YES! You have made the commitment that you are going to invest in yourself and your professional life. You’ve scheduled a professional headshot appointment. Well done!

….what about your hair and makeup? Do you need to hire a professional makeup artist for your professional headshots?

If you regularly wear makeup, Yes you should. If you don’t generally wear makeup, you still might want to consider using the services of a makeup artist for your session – I’ll explain why.

So why should you hire a makeup artist if you usually wear makeup? Can’t you just do your usual?

The short answer, is yes, of course. The only way for you to get an excellent headshot is if you feel completely comfortable and at ease. For many people, that includes their ‘go-to’ hair and makeup. But while you may have years of experience putting your face on every day, working with an artist with camera makeup experience is worth considering.

The biggest reason is that they can watch your shots happen in real-time via my camera tethering. That means they can quickly spot a color that needs to be tweaked or bump up lipstick or mascara that’s not ‘reading’. They’re also checking in throughout the session to make sure your hair and makeup stay consistent and can jump in to fix stray hairs, smeared lipstick, or shine.

And, of course, with the makeup artist on hand, they can easily change up your makeup to give you a range of looks.

If you don’t usually wear makeup or wear it very rarely, hiring an MUA might seem unnecessary. While you definitely don’t need to wear makeup to get a great headshot, an MUA can help cover blemishes that pop up at the last minute and they can tackle perspiration or shine that might develop under studio lights. And a skilled MUA can apply a light, neutral ‘no-makeup’ look that simply ensures you look your best on camera, without looking ‘made up’.

What makes my makeup team outstanding – and what you should look for when you hire an MUA

Makeup Artist With Experience

Pam Butler of The Beauty Patrol applying makeup for a portrait session

Let’s face it. With the massive rise of social media and influencer culture, there is no shortage of people claiming to be makeup artists out there. Some are legit professionals with years of training and experience…. but by no means all.

Do the research on your artist. How long have they been doing it? Can they provide excellent makeup for all skin tones and ages? If your state requires a license, do they have one? Do they have a portfolio showing a wide range of work or just an Instagram showing highly dramatic looks or using themselves as the only subject?

The makeup artists I work with have years of experience. They’ve worked on all complexions, skin tones, and face shapes and know what products and techniques are going to make you look best on camera. They also understand how studio lighting is going to affect makeup and adjust accordingly. They’re used to watching the real-time results of photo sessions on screen and they can quickly step in to adjust colors or levels.

Professional Makeup Artist Use The Right Products

Many products are not meant to work well under studio lighting, even if they’re excellent day to day products. The wrong makeup formula can reflect light and make you look washed out on camera or may read as a different color. A professional makeup artist will have a kit full of products that is meant to work in different lighting situations and they’ll be able to adjust the makeup ‘on the fly’ to ensure it reads as intended.

Not only will they have products that look great under the lights but they will have products that work for those with allergies and sensitive skin. The first question I hear the makeup artists in my studio ask someone when they sit in the chair is, “Do you have any allergies or is your skin sensitive to particular products?”

And, perhaps most importantly, a professional makeup artist knows how to clean and sanitize their tools and brushes and how to maintain their products. That means you can feel confident trusting them to be in close contact with your skin and hair.

You get to focus on just getting amazing headshots

Most people come in a little stressed and nervous about their professional or acting headshots in the first place, so why add one more thing to your list to stress about? If you hire a makeup artist, you know your makeup is going to be top-notch, which is one less thing you have to think about. You will simply get to focus on the direction I am giving you which means your shots are going to be better.

Oh, and if you worry hiring a makeup artist means you’ll end up wearing a face full of makeup that doesn’t feel like you, rest assured that a good makeup artist will be responsive to you and your needs. They’ll want to hear from you if you don’t like the lip color they’ve used or if you feel like you don’t ‘look like yourself’. Don’t be afraid to answer honestly when they ask what you think or to request changes – they want you to be comfortable and happy!

Let me wrap up my thoughts on a makeup artist for your headshots…
I have never had anyone finish a headshot session with The Beauty Patrol and come back and say “I wish I had done my own makeup.” However, I have had multiple people come back and say, “I wish I had hired your team.” In many cases, those that do wear makeup, end up with a larger range of shots to choose from and more options than someone who didn’t.

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