I always wanted to be somebody,
but now I realize
I should have been more specific.
While I enjoy creating artsy glamour portraits the most, I have fun working with those who need headshots for their businesses and careers, too. Here’s what you need to make the most of what you’ve got for such a shoot:
Makeup You want to be recognizable the way you present yourself at work but with tweaks in consideration of the lighting situation at your photo shoot. Choose good coverage oil-free liquid foundation that is evenly applied to match your neck and chest. Apply setting powder more generously than you normally would and bring blotting paper and powder to touch up right before your shoot. Even if you want a natural look, go for heavier shades on the lips and especially on the eyes and eyebrows because (artificial) lighting tends to wash out features. Use black mascara that does not clump or smear. If wearing false lashes, choose the kind that looks natural with uneven lengths. Wax eyebrows a day or two before and darken them for the photo shoot. It’s all about the eyes! And shall I say it? Avoid (fake) tans.
If makeup is not among your strong talents, invest in a professional artist that, ideally, you’ve tried and liked before.
Hair Clean and styled your best. A headshot photo shoot is NOT the occasion to experiment with a new cut or color. Retouch (roots) a day or two before and schedule a maintenance haircut or color a week prior. While matte is what you want for your face, shine is what you need for your hair. There’s a selection of hair shine sprays for women at your local drugstore like Biosilk spray. For my own wash and wear hairstyle, I just rub my palms with less than a quarter size drop of oil and run them through my hair while damp.
Nails Clean nails and if wearing polish, choose clear, french manicure or pale neutrals so they don’t distract from your beauty.
What to wear Choose outfits in solid colors for a classic look. Regardless of your size, shape, and how you feel about your body, form fitting is the most flattering. Highlight your best features and cover what you’d rather not show. Avoid distracting patterns and too much cleavage. V necks and long sleeves are flattering in general. If you’re an artist who needs to be quirky, express yourself through a single piece of bold jewelry. Skin tones in the olive, brown, to dark shades are better flattered by pale or bright shades of the colors you like. To be clear, dark outfits look better on pale skin. Picking from my client’s favorite wardrobe selections is one of my small pleasures.
Accessories You want people to notice your face so keep jewelry simple and stick to one statement piece or none at all. Best to wear a piece that can be your “signature” to give your client/prospects something to distinguish you from your peers in your industry.
Take care of yourself in the week before your headshot: Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, avoid alcohol and smoking, and give your reflection in the mirror kind compliments daily. All these habits help relax lines and wrinkles, undereye circles, and make you glow. Get extra sleep the night before your photo shoot so you’re energized and perky in the morning.
I like to keep lighting bright, soft, and even to fill shadows and smoothen wrinkles. Daylight by a window is most flattering for women and on gray rainy days or windowless rooms, continuous lights are kinder than flash. As I photograph, I ask for the woman’s “best side” and keep a conversation to draw out her personality. Have fun with yourself and enjoy the experience! Angling the head, posture, as well as getting a twinkle in her eyes all help in capturing a woman’s unique best.
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© Sharon Birke
Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC
201 697 1947
Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman