Headshot Photography

Hiring a Makeup Artist For Your Headshots

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Written By Nate Torres

You’re preparing for a headshot session, where every click of the shutter holds the power to capture your essence and convey your unique personality.

As you embark on this journey to showcase your professional image, there’s one key player who can elevate your look to new heights: a skilled makeup artist.

In this article, we will explore the transformative role of a makeup artist in the realm of headshots, unraveling the secrets that lie behind their brushes and the ways they can help you shine with confidence and authenticity in front of the camera.

Get ready to discover how hiring a makeup artist can be the secret ingredient that takes your headshots from good to extraordinary.

We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):

Can You Wear Makeup in Headshots?

The answer is yes and it depends.

Yes, you can wear makeup in headshots. Just make sure not to overdo it. The makeup you use in your headshot should reflect how you look on a day-to-day basis.

We also say it depends because sometimes the photographer has to hire a professional makeup artist (or MUA) and maybe you will want to use their services as opposed to doing your makeup yourself

It depends on what you’re trying to do with your headshot and also whether or not the clients want you to use a professional makeup artist (or MUA).

If you want to do your own makeup and your photographer did not hire a makeup artist, here are some tips.

What Services Do Makeup Artists Offer?

Makeup artists usually offer:

1. Makeup Application

On set or on location (like a studio) the makeup artist will apply and/or touch up your makeup as needed to make sure everything looks perfect.

2. Skin Preparation

The makeup artists know what’s best for everyone, so they’ll cleanse and tone your skin before putting on makeup.

3. Hair Styling

Some makeup artists will also work on your hair to make sure it is perfect throughout the shoot.

Whether it’s cutting bangs or doing an up-do, they’ll make sure you are looking good!

hairstylist headshot photo

4. Nails

Sometimes they are asked to do nails as part of their services, so they might give your nails a fresh coat of polish.

5. Airbrushing

This is used to help cover flaws and ensure an even complexion. It gives you a more flawless look.

To further explore makeup tips, we also recommend this video by Kat Elizabeth:

PHOTOSHOOT MAKEUP | 6 Essential Camera-Friendly Makeup Tips for PHOTOS + VIDEOS

Should You Hire a Makeup Artist For Your Headshots?

If you are a photography student or hobbyist, then most likely you won’t be hiring a makeup artist for your headshots because this would cost more than what an amateur like yourself can afford.

If you are a professional headshot photographer, then it is common to have a makeup artist that you work with on-set.

So it is up to you, but if you want to take that leap from amateur to full-fledged professional, then you should be working with a makeup artist.

And if you do so, remember to factor this into your pricing so you aren’t losing money! (If you hire a makeup artist — charge more).

Now here are the benefits of hiring a makeup artist for your headshots.

Benefits of Hiring a Makeup Artist For Your Headshots?

1. Prevents Complete Makeup Meltdowns

You never want this to happen, especially during a shoot!

But makeup artists are professionals and know how to get through these tough situations…the key is having them around.

2. Provides Well Rounded Results

This falls back on the benefits of hiring a professional photographer in general.

Having someone that is well-rounded, has experience in photography, and knows how the industry works is the best way to get good headshots.

makeup artist for headshot photo

3. Helps Facilitate a Good Experience

A makeup artist can really help create an environment that is conducive to great headshots because they are used to providing this service to so many people.

They will be able to keep the subject calm and relaxed throughout.

4. Adds New Perspective

They can see your face from a different perspective and give you great tips on how things should look to make them better.

5. Extends Your Professional Reach

Working with a makeup artist will allow you to expand your reach and provide services that clients look for (like photographers that provide makeup services).

Conclusion: When hiring a makeup artist for headshots it is definitely not necessary, but can enhance the overall experience and final product.

If you are not a professional photographer then most likely the cost will be too high so your best bet is to do your own makeup.

How to Find a Makeup Artist For Your Headshots?

When searching for a makeup artist use these steps to find the best one.

1. Look Through Portfolios

Find headshots that grab your attention and see if they were done by the same person using their portfolio.

If so, this is a good sign because you can tell what kind of quality to expect from them.

2. Search Through Reviews

Search for their name or search for general makeup artists in your area on your favorite search engine and find out what others are saying about them.

The Internet is your best friend when it comes to finding information like this so use it wisely!

review makeup artists

3. Look at Prices

You don’t want to break the bank, remember that price should be one of your main concerns before hiring anyone. Make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

4. Ask for a Sample Session

This is the best way to make sure you feel comfortable with them and know what to expect on the big day!

If they are hesitant, then this might not be your guy/girl.

5. Get References

Always get references from other photographers and clients that have worked with them in the past to make sure you are hiring a good makeup artist for your headshots.

6. Have Fun!

Last but not least, make sure that you have fun while working with them because if you’re not comfortable then it will show in your headshots.

happy with makeup artist

How Much Do Makeup Artists Cost?

The cost varies depending on the makeup artist’s experience, your location, and their portfolio so it is up to you to find someone that can fit your budget (a quick search online will help you find the cost).

If money isn’t an issue, then go ahead and hire the best one because you’ll get quality work for a good price!

However, you will always get what you pay for so don’t be afraid to spend a little more if needed.

If you are thinking about hiring a makeup artist for headshots, make sure to follow these steps in order to find the best one for your needs.

There are lots of options out there so do your research and enjoy the process!

Makeup Artists Will Charge Different Rates

This is where it depends on what service they are offering and who the client is (photographer or model).

Some makeup artists will charge per hour, some by the job, and others by the day.

So it’s highly dependent on the situation. For example, if they are doing your makeup for two hours at a local studio it’s likely that they’ll charge you less than if you hired them to go to where you are shooting and do your makeup all day.

So you have to decide what service you need, then find someone who will charge a rate that reflects the proper value for the job.

Keep in mind that not every makeup artist can do hair, so they might have to subcontract out for hair services. And sometimes it’s better if they do their own hair!

How to Do Makeup Without Makeup Artist

Let’s say you don’t want to go with a professional makeup artist which is perfectly acceptable, here are some makeup tips.

If you are doing your own makeup, here are some pointers to get the most professional look possible.

1. Use A Primer & Moisturizer

This helps smooth out wrinkles and gives you a more flawless complexion.

Also, it also helps reduce flashbacks (so your face looks good in pictures).

moisturizer example

2. Apply Makeup to Your Lips

Don’t forget your lips! Lipstick can help your smile look brighter and fresher.

lipstick headshot example

3. Invest in a Good Foundation

You will want to use a foundation that does not have any sheen or sparkle as it tends to reflect the light. And also, something that is matte and full coverage.

4. Use a Foundation Brush

Using your fingers and/or sponge tends to leave streaks and lines that aren’t very flattering.

Try using a brush instead to give you an even, natural look.

5. Don’t Forget Concealer

Just like foundation, use concealer to hide any problem areas such as dark circles or blemishes.

concealer for headshots example

6. Don’t Forget Eye Primer

This is a great product that will help your eyeshadow stay on longer and be less creased throughout the day…plus, it helps your eyeliner stay put too!

7. Pick Natural Shades for Eyes

Warm tones are best for hazel or green eyes. And you can also use light gold or brown for blue eyes.

Make sure the colors are complementary and that they blend well together.

8. Highlight Your Cheeks

Dust a little on the high points of your cheeks to help add a glow. Also, it helps bring out your cheekbones more!

highlight cheeks for headshots makeup

9. Don’t Forget Powder

Just like foundation and concealer, the powder will help set your makeup and keep it from falling into those fine lines. Plus, it helps cut shine too.

10. Don’t Go Overboard With Bronzer

Don’t try to go overboard with bronzer as that can look very unnatural (and it’s not good for your skin anyway).

bronzer headshot makeup

If your photographer has hired a makeup artist, or if you are the photographer hiring a makeup artist, here are the services makeup artists usually offer.

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Final Remarks

We hope you enjoyed this guide on tips for makeup and headshot photography.

This guide is a part of our Headshot Resource Hub, so be sure to also check that out for further headshot tips and insights.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much makeup should you wear for a headshot?

When it comes to makeup for a headshot, it’s important to strike a balance between enhancing your features and keeping it natural. Aim for a polished look that smooths out imperfections, enhances your eyes and lips, and ensures an even skin tone without going overboard or drastically altering your appearance.

Should you hire a makeup artist for every headshot?

Hiring a makeup artist for every headshot session is not necessary, especially if you are confident in your own makeup skills. However, for important occasions like professional headshots or when you want to achieve a specific look, a makeup artist can provide expertise, create a flawless finish, and help you feel more confident in front of the camera.