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CHM X BaByliss PRO – on location top tips

Lights, camera, action! Want the lowdown on what it’s REALLY like creating hair looks on location? Sam Burnett and Lisa Farrall share all…

 

The lowdown with Lisa…

What are your top tips for working on location?
Always be prepared for everything! I don’t just mean hair kit – you might be in a location without water or food… yes this has happened to me before!

When it comes to working outdoors with unpredictable elements, such as the weather, how do you go about preparing?
The weather is always one to watch – make sure you have something waterproof and warm in your bag. I usually pack a torch too, incase it gets dark and you lose light, because the camera flash or video lights will always show up what your eye can’t see in the dark. I never realised how important shoes were too, until I ruined a few pairs of my favourite trainers. I’ve come to realise that if I’m in the mountains, I’m wearing wellies or hiking boots.

What’s the one item you never go to a shoot without, and why?
My assistant haha! Actually, with Covid-19 I’ve been flying solo a lot. I never go anywhere without two wigs, a comb, some hairspray and some grips. I can do anything with some hairspray and a grip box! I’m actually working on a little session kit with grips, pins and bands with @wig_london, so it stops the bulk building in your kit bag. My kit is SO heavy – it’s like I’ve got my ex-girlfriend and boyfriend in there haha! I’m always trying to figure out how to make this lighter.

 

What are some of your favourite locations you’ve been to for shoots?
Oh, this is a great question! A lot of the shoots in London you could be anywhere in the world, especially when set design comes into play! I’ve got to say… Scotland for a Harry Styles music video was awesome – it was a romantic fishing village and was frozen in time. Of course, LA is also amazing, as you feel like you’re on a film set. Other than that, I’m not sure you can get better than a farm in Kent working with you guys!

 

What’s one particularly memorable experience you’ve had of working on location and why?
I remember shooting in Santorini for a music video, and there were so many locations… We were staying in this private little hotel that was practically made of marble. It was so hot when I was walking to the car that I slipped, and I was in the air for what felt like a lifetime before I went down the stairs. I’ve never felt pain like it! I got up and carried on though, and we shot at a remote beach in 40 degrees, with no water and sun cream. I don’t know what we were thinking if I’m honest, but once we were committed to getting the shots there was no going back! I squealed every time I moved or sat… I carried on for another three days, then when I got back to London I went to the hospital and turns out I’d fractured my coccyx! To this day I have to sit on a pillow… Now that’s dedication.

What’s your one piece of advice for anyone looking to progress to session and editorial work?
Be hungry for it, but don’t be a d*ick! No one is below you or above you, but you got to keep positive and love what you do. On a long shoot there’s nothing worse than an energy vampire, so keep positive and be a team player. Do what you gotta do – assist and never give up.

 

Sam shares all…

What are your top tips for working on location?
When working on location, it’s a good idea to enquire in advance about what the prep space is like – how much room there will be, access to power etc. This way you can prepare your kit accordingly; I usually pack a day bag with all the essentials I predict I will need, including fully-charged cordless stylers. Where possible, I will prep any hair pieces or extensions in advance to save time and space. It’s good practice to ask to see the suggested shoot locations in advance, so you can make a plan for each. I often find the setting will inspire the hair direction.

When it comes to working outdoors with unpredictable elements, such as the weather, how do you go about preparing?
Some practical advice is to check the weather report! Always pack appropriate footwear, waterproofs, umbrellas, sunscreen etc. I also like to have hand warmers, and extra blankets to keep the models warm and happy between shots. It’s a good idea to ask for suggested shoot locations that are weather specific so you are fully prepared. Depending on the hair texture and styles, make sure to pack your anti-humidity styling products and allow for the moisture in the air to affect the texture. Depending on if the weather is predicted to change, you might be able to request to shoot certain looks first if the weather conditions are better in the morning or afternoon.

What’s the one item you never go to a shoot without, and why?
I find it’s important to always have a hairdryer on hand, because it’s the one tool I really could not do without. Lately, the BaByliss 9000 Cordless Straightener has been coming with me everywhere – it’s so versatile, and great for use when  on location or backstage in a Fashion Week line-up.

What are some of your favourite locations you’ve been to for shoots?
Shooting a music video in a Miami Art Deco hotel, and another in multiple locations all over LA have to be two of the highlights. Another favourite was a cover shoot for InStyle magazine where we shot in an abandoned school with a Helmut Lung style empty swimming pool.

What’s one particularly memorable experience you’ve had of working on location and why?
The music video in Miami was a memorable experience because it was such an ambitious shoot for the time we had, so we literally worked around the clock. There are a few memorable moments from that trip including half my kit not arriving, so I had to use the hotel bathroom hair dryer, getting caught up in paparazzi frenzy and also drinking coffee for the first time aged 37.

What’s your one piece of advice for anyone looking to progress to session and editorial work?
Expect long hours, be adaptable and always be prepared. Put yourself out there and believe in yourself – assisting an experienced session stylist is invaluable.

See more from our October cover story >

 

*PPE guidelines were adhered to, new measures have been implemented since this shoot took place.