The Dos and Don’ts of Makeup for Corporate Headshots

Calling all corporate and not-so-corporate professionals! Are you gearing up for those crucial corporate headshots that will grace your LinkedIn, corporate bio, or even snazzy website? You’re in the right spot! This blog is your go-to guide for looking authentically awesome (yes, that’s a thing!) in your professional photos. In this particular article, we’re talking makeup and skin prep to help put your best face forward for your new headshots. We’re diving into the nitty-gritty of makeup dos and don’ts, but spoiler alert: it’s not about piling on products like you’re auditioning for a Broadway musical. It’s about capturing the real, unique, and authentic you, but like, the you that didn’t just wake up.

Less is More

I can’t say it enough. You want the authentic version of you to shine through in your professional headshot. Unless you legitimately wear a ton of makeup to meetings with colleagues and clients, you should “keep it clean” on your photoshoot day. I can retouch wrinkles, acne, redness, scratches, moles, sunburns, birthmarks, and dark circles under your eyes. Put down that gallon of foundation like it’s the One Ring, and you’re Frodo. I can minimize those problem areas, but no level of Elven magic editing will make you look like you have less makeup on.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t wear makeup. I’m saying don’t wear a lot more makeup than you usually would for a business meeting. If you rock that blue eyeliner or cat eye at every meeting because you love it, wear it the same way at your photoshoot. You want to look like you.

woman having water rush onto her face and neck representing well hydrated skin

Bathroom Jedi Tricks

We want that well-hydrated skin (don’t forget to drink lots of water!), but we want to minimize oily skin, so consider bringing your blotting paper or powder. Shimmer might be your best friend on the dancefloor, but it will make your headshot look overly shiny.

I suggest bringing powder or blotting tissues to control the shine on your face, but if you don’t have them or have forgotten, I can share a top-secret life hack. Most public restrooms come with toilet seat covers, and those puppies work like gangbusters for blotting away shine! Just make sure to reach a few deep to avoid any unwanted ick.

Advice For Company-Wide Headshots

Ask your employees to start getting ready ahead of time. If your scheduled shoot is at 2:30, you might consider advising them to get prepared at 2:00. The truth is that nobody likes picture day, and your employees will likely be unhappy about pausing work to have their picture taken. If they have to rush around to get ready, they may look sweaty, shiny, and unhappy in their headshots. Give them time to relax and get their makeup/skin ready without rushing. You’ll see much better results in the final product. 

Should I Hire a Professional Makeup Artist?

It’s a personal choice. Plenty of talented makeup artists are out there, but do they all specialize in corporate headshots? No. Headshot makeup is a different art form than glam. A lot of makeup artists will try to make you look overly done up or will give you bold makeup when you usually sport a more natural look. You want to look like a clean, polished version of you, not the you from a pocket reality.

Once you’ve decided on a stylist specializing in headshot makeup, I encourage you to communicate with them like you’d communicate with your photographer. Our mind-reading skills are still a work in progress. Until then, show your stylist how you usually look when you’re headed into a professional meeting. The most effective way to communicate this is via selfies. If you present a pic of you before a meeting, you and your stylist can decide how to create the most polished version together. 

woman getting make applied by a professional

Don’t Panic And Make Sure To Communicate

I don’t recommend hitting a department store makeup counter before your shoot. If you wander into a store like Macy’s, remember that the people at the makeup counter are being paid to sell you makeup. They’re not necessarily interested in helping with your corporate headshot look. They might try dramatic tactics that are impossible to miss to close that sale. While I appreciate the hustle, it won’t work for a headshot. Similarly, asking your bestie for help the day of the corporate headshots shoot isn’t advised either. Unless they are a professional, you can’t count on them to get the job done right.

You should be able to openly communicate with your stylists to let them know what you love and what may need to be adjusted after the work is done. Good stylists are like good photographers. We want you to love the way you look. Yes, I know I sound like a Men’s Warehouse commercial, but they came up with a killer slogan. I want you to love how you look, and a good stylist will, too. We’re like executive chefs at a five-star restaurant. We want you to send it back if it tastes bad and give us the opportunity to make it right.

If you’re struggling to find a good stylist before your photo session, feel free to ask for a recommendation! I work with great stylists who specialize in headshot makeup and hair.

Last Words About Corporate Headshots and Makeup

The world is vast, and the diversity is beautiful. What works for you may not work for all, and vice versa. Consider what you want to show the corporate world in your headshot. Heck, I love wearing glitter when I’m in Vegas, but I don’t wear it when I talk with my clients. Not because I’m worried about it being feminine but because I don’t want them to be distracted by the glitter on my face. I want you to see me. For that same reason, I wouldn’t wear it for a corporate headshot.

Please don’t cancel your corporate headshot photo session because you woke up with a giant zit on or got a bad sunburn over the weekend. Maybe your cat scratched you in hot pursuit of a house fly, or your dog nipped you while you were roughhousing. We can work together on editing those temporary flaws. We can also discuss wrinkles, acne, dark circles, or other skin insecurities that might bother you. Some of us have a “good side” we want to be photographed from, but you have to let me know. I want you to feel great, so let’s keep those lines of communication open and flowing.

Schedule your corporate headshots photoshoot today, and let’s work together to make you feel like a million bucks.

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