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Monochrome VS Colour with Martin Crean

July 24, 2021

Award-winning hairdresser and salon owner, Martin Crean from MODE Hair, Chipping Campden, shares his tips on when to go full colour and when to make it monochrome.

Images are a great way to share your work, whether they are part of a professional collection, or just a snapshot that you post on social media. Normally, colour images have the biggest impact, particularly on an Instagram grid. But sometimes black and white can capture a look and a mood in a unique way, infusing an image with extra power. So Colour or Black and White?

I opted to shoot this image in colour because the tone of the hair was such an important part of the overall look. How else could I show that the hair was this wonderful vibrant peach other than using colour photography? I love the contrast of the peach hair against the muted background. I also love how the wet-look finish of the hair gives the overall image more depth as it creates more contrast between the dark roots and the lighter ends. I also think this finish really helps highlight the model’s great bone structure and expressive face. The black and white version of this image creates an overall more innocent feel. The emphasis is more on the model’s face and expression — less defined by the hair colour. For me it tells a very different story.


• Avoid the hair looking too flat by working with light and dark dimensions to create texture in the hair. 

• Where hair is brunette, use lighting to emphasise the shine line to avoid the hair looking like a solid block. 

• You can also create panels of light and dark using white or silver sprays. 

• With blonde hair use a darker backdrop so that the hair leaps out of the image rather than blending in.


• Always think about creating contrast between the model’s clothes and hair and the backdrop so that the hair does not get lost in the mix. 

• Don’t overload the hair with product – this can lead to it losing shine and looking darker under the lights than you intended. 

• Don’t rely on post-production to create beautiful colour – give the photographer a stunning look to work with.


Hair: MODE Hair Artistic Team, Chipping Campden
Make up:  Lan Nguyen-Grealis
Photography: Richard Miles

Find out more about Martin Crean at MODE Hair: Instagram: @martincreanmode