I've done a series of business headshots lately. All different clients and all for different reasons. Whenever I have a pre session consultation, I always recommend - even for men - that a little makeup will make your photos that much better.
The basic headshots are generally used to market you - your business or your skills for getting work. Sometimes you want a headshot because you are looking for a new position, maybe you are an actor and you want to try for a new character so you need a new look; No matter what, you want to look your very best for your brochures, your one sheet, your website, your resume, your comp cards and business cards.
The camera, with the best photographers behind them, can hide and mask some flaws. The lights can be used to hide some imperfections and shadows can sculpt your face and your figure. Light highlights and shadows minimise. We can create some illusions in the studio.
Makeup is really a helpful tool and it needs to be applied with great skill. While you may be female and you've applied your "face" every day for 25 years, it doesn't mean that you will know how to apply it for a session under studio lights. Self applied makeup often looks washed out under studio light. A professional will skillfully layer concealers, color correction layers, blush layers and sculpt your best features. Even to look natural. And it all needs to be well blended. Think about how the Bride always has that beautiful glow about her - it's helped by good makeup!
For people of "a certain age", eyes are really important. We all have laugh lines, even in our 20's. And we all have a little to mask under our eyes. One of the big issues I see as a photographer is mascara that has 'travelled" to the space under your lower eyelids. It makes the under eyes appear to be gray and tired. And it's really not so easy to fix, pixel by pixel in Photoshop. It makes shadows on the side of the nose as well. A professional makeup artist knows how to keep mascara on your eyelashes - not on your eyelids, nose and elsewhere.
Lipstick misapplied bleeds into the area around the lips without lip liner. And careful layers make lips appear fuller or narrower. Kissable for those dating headshots. You want to avoid really shiny lip gloss. It reflects the light and makes white spots on your lips.
I really prefer to getting the images the best they can be when I click my shutter. As a portrait artist, we create some fantasy for our clients - it's expected. In Boudoir it's the only way - we are creating a vision. For business headshots, the images have to look NATURAL! I don't want to make my client's look too airbrushed - unless it's appropriate. For a business headshot, that's not the best way. Makeup - a little dab will do you.
I touch up every photo for the color that we want in the final product. I might soften some laugh lines. But for the most part, I want you to look like, well, a nice version of you so that you will say Wow - I really look good. But not so much that you look like someone else that isn't you! A basic headshot comes with some minor skin retouching: a few blemishes removed, eyes whitened, lines softened. If you choose to wear your mascara on your cheeks, I prefer to not have to photoshop it. Skin tones vary so much on one face that to make you appear NATURAL, it can take hours to fix problems like that to enhance your look and make the image perfect. Don't assume that a quick click of the mouse changes those imperfect smears. It can take hours to fix it for the most skilled to get it all matching. I'd hate to charge a client to fix something that we could get right to start with for a small amount.
And why does size matter? In a small photo, you have less detail - the photo is small and you will not see the pixel dots you might on a larger image. Check it out in the Internet. You will see imperfections in larger images that aren't visible in small ones. Size does matter. We will talk about image sizes in a new post soon.
Every time you change a hair style or color, gain or lose a little weight, you might need an update. That might be my next topic. Excuse me, I will be back I have to go touch up my lipstick.