Lord help us all, unless you are a makeup artist or have lots of experience doing makeup for headshot sessions, please add on makeup services for your headshots. This also goes for men. Especially men!

Headshot makeup artistry is full coverage, but very neutral looking. You still look like yourself, but on your very best day. Makeup artistry blends or conceals minor skin imperfections and discolorations and can reduce the appearance of dark eye circles and some signs of aging. That is effective makeup artistry!

Retouching alone cannot replace good skin care and well applied makeup.

Keep in mind that everything has its place and the following advice is mostly for actors and models building their portfolios. If you do decide to do your own makeup (again, not recommended), here are a couple of tips:

  • Do not use false eyelashes. I’ve seen many headshot sessions completely ruined with gigantic false lashes. Of course, there’s always exceptions to this rule and maybe your headshot session is themed, but chances are, false eyelashes will not improve the look of your headshots.
  • Eyeshadow. Blue eyeshadow and smoked out eyes can look cool for a themed shoot, but I don’t recommend it for an acting or even a modeling headshot. Your headshot should be a fairly accurate representation of what you really look like.
  • Lips. Nude lips are my recommendation for standard headshot sessions. I have seen everything from pink lipstick to black lipstick for actor’s headshots and I really don’t recommend it. Lip gloss or even just some chapstick gives a better, more natural appearance 9 times out of 10.
  • Foundation. I don’t want to make recommendations on foundation, as everyone’s skin is different. I have seen $3 Wet N Wild applied beautifully and I’ve seen Estee Lauder Doublewear applied terribly. The skill of the makeup artist is what decides the final appearance. For a headshot session, the makeup only has to last until the end of the shoot. But I do recommend:
    • Blend down your neck. Don’t make a ‘makeup mask’ that cuts off at your chin and jawline, as the difference in tone and reflectivity will be obvious under lighting.
    • Don’t use overly ‘dewy’ or overly matte makeup. In general, you want a matte finish, but I’ve seen makeup so dry that it looks ‘crumbly’ or cakey on camera.