Inspiration Tutorial: Hairflips!

I started doing hairflips in 2009 and have been hooked ever since. They are so much fun to play with! Here are my favorites from over the years:

So here, at last, is a tutorial video explaining how I do this!

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Ten bonus tips:

1. Embrace the silliness. Hairflips are not serious business. 🙂 But the results are awesome!

2. The shutter-click timing is obviously the hardest part to get right. I’m not sure how I do that, except practice. 🙂 Generally I think I hit the shutter when my eyes meet the camera. You can also feel where your hair is, and I think you want to hit the shutter a split second before your hair feels at the ‘top’. But again, practice, practice, practice. Take a lot and you’ll get the feel for it, but of course you’ll never get 100% of the shots just right. See below for the extended demo video.

3. Related to the first two: do your practicing by yourself. On your own, you can look as ridiculous as you want and no one will judge you. Plus, when other people are hairflipping, it makes timing much harder.

4. However, your remote might make a difference. There are two types of wireless remotes:

Really basic, one-button remotes, which cost less than $20. These can be a little harder to control; I have to wave my arm around like a lunatic to let the remote ‘find’ the sensor.

For Nikon / For Canon

But if you’re serious about hairflips, or any other photos that involve you being in front of the camera, I *highly* recommend a radio-frequency remote like this one. It is much more precise and fast, and has more functions built in. Since it has a transmitter and antennae, you don’t have to have a direct line of sight to the camera front to take the photo.

5. Don’t hairflip on an empty stomach; you will get light-headed. 🙂

6. A DSLR would be best for this kind of photo. You could definitely do hairflips with a point & shoot camera, or probably even a cameraphone. However, for best results you want to be able to manipulate the settings so the shutter is fast enough to capture the action/freeze your hair in mid-air. (So for example, you couldn’t do this in low light, because the shutter speed would need to be slower, which would make you and your hair blurry.)

7. If you’re using a DSLR, consider your shooting mode. My Nikon D600 has three on the mode dial: Single (S), Continuous Low speed (CL), Continuous High speed (CH). Your camera will have similar modes, and if you’re just starting out, use the Continuous Low speed. It’ll do a burst of two or three when you press your remote shutter, and that will give you several shots for each hairflip. (If you do that, generally one will be too early or too late, and one will be just right.)

8. If you have a speedlight, you will have lots more interesting options (including shooting indoors at night)! Several of the above shots were done using flash.

9. Experiment with different angles and hair textures–you can do this with wet hair, dry hair, curled hair, ponytailed hair, etc. You could use a fan or hairdryer to help direct/shape your hair. The in-pool flip is a popular one that I have yet to try!

10. Use your expression, the setting, lighting, your body, and clothing to create different moods: playful, dramatic, creepy.

 

More demo:

Here’s the full demo session (I cut it down for the tutorial video because it was so long):

One minute, 28 seconds. Here are the twenty-three resulting images (there are about six of them that I would choose from to post). Hairflips don’t take a lot of time!

Hairflip_0023Hairflip_0024Hairflip_0025Hairflip_0026Hairflip_0027

Hairflip_0028

I think that last one needs to be my new profile photo, what do you think? 🙂

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Let me know what you think! Have you done any hairflips? More importantly, has this inspired you to try?? I’d love to see your hairflip photos!