Preparing for your HEADSHOT SESSION
Makeup FOR HEADSHOTS
Some photographers make it mandatory to hire a professional makeup artist for your shoot. I don't requite it but I can't tell you how strongly I urge it. Over the years, I've learned just how important professionally applied makeup is for the success of a woman's headshot (guys are lucky -- I really don't think they need it usually). Whether it's an outdoor shoot with natural light or a studio session, people need a stronger application of makeup than they normally would wear -- and than most people even know how to apply themselves. It ends up looking natural on camera, but it's something only an experienced makeup artist really understands how to do.
I hear repeatedly from women that they've had terrible experiences with makeup artists making them up too strongly or that they didn't look like themselves. This is a very real concern and one that I take seriously. It's very important that you feel good about how you look and also that you look like yourself in your headshot. But you also have to look your best and the way most women do their own makeup ends up looking washed out on camera. I work with a handful of outstanding makeup artists who I have vetted over the years and who have tremendous artistry in doing natural makeup. They also work with you in a collaborative way to ensure that you are comfortable with the look. Finally, we look at how the makeup photographs and make adjustments while we're working so, if you don't like how it looks, we can fix it on the spot.
If it's absolutely not in your budget to work with one of my makeup artists, let's talk about some alternatives during your consultation.
Hair FOR HEADSHOTS
If you have straight hair, it really makes a difference to get your hair blown out at a salon before your makeup appointment. Hair, above all else, can become a big issue in headshots. It really needs to look its absolute best or else it will be distracting.
Feel free to bring any of the following to your headshots session:
- Matte face powder (if you are very pale, a shade darker will help under the strong lights)
- Undereye concealer and brightener
- Matte blush
- Eye liner pencil or powder in dark brown
- Lipstick or gloss in a sheer pink or nude
- Smoothing serum, hair spray, or styling gel for your hair
- Blow dryer, flat iron, curler, or any other tool to touch up hair
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR Men
Your needs are a lot simpler. Bring some Chapstick or balm to your headshots shoot to keep your lips from appearing dry. And any product you might need to touch up your hair (comb, gel). If you need any concealer or powder, I can apply it for you here.
You might want to consider coming to your headshot session unshaven for the first half of the shoot and then shaving halfway through for some clean shaven shots.
clothing for headshots
I always tell people to bring lots of choices of things to wear to their headshots shoot, so we can play around and see what works best on camera. We never know until we try it, and I’m often surprised by what works best for each person.
The color of your shirt can make or break your headshot. It has to work not only with your skin tone, hair and eye color but also with the background. And it has to support the message of your headshot too.
Some rules of thumb:
- Stick to solid colors. Patterns, stripes, polka dots, and text are usually distracting -- especially in an actor headshot.
- Bring shirts in a variety of colors. We can talk about what colors might work best for you. Jewel tones tend to work really well with my grey and white backgrounds but also bring a little black, some neutrals, and whatever else you like.
- Avoid colors that might be overwhelming. Colors that are too vibrant can overpower you in the headshot. Red tends to be one of these colors. That said, it depends on the particular shade and saturation of red. I can always tweak the color in Photoshop, if it's a little strong. So again, it's better to err on the side of bringing something and having a range of things so if one thing doesn't work we can try something else.
- Bring both light and dark toned items. Dark colors tend to work best for legit headshots and brighter, more cheerful colors are better suited for commercial headshots.
- Avoid shiny fabrics. Cottons, thin knits work best.
- Bring shirts with a variety of necklines and sleeve lengths.
- Bring some jackets, especially if you’re a guy.
- Make sure your clothes are stain- and wrinkle-free.
- Ladies, be sure to bring a choice of bras, if different shirts call for it.
- Above all, please bring clothes that make you feel good.
- Also, bring a couple of changes in pants or leggings. You should feel comfortable hugging your knees or crossing your legs. Your physical comfort during the headshot shoot is very important. Also, pants with pockets are useful for standing shots -- gives you somewhere to put your hands.
If you’re not sure what to wear in your headshot, look at what other people are wearing in theirs -- here on my website and elsewhere for inspiration.
ACCESSORIES - YES OR NO?
For actor headshots, the rule of thumb is no jewelry. But feel free to bring a pair of glasses for a different look, especially for commercial headshots. Some actors even like to show themselves as the types of characters they tend to play, i.e. policemen, nurses. Feel free to bring costumes!
For corporate and business headshots, the opposite is true! Nothing does the trick like a chunky necklace to complete the picture! If you're in finance, a string of pearls is even better. By all means bring a variety of scarves, necklaces, and earrings.