Shooting fashion photography has shown me the difference the right hair and makeup makes on a headshot or personal branding shoot.
The right hair and makeup is important, not only for how it looks on camera. It’s also important for you to feel and look yourself.
A shoot is all about your energy and confidence. If you are looking and feeling incredible before I even start, my job is half way done.
Your headshots should make you look professional and approachable. I recommend a light touch when it comes to hair and makeup choices. My preference is for a minimal look with a focus on fresh skin. Don’t get me wrong I love hard core editorial fashion looks but it takes strong talent to pull it off. Get it wrong and it’s just awful. And we don’t want awful for your headshot. We want beautiful, effortless and OMG I look gorgeous.
Mistake numero uno I see on headshot sessions – ‘I don’t normally wear any/much makeup but I thought because I’m getting a headshot it needs to be extra, so I’m gonna get my RuPaul on and go to town.’
Girl, no! First up though, I have nothing but love for a fierce drag queen, but you don’t wanna look like one in your corporate headshot session. Unless your company is a drag queen company, obvi.
Which brings up another point – your hair and makeup choices are a branding opportunity. You want everything to be on brand and on point.
Think makeup-up for popping out for a coffee with a friend. That’s it – light, fresh touch daytime makeup.
And if you don’t normally wear any makeup, don’t be afraid to go completely nude (on ya face don’t walk around with no clothes on that’s just weird).
If you do go bare skin, make sure you go hard on the moisturiser. And don’t try a new moisturiser on the day of the shoot! It might react with your skin and you’ll go red. See this photo below? Not a lick of makeup on and Julia looks great.
Also please lay off the highlighter for your headshot photography session. If you must use it keep it to an absolute minimum. Though highlighter can look great in person, under studio flash lights you’ll be shining more than a disco ball and we don’t want that.
No makeup look not for you? Then you’ve got 2 options – DIY or hire a professional. If you’re DIYing, again, think daytime fresh. Avoid false eyelashes but if you really want them go for the ones where you can put the lashes on individually.
Don’t use any products for the first time on the day of the shoot in case of any reactions. Wash your hair the night before the shoot. Hair up or down it’s your choice. I do like hair up as it makes a nice clean look but this is purely down to your preference. Or we can do both! Hair is same as makeup. If you aren’t confident with your skills don’t try an elaborate style – keep it simple.
Make sure your foundation or concealer is the right colour for your skin. This is CRUCIAL. If you’re not sure go to a reliable makeup supplier and ask someone for guidance. MECCA, MAC or Sephora are all great. I can attest to the importance of having the right foundation. I was taking selfies for my new website. I bought a cheapie foundation to help even out my skin tone and it was the wrong colour and it looked awful. Then I did the photos again with just moisturiser and it was 100 times better.
Also, Photoform* will fine tune the colour of your skin after your headshot session. We have refined the process over 20 years and your skin tone will look even and incredible.
I was going to say take 5 years off your age by avoiding these. But I don’t want to be part of a youth obsessed beauty industry. I love all faces – old, young, black, white and brown. That said, these tips will keep everything looking fresh and less harsh.
Keep your eyes light and fresh, just some mascara. If you’re getting on in years like me avoid heavy eye makeup. Though it can look great in person, modern cameras show everything and it will cake into wrinkles and exaggerate them.
Again, if you’re older avoid face powder.
If you need some guidance check out this tutorial below. You can skip the lipstick as rouge step if you’re not confident with colour.
You’ve ponied up the cash and gone for a professional hair and makeup artist. But you leave your appointment not feeling or looking like yourself. The hair is too elaborate and a bit ‘bridal’ looking and the makeup too heavy.
This is another mistake I see over and over again.
Communication and clear direction are key. Do your homework and research your makeup artist or ask your photographer for a recommendation. Give your makeup artist a clear brief. Tell them exactly what you like and what the photos are for.
Ask them to keep it light and fresh. Tell them whether it’s natural light or a studio headshot session. A good makeup artist will tailor the makeup to the lighting. Do some research on the internet and find a style you like and save the picture to your phone. Show this to your artist as a guide. If your artist will not be at the shoot, ask them for a little of the lipstick on a tissue. You can use this during the shoot for touch ups.
Take tissues to the shoot and if there’s a little too much shine on camera, gently blot the spot with a tissue.
And of course if you want some fresh headshots give us a yell! Link below: