Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Headshot Makeup

I have been dying to write a post about makeup for headshots for a while now, but I wanted to wait until I had some visual examples to show you all, and after having done some gorgeous ladies' makeup this week, I have just that. I didn't edit any of these pictures or put a filter on them so you can see the true colors of the products I used.

As actors and actresses, we are taught that one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal is our headshot. It is the first thing the creative team of a show sees when you walk in the audition room - and something they refer back to throughout the entire casting process. If your headshot is an accurate representation of you - looks how you look in the room, captures your essence, and depicts you in a positive light - it is a tool that will help jog their memory about just how much they loved you. If your headshot is not accurate - i.e. doesn't look like you in real life, doesn't have any fire in the eyes, looks unprofessional - it could result in your headshot ending up in the trash. That being said, there is a lot of pressure on us as women to have just the right look for our headshots. We want to look like our most polished selves, but we also want that picture to be a true representation of our brand. So how do we begin to decide what makeup we will wear on the fated day we get new headshots taken? Luckily, I have had the opportunity to experiment with lots of different faces and have come up with some tips and tricks that I hope will help you look and feel like your most beautiful, authentic self when you get in front of that camera.


This gorgeous picture of my friend Liza was taken by Adriana Tomeu Photography with makeup by yours truly. 



Before The Day Of

  • There are a few things you can do before the day you get your headshots taken to prepare. One of the biggest and most important tips I have is to do some maintenance of the hair on your face. Unless you were blessed with peach fuzz that is completely bleach blonde, chances are you have some scraggly upper lip hairs, or perhaps some on your chin. More likely than not, your headshots will be taken in natural light, and those baby hairs will show up way more than they might in florescent lighting. Drop by Walgreens or CVS and pick up some Sally Hansen Wax Strips
  • High resolution cameras are pretty relentless in picking up scraggly eyebrow hairs, as well. If you don't feel comfortable getting your brows waxed or threaded before your headshot session, pick up a pair of Tweezerman Tweezers and do some brow maintenance. This small step can make a huge difference in how polished your face looks overall in your shots. 
  • If you feel like your teeth are looking particularly dull or yellow, you might want to invest in some Crest White Strips. Most photographers have the ability to do some photoshop editing, but you want to feel as comfortable with your smile as you possibly can. You also want your smile to be just as stunning in the audition room as it is in your headshot! 
  • You might want to invest in a magnifying mirror. I swear by mine because it gives me such a good idea of what sorts of things a high resolution camera will pick up. 
  • A few weeks before your headshot session is a great time to experiment with what products you love best on your face! If you're not happy with your foundation, do a little research and go pick one up that catches your interest. Places like Sephora and Ulta have AMAZING return policies, so even if you try a product and hate it, you can return it for your money back or store credit. 

Libby had perfectly manicured brows when I showed up to do her makeup for her headshots. It made such a difference in the ease of the makeup application process and gives her an overall polished look. All I had to do was fill them in a bit and set with with brow gel!  


On The Day

  • If you take one thing away from this post, let it be to do your makeup in natural lighting. There is such a stark difference in how blended and natural your makeup looks in florescent or manmade lighting as opposed to natural lighting. Because your headshots will very likely be taken with natural lighting, you want to get as close to that environment as you can when applying your makeup. 
  • If there is a second (and honestly, just as important) thing you take away from this post, let it be that less is more. A headshot is supposed to capture you as a person - not how fierce you can make your contour. You want your headshot to look like the best version of you, so don't load up on super pigmented eye shadows or a dark lip shade. Some dewey blush, a light eyeshadow in your creases, fluttery lashes, and a subtle lip gloss are the staples for looking fresh faced and natural. 
  • I can't stress how important it is to fill in your brows for your headshots. When done correctly, filling in your brows can make your entire face look more symmetrical and polished. When neglected, it can make your eyes fade into the background of your shot, leaving your face looking sullen and dull. No one wants that! I personally prefer an eyebrow pencil because I can make small strokes that look like real hair in a high resolution photo. If you have softer brow hairs, you might find that you prefer a brow powder and an angled brush. Find what works for you, but definitely don't skip this step. 
    • Don't fret too much if your brows aren't absolutely identical. You obviously want them to be close, but they should look more like fraternal twins than identical twins. 
  • The best thing you can do to make yourself look dewey and fresh faced for your session is to invest in a good face highlight. Apply from the apples of your cheeks up to your temples, and on your forehead, chin, and cupid's bow. My absolute favorite is by Laura Geller and comes in this palette. It is such a finely milled powder that glides on like silk and makes you look like you have the most naturally gorgeous skin in the world. And that's ultimately what we want when it comes to headshots - to look like you simply woke up like that! 

How stunning does my sweet friend Arden look? Look at how the light dances on her cheek highlight! She looks like she got twelve hours of sleep, and at Oklahoma City University, I can assure you she did not.

  • Apply very subtle contour to the hollows of your cheeks to make your cheekbones pop like Arden's. My current favorite comes in the Smashbox "Shape Matters" palette
  • If you read my post about my Do's and Don'ts of stage makeup, you might recall me saying that under-eye concealer or brightener is essential, even if you don't have discoloration under your eyes. The same applies here. Under-eye concealer will make you look awake, polished, and rested. Just make sure to blend it as much as you can with your beauty blender, and set it with some kind of translucent powder. 
  • Once you have applied your makeup and set it with setting spray (you can never go wrong with Urban Decay All Nighter), be sure to look at yourself from many different distances and angles as well as in different lights to make sure that your makeup is as blended, even, and natural as possible. This is a great time to check that your eyebrows are evenly filled and you don't have any rogue hairs sticking out that will bother you for years to come if they are captured in your headshot. 
  • When you're doing your makeup, ask yourself - How will you look walking into the audition room? While choosing products and colors, go for a look that you will be able to replicate on a daily basis. And remember to opt for a more natural look in the audition room as well - they just want to see you as a person, not how much makeup you can pack on your face. 

My gorgeous sorority sister, MaryAnn, was having a bit of a breakout when we were doing her headshot makeup, but you would never know! We opted for less foundation and more spot correcting with concealer. We used the Laura Geller The Real Deal Concealer, and boy did it work! Look at how her cheeks pop!

My Headshot Makeup Routine

That's right, I'm sharing with you guys my Holy Grail products for headshot makeup that I not only use on myself, but my clients as well. Try them out and see what works for you! 


I love the way the Laura Geller Waterproof Gel Liner gives Carly such a defined lash line. Her lashes are on the thinner side like mine, but you would never be able to tell! Just bury the liner as deep into your lash line as you can get it for this trick of the eye effect!

But more than all of these things, it's important that you feel like YOU when you get in front of the camera. Use products that make you feel good about yourself and you can't go wrong. And of course, if any of you ever have any questions or need makeup advice, feel free to contact me through the blog or on Facebook if you know me personally. I really hope this post has been helpful because I've been planning these tips and tricks for a long time! And by the way, weren't all the ladies featured in this post absolutely stunning? I am so lucky to know such beautiful girls, inside and out! 

Ali's skin is like porcelain! I barely had to do anything to give her this natural, glowing look. 

Until next time, stay gorgeously you and please feel free to share this post on social media! All the links to do so are down below! And if you want gorgeous headshots like the one featured at the beginning of this post, be sure to check out Adriana Tomeu Photography. She took my most current headshots that are on my "About Me" page and I couldn't be more happy with them.

Love you girls!

xoxo Kaley 

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