I remember in the beginning of my natural hair journey that I wanted to go from having a relaxer to bra strap length (BSL) natural hair immediately. I was so impatient in the beginning of my journey.
One of the many concepts that we talk about in the community is patience. We also frequently discuss the benefits of creating a natural hair journal.
In starting your natural hair journal you are encouraged to take pictures of your hair as it progresses throughout your journey. When I was newly natural, I didn’t know how to take pictures that truly captured my journey in a consistent and clear manner.
I can be a very visual at times and when it comes to my hair, most times, seeing is believing. I encourage women to take pictures throughout their natural hair journey.
Especially, if you are someone who believes that your hair does not grow. In these cases, a picture can speak a thousand words.
Note: Length checks can be done using your natural texture by simply stretching the hair. You do not have to straighten your hair to perform a length check.
Remember that anytime heat is applied to your hair, there is always a risk of encountering heat damage. You will not know if there is any damage until you wash it – a few days or weeks later. So please be mindful of how you choose to check your length.
The most important aspects of length checks on natural hair are having a consistent reference point and taking a great picture for comparisons.
So, how in the world do you take a great picture that gives consistent reference points?
Well, I am glad you asked.
There are 4 basics guidelines:
- Always stand as straight as possible. Be sure to keep your shoulders straight. No slumping.
- Use your body parts or your length check shirt as consistent markers during your photos.
- Always clean your mirror before taking pictures of yourself.
- Enlist help if needed.
More Length Check Tips:
- You will need a clean and tidy background. Keep the focus on your hair and not the items in the background.
- Make sure you have sufficient lighting. If you find that your pictures are too dark or that your camera does not have a flash, try removing the covering from your light fixture to see if that helps. You might explore allowing more natural light in photos by opening the curtains/blinds or taking the photos outside. This will add more lighting to the area and thus the picture. Another option is to use the brightening function in any photo editing software.
- Use the date stamp functionality on your camera. This is super helpful if you do not upload your photos regularly. If you’re not sure if your camera has the date stamp functionality, be sure to check your owner’s manual. If you have lost the paper manual, you can probably find a PDF version online.
- If you have a tripod, use it with the camera’s self-timer. It can definitely help when taking pictures of the back/nape area.
- Work with the same 5 general areas of your hair: the nape, the crown, the front center, left side and right side.
Before I choose to place the camera on my right shoulder, I used a hand mirror to review the placement and angle.
For the picture above, you will notice that I wrapped a black elastic band around my hair. I did that to add weight to that section, so that I was able to grab it in the back to feel where the hair was. My left hand was used to slightly extend my nape area hair to the fullest extent. It is more flexible than my right hand. The camera is placed on my right shoulder.
The picture of my crown area is the shortest part. This is the section where I have to enlist help, because I am not able to take a consistent smooth picture since my hair stops just below my shoulders. The hair is extended to the back until the ends. Each time, the goal is to have a tight clear shot of my hair and the marked point.
The left side for me is a little tricky. I never like the way the pictures come out, because I don’t have any markers on the left side. I must hold my camera in my right hand with my arm extended as I stretch my hair with my left hand.
I have to take the picture with the camera facing the mirror, essentially taking a picture of my reflection in the mirror. This photo can easily be cropped, so it’s really no big deal. The photo above is the original picture.
Last but not least, the right side. Just to show how not to take the picture, I have my head tilted and it is giving me an error in the measurement, nor will it be consistent for next time. Using my left hand to stretch the hair and my right hand to operate the camera, I am able to take a clear picture.
So remember the guidelines and tips above as you create photos for your natural hair journey.
Let me know if this article was helpful to you and also share some tips and tricks that you use when you are taking pictures of your natural hair.