Headshot: Makeup

This post is for the ladies.

Well, more or less.

Yep, we are talking headshots and make up, mostly as it relates to the finer sex.

Below, is a summary of a recent dialogue on the topic, now carefully journaled for your reading enjoyment by yours truly. The original posts are available on my CRAFT page on the FB.

Here is where the question started:

  • “For the ladies: What makeup should you use for a head shot, while still keeping yourself natural to the camera?” – Jesse LaTourette

Here are, in my humble opinion, wise responses to the very good question:

  • “Your photographer should be working with a MUA that’s familiar with the type of lighting they use, or at very least be familiar with makeup for film and photo.” – John Galfano
  • “It seems to be the general consensus from all that a MUA should always be hired. It’s been my experience that, in doing so, the MUA uses whatever is in his/her pallet on *your* face, and NOT the colors that you use when you leave the house looking your best, headed for an audition. Therefore, the end results are that your color h/s is always going to differ from what you create yourself. I used a famous photog in our area, & I do love my h/s. But I was told that my h/s should probably be re-done, as it looks quite old = my 2nd week of using it. ummm…really? The problem, upon lengthy examination & numerous gathered opinions, was that I could not duplicate the colors the MUA used – at home. Also, after paying for the MUA’s professional skills, I found that, as I sat to allow her to do her magic, she did nothing other than what I do for myself on an everyday basis anyway. She was, after all, creating my everyday look for the shoot. So, for me,… since our h/s is supposed to reflect how we look every day & everytime we leave the house “on a good day,” and b/c we always want to match what our h/s reveals, I will always do my own h/s m-u from now on. I will use a MUA when I need to create a sultry or moody or SXF look, though. They all really know their stuff in that respect, way more than the general public.” – Gail Harvey
  • “I agree with all the advice above…But with this one warning. I’ve looked at literally hundreds of actor head shots and the one thing that ruins more head shots than anything else is…TOO MUCH MAKE-UP! Casting directors don’t want “Glamorous” shots. They want pics that LOOK LIKE YOU (on a good day). Beware of too much make-up! IMHO.” – Scott Rogers
  • “So this POV is coming from having read L.A. CD Bonnie Gillespie’s weekly column on showfax and I am currently enrolled in her online acting business class, in addition to casting myself. Be careful using an MUA for headshots, if they do something you can’t replicate for an audition it will actually work against you. Like Scott said above, above all else you need to look like you. Actors not looking like their HS’s is the biggest complaint CD’s make and I will echo it. Whatever you do in your headshot’s, just make sure you can do that regularly for your actual auditions and make sure you are being honest about your typing to begin with.” – Chandra Moore
  • “I have done headshots both with and without a hair and makeup artist. I prefered my experience with a hair/makeup artist. Before she applied any makeup or styled my hair, we talked about what I usually did with makeup and how I wanted my hair. Once we were on the same page, she took over. I was able to relax before the shoot. I knew I was in good hands and I knew she would be there throughout the shoot applying touch-ups and checking my hair as we went (something I can’t do when I am focusing on taking good photos…that outside eye is really helpful). Headshot sessions can take hours. Makeup and hair needs to look fresh and ready to go throughout.” – Anya Ruoss
  • If you are hiring a MUA you should look at their portfolio, just as you would a photographer. Some people pile it on, some are very natural. If you aren’t used to doing your own face a MUA can help you find good colors and show you some techniques. That being said, it is important as an actress to know how to do your own makeup.” – Jessica Martin

Thank you, all, for contributing to this discussion.

Stay Inspired,


One thought on “Headshot: Makeup

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