Photo Shoot Tips

How To Shoot a Hair Flip and Make It Look Awesome!

Hair flips are just cool!

But it’s not as simple as just telling a model to flip her hair

As you will see in the hair flip video, as the photographer you need to be the models eyes since she has no idea how the head flip looks and whether or not her hair is cooperating.  You need to be both a collaborator and director and communicate to the model what changes she needs to make to her movements in order to get the shot that you are looking for.

Watch the VIDEO…

Many people prefer to use a fan, which has long been considered an important piece of studio equipment for fashion and glamour photographers.

How to teach a model to flip her hair

I always like to prove the point that you don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to get the job done so here is a video and some samples of hair flips done without a fan… just by simply having the model flip her head. Of course the effect is not identical, but I would argue that in many ways it is much cooler.


It is often a good idea to pre-focus your shot. If you are working in less than ideal ambient light, your camera’s autofocus system may not be able to focus fast enough to give you a sharp image. The hair flip that you see above was done at f/2.8. It is also sometimes a problem that large portions of hair are in front of the face (as you see in some of the images below) and the camera focuses on hair instead of your subject’s eyes.

Pre-focusing assures you more consistent results and is an easy step since you are taking the time to choreograph the models movements in advance.

Be sure to watch the video above to learn more about how I approach hair flips

Here are a few shots that I have done using the same hair flip technique:

Hair Flip Example 2

Hair Flip Example 3

Hair Flip Example 4

Hair Flip Example 5

It is important to note that these shots are NOT the result of the “spray and pray “ technique.**    Each time the model flips her head 1 shoot 1 frame only. There is no substitute for good timing and anticipation techniques – so start practicing. If you want consistently good results you can’t leave it to luck.

**Spray and Pray is what newbie photographers do in an attempt to stop action.  Instead of anticipating the action and firing the shutter at the appropriate moment, they will spray and pray by depressing the shutter button and letting the camera fire off a burst of frames, hoping that they have gotten the decisive moment.

So until next time, gang, go pick up that camera and shoot something! Because your BEST shot is your NEXT shot!

Check out this video: Blowing Hair for Glamour Portraits & Best Fans For Your Photo Studio for more techniques to get hair flip images.

Joe Edelman

Joe Edelman is an award winning Photographer, Author, and Photo Educator.  Follow this link to learn more about Joe or view his portfolio. Please be sure to connect on the social media platforms below.
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