Men’s Grooming for Headshots
Okay, men think all they need for a headshot is to be well shaven, that is, except for those who sport the trendy one-day stubble. Actually, a bit more grooming goes into looking really cool for your headshot. And different things might apply depending on whether you want the banker/CEO look or the Harrison Ford desert rat look. But let’s start with the basics, skin conditioning.
Skin: As with women, preparing the base is the first step. You want to get your skin in its best condition for your headshot. Too, as with women, the camera looks much more favorably on a nice dewy surface as opposed to a flat pancake look. But again, depending on your age and purpose of the headshot, this can vary widely, much more widely than with women. But even if you are going for the grizzly man of nature look, you should apply moisturizer to your skin. If your hair line is receding this may be the one area where you want to put the brakes on moisturizing. It will shine too brightly for the camera. And as with women, it would not hurt to have a skin peel treatment a week prior to your headshot session.
Moisture vs Grease: As men for the most part tend to have an oilier skin than women moisturizing should be done carefully. However, we do have products in the studio that help reduce/eliminate excess oil.
Beard: The most prominent feature of a man is usually the beard or lack thereof. If you don’t wear a beard, time your daily shaving appropriately. If your beard grows slowly, you can shave in the morning of your session. However, if your beard grows at warp speed, shave as close to the session as practical. But in all cases, be careful not to shave too closely so as to damage skin.
If you normally wear a beard and want to have the beard for your headshot, do the necessary trimming. Even a grizzly look beard can benefit from some strategic trimming. Be sure can catch those wayward hairs outside the edges of the beard. Don’t forget to catch any stray hairs on your neck. Stray hairs and unwanted stubble are very difficult to remove in retouching. Also don’t forget to trim those nose hairs.
Hair: If you plan on getting a hair cut in anticipation of your session, be sure to leave a few days between the cut and your session. If your hair line is receding this may be the one area that you don’t want to heavily moisturize as it will shine too brightly for the camera. Be careful with new hair styles. Remember you want to be recognizable in your headshot.
Makeup: In most cases, makeup is not appropriate for men. There are exceptions, however. If you are used to wearing makeup on a daily basis, by all means wear it for your headshot session. However, the same principles that apply to women’s makeup also apply to men. Use a liquid versus a powder makeup.
All in all, the above tips will guide you to a natural and authentic headshot, one that reflects the best version of you. Many excellent headshot photographers give similar instructions to their clients. One of my favorite headshot photographers, Norman Jaillet, follows this to the book. We compare notes often and find that we are on the same page with regards to men’s grooming tips for headshots.
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