How many times do we have to shoot an epic project and start the post-processing knowing that there will be a considerable amount of time spent removing facial hair? Is this how it should be, or can it be changed?
Facial hair is something every person, man or woman, has. I am not opposed to facial hair, but for the images I create, it is often expected that the client would prefer the hair to be removed and for the skin to look silky smooth, to glow, and to be well-lit. But, I am struggling to come to a conclusion of how to deal with this situation. Should I photograph the person and leave the hair, or should I remove it in post production? Is it ok to discuss it with the model or their agents, and can I ask them to try to remove the hair before coming to the shoot? Is that arrogant?
I don’t want to offend anyone, but I know some models will not eat certain foods that make them feel bloated the day before a shoot, which holds similar reasoning to removing bodily hair, as too does getting a good night’s rest and drinking a lot of water. Everyone being photographed usually wants to give their best performance, and they want to participate with positive energy.
Another aspect that makes this a difficult argument is that the women are usually also young, and often, it’s their first experience with a photographer. Is this what I want to communicate to them? Should I make them believe that removing hair is what they should be doing to be a model or woman?
On the other hand, maybe it's education, where the models are not told about what preparation to do for a shoot. What are the steps a model should take before going to the shoot, if any?
I have removed many individual hairs from faces with Photoshop. It’s one of the parts of the process I’d do without any day. I would be able to complete the retouching a lot quicker, which would allow me to focus on the fun stuff or get the images to the client more quickly.
Removing hair has become the norm. Society has projected this idea for the past few centuries, and it will be difficult to change it now, although it’s not impossible. The question is whether it should change? I am an uneducated man in this regard with no sisters to ask, so I need to ask the female models, photographers, and people in the industry what their opinions are and whether it should be their opinion that matters or if the clients who ask and pay for the images will be the deciders in the end. Although photography is going through a trend of being more natural, there is usually a need to remove most facial hair.
If possible, this would be a great place for the female readers to guide the other photographers who would like to deliver work that represents women in the way they would like to be represented. Most of us don’t want to just go with the flow. We want to challenge the status quo and disrupt and affect change like so many photographers and creatives have done in the past. It’s our responsibility to do so. So, please inform us in the comments.