How To Take Pictures Of Your Hair

Taking pictures of your hair is a wonderful way to track progress and stay motivated. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that many of us don’t know how to take good pictures of our hair.

Unlike taking normal pictures, it’s not quite as simple as point-and-shoot. So here are a few guidelines on how to take pictures of your hair to help you showcase it in all of its fabulous glory.


Clean yo nasty room

Lawdhammercy! I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve seen with inappropriate, personal and just downright nasty things in the background.No one cares to see your filthy tub, your underwear all over the bed, or the various piles of mess all over your floor. Please take two minutes to straighten up beforehand. Objects in the background distract from the focal point, your lovely hair.


                                      Webcam vs. Digital

Use a real camera

I know some of you don’t have digital cameras, so you guys get a pass. But for those of you who do own one or have access to one, please use it.

Pictures on a typical camera phone or webcam just can’t compete with those from even a low-end digital camera.


 Harpo, who dis woman?

Use proper lighting

Good lighting is the main reason why many choose to snap pics in the bathroom. It’s small and bright. Natural light works well also. If you’re indoors, using the flash is often better.

Cut out the extra body parts

Compare the two pictures above. Technically, they both show the side of my hair. But notice how much clearer and focused the bottom one is.

Unless your hair is actually waist-length, there’s no reason to show your waist. Taking closer pictures shows more detail and progress. In other words, keep the shot as tight and focused as possible.


Use the macro mode

Most digital cameras have a setting called “macro mode.” The one on my camera is a little flower, similar to this one (on the right):

The macro mode is specifically for shooting close-up shots. Take a look at these two pictures:

The first one was taken without macro, and the second with, both from the same distance. Notice how the first one looks fuzzy near the front, while the second shows each detailed nap and even additional colors.


Master The Back-Of-The-Head Shot

Actually, this technique is useful for any angle, but particularly for the hard-to-photo back of the head.

The mirror is your friend. Use it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out. Trying the one-hand-hold-while twisting-around or the both-hands-holding-the-camera-behind-the-head contortionist shot only results in super blurry pics or something like the one above where half your head is missing.

In order to accurately track your progress you need to have all of your hair hanging straight and from a head-on angle.

There are two ways to accomplish this. If you have a self-timer on your camera and a tripod, that can be used. But you have to make sure you’re positioned just right. Too much hassle.

The second option is to use your mirror. Get as close to the mirror as possible (I actually sit on my counter) and turn your back to it. Point the camera at the mirror (no flash, of course) and snap away.

I alternate between two positions, on top of my head and on/right above my shoulder.


And there you have it. My six steps to picture perfection. Do you have any tips of your own to share?

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43 Responses so far.

  1. Shaz says:

    What a brilliant article! I am forever trying to take the pics and have tried the spinning your head round quickly thing too. Thanks for taking the time, it's really helped me.

  2. nappyheadblkgrl says:

    Hi, Shaz!
    Yes, I think we've all done the stretch armstrong shot before lol
    I'm glad I was able to help and thanks for stopping by 🙂
    My recent post Concert Hair

  3. paige says:

    great tips….. especially the one on how to take pictures of the back of your head!

    very helpful
    paige recently posted..Love Thyself!My Profile

  4. Narj says:

    aww… this is great! thanks alot.. now I don’t have to beg my sister to take my shots!

  5. Mzleci says:

    This was awesome, gonna by some batteries and finally take some up to date pics now 🙂

  6. Onyx Rose says:

    GREAT post! Something so simple, but is never really addressed. I love this blog, lol.
    Onyx Rose recently posted..Upcoming Event- Little Miss Happy HeadedMy Profile

  7. Daree says:

    Really good post! LOL @ #1, you would think this is common sense 🙂 But what is “macro mode” on a camera?

  8. I love the way your mind works. This is a great post. Very unique. I didn’t think of using the macro setting, but from the pictures above I see that it really makes a difference.
    NaturalReview recently posted..Natural Hair Classes in the Baltimore AreaMy Profile

  9. […] tackle this issue, and she gives some great tips. She also shows her own photos as examples. Click HERE to read it. While you are there, take a look at some of her other posts. She is very funny. There […]

  10. I love this post. It’s so original yet so needed. I have been complaining that I don’t have enough pictures to document my hair journey because I’m awful at taking pics of myself. Thanks. OH, and thanks for telling people to clean their room first. I can’t believe some of the pics and vids I see in dirty rooms. Keep up the good work!!!

  11. zainab1 says:

    This is a really great and helpful article. Wonderfully done. Thanks so much for sharing this. Take care.

    zainab1 recently posted..JANE CARTERS SCALP NOURISHING SERUMMy Profile

  12. I love your writing style, I am definitely addding to my bookmarks.

    This post is spot on! It cracks me up how people will ask you “what is my hair type” or ” how can I define my curls” then send you a blurry full body pic, lol.

    I have some add’l steps:

    #7 Use you friend, husband, kids, whomever to take the pix for you.

    #8 Editing software is your friend. There are plenty of free softwares available out there, I use Picasa.

    • Excellent points, Derby *thumbs up* I agree, having others snap your pics is better, but for those of us who are lonely…um, I mean, single…the mirror trick will have to do :mrgreen:

      Along with the editing software, I should add be sure to watermark your photos. Picnik is my favorite for that.

      Thanks for dropping by and be sure to come back!

  13. derby shared this link on her fan page. love this! i’m guilty of sometimes having a mess in the background (& didn’t know about the macro featuree) so thanks for the heads up! 🙂

    definitely bookmarking this page (& i followed).
    freeyourheart recently posted..i got youMy Profile

  14. […] Bendy in Uncategorized I was checking out some natural hair blogs and came across this post by Nappy Headed Black Girl with tips on how to take pictures of your hair for your […]

  15. vonnie says:

    much love for this post…oh how i wish people would heed the “no nasty ass shit in the background” rule! lord, preach!
    vonnie recently posted..Are You a Marilyn or a JackieMy Profile

  16. CocoEuro says:

    Awesome!!! Thank you so much for the tips

  17. UNCPhDiva says:

    Thanks for the article! I have to do many retakes when I’m taking pictures of my hair (which I’m doing all the time now because I’m newly natural and am trying new styles). I didn’t know about the maco button. I’ll be using that for detail in the future! Thanks for th tip!

  18. Jarmelia says:

    This post is awesome! I was taking pics last night and found out something else. If your in the bathroom and the pics keeps coming out too yellow due to lighting, turn the light off and use the flash. Brightens the whole area and with the macro setting u get great pics!
    Jarmelia recently posted..Haircare- So youve done the Big Chop- now whatMy Profile

    • nappy headed black girl says:

      And this is why I love my readers. I never would’ve thought to take a pic with the lights off.

      Genius 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by and I hope you’ll stick around.

  19. anomelodious says:

    THANK YOU LORD! I am a photo fanatic and i struggle with a back of the head shot! thank you so much! this is great info!

  20. Ariane says:

    This is a great post,I didn’t know about the Macro mode so the next time I take photos with my digital camera I am going to keep this in mind.

    Another thing that has helped me is hooking my camera up to my TV. This way I am not taking hundreds of shots just to get the right shot. I can see if the lens needs to be adjusted or if there is something I have to fix before I take my picture.
    Ariane recently posted..Hair Snobs, Are Women with Natural Hair too Bougie?My Profile

    • nappy headed black girl says:

      Ariane, I’m a bit confused. Do you hook it up before shooting to get the right angle? Or do you mean you check your shots through the TV? And if that’s the case, couldn’t you just review them on the camera?

      I’m all sorts of confused lol Thanks for dropping by.

      • Ariane says:

        The camera is hooked up to the TV before I take the picture, allowing me to see myself on the TV. Once the picture has been shot it will show me this as well. This is especially helpful when I make YouTube vids because it helps me to avoid bad shots where things are cut off or not visible and then I don’t find out until after I have filmed the whole thing.

  21. NaturaLocs says:

    I love how I learn something new every time I read your blog. Always wondered just what effect that macro flower symbol actually had on photos and now I know.

    Great Post!
    NaturaLocs recently posted..Month 2: part 2 (re-twist & style)My Profile

  22. Great advise! When I start posting pix of my hair, I’ll definitely reread this post!

  23. Marie says:

    Or you can cut the fuss and get somebody to take it for you!

  24. I LOVE this article! Seriously. I am so with you on the nasty azz backgrounds. Ewww some ppl. I watched a YT video once where I wanted to say, “Could you have at least put sheets on the bed.”

    I don’t think ppl really understand why they shouldn’t caputre this in photos. Which brings me to my next point, aligned with yours.

    Use a REAL camera, I’d say if you are going to have a jacked up background, capture your pic with a camera that blurs the background out (aperture priority mode set very low). That way people can’t make out your panties LOL

    BTW, have you seen my new blog design? I wanted it to be brighter.
    Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty recently posted..The Best Way to Freshen and Brighten Your SkinMy Profile

    • Ugh. The dirty background is one of my biggest video pet peeves. I mean, it’s not like you didn’t know you were being taped. Geesh.

      And thanks for the camera setting tip. I have a basic digital so I don’t tinker too much with the settings. I never even knew you could do something like that. I just figured it was a post-editing trick. Cool.

  25. […] your goal is to grow your hair, take lots of photos. Because you handle your hair all the time, it can be hard to see the difference in length. […]

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