something that creative.

That first shot is my favorite out of the shoot.  Big surprise it’s the one with the most dramatic lighting.  My favorite hair though, is definitely the big tall one with the roses.  It’s just so much fun, and I almost never shoot something that creative.

New York Photographer Southwest Hairstyling awards Julie M Light Teal backdrop and an octobox


Needless to say this was one of my favorite shoots to date, and I loved how the whole shoot came out.  Again huge Thanks to Julie for letting me be a part of this creative vision, and Monique for doing a fantastic job on the makeup, and emily for being a great model.

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