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Makeup Dos and Don’ts

Your headshot should represent you, the very best version of you.  First of all, a glowing healthy is the best basis to apply make up to.  This applies even to men who normally will not wear make up for their headshot session. So, before we get into actual make up dos and don’ts let’s talk about how to get the best foundation possible.

The best strategies for healthy glowing skin are good nutrition and good sleep. Various skin treatments such as skin peels can certainly benefit the skin also by improving the texture and health of the skin.  But they don’t take the place of the basics of good nutrition and sleep. The good nutrition will take some planning ahead.  And to a certain extent, the good night’s sleep will take some planning but not quite as much.  But it is especially important to get a good night’s sleep the night before your headshot.

If you do choose to get a skin treatment in preparation of your headshot, be sure and schedule it at least a week in advance of the date of your headshot session. This time between the treatment and the session ensures any redness from the treatment will wear off.  Along the same thinking, be careful to not have excessive sun exposure prior to your treatment.  Photoshop can mitigate some redness, it there are limits.

Now your skin is prepped and at its best and you are ready for make up the day of your session.  Again, a good foundation is important.  The camera does not love a dull, powdery look to the skin.  However, the camera does love a well moisturized dewy skin.  A dull, powdery look to the skin adsorbs light making the skin look dull and lifeless. And that is not what we want. So make sure you skin is well moisturized before applying makeup.  This applies to men as well even though they in most cases will not be wearing makeup.

Foundation: As discussed above dewy skin photographs much better than flat pancakey skin.  So, it follows that your foundation should be liquid based, not powder based. Apply foundation to your neck also to minimize color differences between your face and neck. Also, extend down onto your chest is needed.

Blush: Transitions between the areas with blush and no blush should be smooth and gradual. The color of the blush should harmonize with your skin color, eye makeup, and clothing. If your session includes dramatically different looks/outfit changes, you will probably need to reapply different makeup for the different looks. For example, you may want a business look for professional marketing and a more glamorous look for dating websites.

Eye Makeup: Do not use a heavy eyeliner but opt for a softer one. The camera has a tendency to make a heavy bold eyeliner appear even heavier and harsh in photos.  Similar to blush, your eyeshadow should be well blended into the areas without eyeshadow. Watch out for mascara that tends to clump the eyelashes.  And I do not recommend false eyelashes unless they are a part of your everyday makeup routine and are well applied.

That covers makeup, but a quick word about teeth.  Although teeth can be whitened in retouching, if you have a teeth whitening procedure planned at some point in time, why not have it done before your headshot session.  It will add to your confidence in your appearance. Charlie  Abrahams, a headshot photographer serving the greater Boston area, shows the importance of good makeup in the images on his website.  Check it out.

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