How Much Make Up For A Headshot?


Hey everyone, it’s Laura Pearman and this is another Laura Pearman Vlog!  This week’s question is from Karen Strunks.  It’s about makeup for headshots.

You may have already heard of the 4 a.m. project.

well Karen is the lady behind that whole project so I’m really thrilled to have her question this week.  Let’s get into it. So Karen asks:

You can catch Karen’s HYSTERICAL Tweet feed right here:


Really good question Karen.  So yes it’s true when you’re using a flash, or light setups in photography it is always a good idea to have a different type of makeup set up on your face to accommodate for lighting and actually when working with men sometimes who don’t usually wear makeup.  A makeup artist would apply a certain layer of makeup to the face to accommodate for lighting just like in the theatre when you’re working in the theater and you’re under theatrical lighting you need makeup on your face so that you don’t look completely washed out.  Ask any lighting director about this and they will explain to you in detail why that is.  Usually, you need a lot of definition in your eyes because you want them to stand out, it’s really interesting when you look at like teachings from Royal Ballet or anyone who works in the Opera world about the science all of the different positions in say the eyebrows and face etc.  I remember books from when I used to dance when I was a child. I remember pages from a specific book… (hmm I wonder where that book is…)

Anyway, I digress as I usually do! So yes Karen, as a makeup lover you probably know about adding different layers to your foundation base or adding a little more contouring that kind of thing.  So if you wanted to take care of your makeup yourself you could probably do a little bit of planning to make sure you’ve got a little bit more of a base there to accommodate for flash and for lightning.


But you want to be careful and you want to plan with your photographer that you don’t go overboard on this and you don’t look too much like you’re overly made up.

So sometimes I see this happen where someone who is like a supernatural gal and would never normally wear any makeup to any meetings and that’s just their style they’re just a natural kind of person and then they go in and they get involved in like these full-on packages and they come out looking like somebody who’s been in like part of a pageant so that when you see their headshots, they’re like uber polished and totally like styled out and then you think well that headshot looks nothing like the person I’m about to meet in this meeting. 

There’s such a divide between what you’re getting on the cover of the service and what you’re getting in person.

You want a more polished version of who you are when you
meet the person face to face but you don’t want it to be so different you look like two completely different people.

You with me here?



So I hope that answers the question and I would always say that when in doubt, you probably want to have a chat with a professional makeup artist and you want to develop a bit of a trust level with the makeup artist that you’re working with.

A lot of the time people are very wary and fearful about working with a makeup artist because they’re worried that they’re going to look like a clown or something or they’re worried that the makeup artist is going to do something that they don’t feel comfortable with and all of that comes from a fear of the unknown

working with somebody that you’re not used to working with.  You get over that by doing trial runs, you get over that by making sure that the person understands what you’re saying and yeah just get over it really.  Work with the person, develop trust with the person and before you know it you’re gonna have a makeup artist who is your best friend.

The best makeup artists in the world are like that.  Trust me!

I work with some great suppliers on shoots and they are miracle workers!

So yeah, if you don’t want to do it yourself get a good supplier that’s always the best way forward.

So I hope that answers your question well Karen, and thank you so much for submitting your question to me.  It has been a pleasure to answer a question for you, my dear.

So if you have another question about makeup for headshots, about working with good makeup artists, by all means, ask me a question in that vein and I will be happy to answer it and I will see you on the next episode!  See you later! MWAH!


I re-visited this topic again on Mwah TV here:


If you want to get the lowdown on my Full Range of Headshots Services you can by popping in your email here. I’ll send you a copy of my latest collection of services.

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