How To Become A Top Session Stylist

In an industry as competitive as hair and makeup, getting to the top of your game can be seriously hard. Whatever your route to the top, there’s one thing that you can guarantee it will involve, and that’s hard work because there is no silver bullet to success. The aim of this blog post is to help you get to the top of the session styling industry without too much blood sweat and tears.

So, what is session styling? 


Session styling is all about preparing hair for models, celebrities, actors and VIP’s who are about to step out on the catwalk, photo shoot, film set or red carpet event. 

On the creativity scale session styling is the ultimate in creativity and offers amazing opportunities to travel the world and work with the most incredible people. It is about the highest level of imagination, skill and application. A session stylist must be able to interpret, complement and add to the latest fashion trends, working closely with others from the fashion industry. To complement - create beautiful, and sometimes dramatic hair. It can be truly out of the box thinking. 

So what are the ingredients that make up a great session stylist? 

Build your profile: figure out what’s your superpower skill set. What is the one thing that you are going to be known for. This is where you market your unique skills, sharing it with the world. 

Study the success of others. Find the key people of influence in the industry and study their work. 

The biggest key to your success in the  world of session styling is your portfolio. This is how you translate your creative vision and share how magnificent you are. Without it there is no visualisation of your skill or your talent. The hair, fashion and creative industry is fuelled by images and your images have to communicate that you are the creative expert they need. Think of it as your creative CV. The best way to do this is to begin with a few shots of models to show your ability’s. When you have a good body of work google “hair and make-up agents”. Offer to do some assistant work. Now because you’re new to the game you’ll may have to offer your services for free. Your time will be the greatest investment you’ll make, you’re able to work with a team that can recommend you for further projects. Session work is all about relationships.

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Testing is collaborating with other creatives on projects for free for mutual benefit.

Offer to Test: Seek out photographers, makeup artist and models in your area and offer to help them if they have shoots on. As before, you may not get paid for the work, but it is all about relationship building, gaining experience and getting your name known. 

Go to as many seminars and hair shows as possible so that you have a good grasp of new and current trends. Pay to see the best hair artists. Oh, but let’s not forget old trends too, it’s important to know the history of hair and period hairstyles. Catalogue this information so you can reference your techniques.

Seek out and work with a team that constantly inspires you. Obsess about hair with them, create develop a strong sense of style that is easily Identifiable. One of the biggest shortcuts to your success I could ever recommend is find a creative mentor, someone who has been there and done that they will save you valuable time and effort in the process of learning. 

So I guess the next question is what can you expect to get paid as a session stylist?

Or what can you charge if you are working with celebrities or on a magazine shoot?

Download my session styling exclusive guide rate card to help you not undersell yourself, and charging a fair price as a freelance session stylist.