Headshot Makeup Tips

Pre-Shoot Preparation

A few days before your shoot, I always advise getting into a pre-shoot routine, which is moisturise! That's right, even you men who don't usually moisturise. Ladies, if you're reading this because your man is coming in for his headshot session and he doesn't own his own, help him out! The last part of the routine is drinking plenty of water. Hydrated skin always looks best on camera. 

Using your own Makeup Artist

A makeup artist is not essential. In fact it's not for everyone. Sometimes when there is a large team group it makes sense or if you want something super special. If you decide to use a makeup artist that isn't associated with the photographer (or even if you are your makeup artist), that's absolutely fine, but don't just use any makeup artist. When researching, ask if they have experience in on-camera makeup, specifically for photography. MUAs are paid to apply makeup, and they love doing it. If your makeup artist doesn't have any on-camera experience they may well put too much makeup on you. Not because they're bad at their job, but MUAs with on-camera experience will know that we need it lighter than usual so it doesn't look too heavy in your images.  Things to avoid specifically are a heavy base and too much eye makeup.


Now I know there's a lot to consider with skin types when it comes to foundation.  I always suggest using a liquid foundation whenever possible for headshots. This isn't a strict rule. I know some people use powder for a manner of different reasons. The main reason I suggest liquid foundation, is because as I mentioned above, hydrated skin looks amazing on camera. I find that powder foundation sometimes tends to make the skin look dry, also it can appear caked on a little easier due to the residue it can sometimes leave behind. Also, if you have freckles, please try not to hide them under makeup. Your freckles look cool!

The main objective when applying makeup to your face is to even out skin tone. It doesn't have to be perfect, we've all got imperfections, and a little bit of careful retouching can work wonders.


They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some of us are blessed in the brow department, some of us are not. My advice is to go careful and understated. Lightly fill them in and don't go mad - they should complement your eyes not compete with them.  If they already look great, don't mess about with them.  


With lips, there's not loads you need to do. There are a few things you shouldn't do though. 

A light gloss for women or light lip balm for men is perfect. Lip liner will stand out a mile and detract from the natural look we're going for. Sometimes people apply the gloss past the edges of the lips to make the lips appear bigger. The camera (and viewer) will pick this up straight away. Its not good; let's not do that.


Last but not least are the eyes.  Many clients comment about how good their eyes look in my headshots.  That's intentional.  I try to make them pop, sparkle, shimmer, jump out of the screen. You get the drift. They're important. And so we don't want to take away from their influence on the overall image by caking them in makeup. I always advise light eye makeup. A nice separation of the lashes, and no fake lashes if at all possible. Fake ones do tend to clump together after a while, and look way longer than normal, but good ones can look quite natural.   If you use eyeshadow, I recommend neutral colors that match your skin tone very closely. 

Thanks for reading. I hope it's been useful.

If you'd like to find out more about me or my headshot sessions, click here

I'd love to chat and see how I can help your personal brand.


Jason Holt