Professional Makeup For Headshot Photography

Why is professional makeup important for a headshot?

6 Reasons to have your makeup done by a Professional Makeup artist

Some women ask the question, “Should I hire a professional makeup artist?” Well, yes. I think you should. When you are having professional photos taken you want to love them. The goal for your headshot is to look confident, knowledgeable and approachable. Wearing makeup is about expressing yourself and accentuating your best features and making you feel beautiful so your confidence can take center stage. Most ladies feel better when we put a little makeup on. They wear it to work and on date nights. They want to look beautiful and more importantly FEEL good about themselves, and makeup can help with that. You want to feel especially comfortable in your skin when you are going to be on camera. And one way you can do that is to hire a professional to help!

  • Professional Makeup artists know what they are doing when it comes to makeup for photography.

Makeup is their area of expertise and makeup is different for photography. You use slightly different products and you need a little extra. A professional will know exactly what to use so you look radiant and not washed out or overly made up. They also understand how photography lighting works. The lighting techniques used for headshots are designed to bring out your best features and to create an organically flattering image and they simply add to this process using their own techniques.

  • You will have a stress-free experience.

Having photos taken can be a little stressful. What should I wear? Do I need to bring props? So having someone helping you to get ready, is one thing YOU don’t have to worry about getting right.

  • You’ll feel more confident so you can be more authentically you!

It’s not about covering yourself up with a mask. Foundation can even out your complexion taking away splotchiness or redness that can be distracting. This way people see what you want them to see in the photo. Your beautiful smile!

  • There is a difference in make-up applications.

You would not wear the same type of make-up to a job interview as you would for a night out on the town with the girls. We are going for natural looks by using complimenting and soft colors. Again, my team understands that the goal of a headshot is to keep you not only looking natural, but ensuring the attention stays on you (not the contouring or bold eye shadows for example).

  • You’ll look more polished and professional.

Your headshot for your business is how you are presenting yourself on social media and hundreds or even thousands of people will see your photos. You are putting time, money, and energy into these. You are your own brand, so you want to look your best in your headshot and makeup is a plus.

  • Using a professional makeup artist and hairstylist saves time in post-production.

Using a professional make-up artist and hair stylist ultimately saves time in post-production and allows us to keep our turn-around time on target.

  • Lloyd's Studio Photography doing your own makeup.

When planning your headshot, we strongly recommend professional makeup, however you are more than welcome to do your own hair and make-up, however I can promise you this… using a team that we have worked alongside for a long time helps in creating headshots that will set your brand apart! You will also not only walk away with amazing headshots and personal branding from a professional team, but you will also walk away with a memorable experience! If you feel confident in applying your own makeup, please review the following info. And if you would rather do the makeup yourself but need help, you can go to the mall to any of the beauty counters.

Professional Makeup: If You Do Your Own Makeup, Please Follow These Tips

For headshots, you want natural-look makeup. “Light” makeup is suitable as long as it is natural and evenly applied. It is more important to aim for natural look than “light.” Although both can be accomplished simultaneously, it is important to prevent the desire to be light from accepting an uneven application. To avoid this, use a minimum amount that ensures uniformity. Also, don’t be afraid to use setting powder, more than when you are making up for in-person activities, say, going to a workplace or a party. What you need is even coverage combined with natural look finish. Always a good start is a clean and healthy skin, well moisturized. Use primer where appropriate.
  • Color of foundation
Match the color of foundation to the natural color of your skin in neck/chest area. Some people (especially with fair skin) often choose a color darker than the skin tone, and that is fine for social events. However, in photography, always match your foundation color to the rest of your skin. If you prefer to alter the skin tone in your photograph, the whole skin color can be adjusted darker or warmer to make it look most attractive during editing. The best type of foundation is the liquid type. For headshots, oil-free (water or alcohol based) or those that contain the right amount of oil is best. In particular, oil-free matte finish foundation is most common for beauty headshots, but it is a bit difficult to apply as they dry quickly, and it also makes a caky look if applied too thickly. Avoid “sheer look” type as they have a bit too much oil to give excessive shine in the photos, but sometimes oil based or silicon based foundation is used with a lot of powder. Powder or compact foundation doesn’t quite give the right level of coverage for photo shoots.
  • Lips
The color of the lips should be one notch darker than the best look in person. The lips should be shifted in the direction of darker red. Also, lip gloss is often useful in making the lips fuller.
  • Eyes
Wax your eyebrows a couple of days in advance. Trying to reshape the brows through retouching process is possible, but costs more time and money than getting them waxed in real life. Fill in your brows, especially if you are not going for a retouching option. Make sure your brows are clear and dark enough when viewed in soft natural window light. Mascara is also appropriate for headshots. Darker color works better for mascara, so black is usually the best choice, even if you usually use brown. For natural look headshots like actress audition or corporate bio, there is no need to use heavy eye makeup at all. But if you are going for more styled photographs, the eye accents should be one notch darker or vibrant. You can wear false lashes for most types of work other than the actor’s headshot. In photographs, the lashes do not look as long and drastic as you see in the mirror. Keep this in mind: the photographic lighting biases your face color to the lighter side, and eyes are where you get the most attention.
  • Blush
Use blush in one small notch darker than the best look in person. However, please make sure to make a few well-diffused applications in small quantities. The first time should be applied and spread in a wide circle, and the second and third in progressively smaller areas. This is to make sure that the edges of the blush are gradual and not abrupt. You can always add more, but once you apply too, it is tough to blur the edge or remove some.
  • Powder
Don’t be afraid to use a lot more powder than usual. A lot of setting or finishing powder is routinely used in fashion and beauty photography to reduce shimmer and make the skin look matte. You will realize that a professional makeup artist will keep applying powder every 10–20 minutes of the shoot to prevent shiny skin. You should bring yours and apply extra powder regularly. However, if you are taking a corporate or professional headshot, you probably want to use the next technique to control the shiny skin instead. For party makeup, shimmer can look great, but for photography, use a matte finish.
  • Oily skin
A more traditional recommendation is colorless translucent powder, such as L’Oreal Bare Naturale mattifying mineral finish powder (also available in the studio), which works well for light skin, but not on darker skin. For fashion and beauty shots, a lot of powder is used, but for clean, natural look makeup, you want to use powder to adjust the look and not to control the shine. The best way to control oily skin is a blotter sheet (available in the studio). If this is not enough, mattifying gel (cream) is easy to apply and works well with the skin of all types and colors (also available in the studio).
  • Hair (also for men)
You may want to use hair spray, gel, and other products to tame frizz and make your hair look healthy. Make sure to avoid products that give a matte look. These are fine for some situations, but not for a photo shoot. Matte finished hair will look dull and lifeless in pictures. Instead, use hair products that enhance shine. Hair shine sprays of various kinds are available for women (Biosilk spray is a favorite in the studio).

Professional Makeup: Headshot Examples

You’re welcome to see examples of very natural makeup for actor headshots and a range of makeup from very light to somewhat heavy makeup used in headshots of corporate people, professionals and business owners.




Yes, I know, ladies apply it every day, so they should be able to do it. Well, it's not just about the makeup. The makeup you use daily is not the best choice for a shoot.  A professional makeup artist uses special professional makeup for the film and photography industry. We offer professional makeup for photography. Please let us know if you want us to make an appointment for you and allot one more hour of time for it. Above you can see our makeup station, where you can get the best look for the investment in yourself and your image.  Book your session today!