A couple of weeks ago, Sarah asked me to do some updated headshots in the studio for her, and she arranged for Laurel Brown, professional hair and makeup artist to come to the studio and do her hair and makeup. Sarah is our part-time studio manager and I’ll add the disclaimer: we’re married. Happily. Sarah does the retouching for a lot of the images, but especially the headshots. That’s in addition to her work at Macquarie University, and the reason she required the headshot. Yes… she is very capable.

But like many who are involved in a profession, we don’t regularly do the things we recommend that other people do. I usually think of health professionals who offer advice but don’t necessarily follow it themselves – like a GP who tells their patients not to smoke, but heads outside all too often…

Sarah and I don’t necessarily follow through on the process of getting professional photographs done regularly enough. Mea culpa. But it certainly makes sense to allow ourselves the time to experience what we are offering so that we can refine and refocus the process, from the inside.

Laurel came and started working on Sarah. These days, that’s a process that usually takes about one hour, but if the chat is flowing, and it usually does, it goes a bit longer. Whichever person we use for hair and makeup, will usually come to the studio well beforehand, and get set up for our client.

When the client arrives we will have a brief chat. We’re confirming the client’s requirements, looking at the wardrobe, asking how our client would like to be “seen” in their images, and what the intention for the photography is, and then checking colour preferences, both about the clothing and makeup preferences.

It’s probably fair to add that some people haven’t understood the value of having their hair and makeup done by a professional. After all, by their own admission, the majority of our clients have never had experience with the process.

The hair and makeup artists are really good at helping clients achieve a specific look. For corporate looks, most of our clients are looking for their professionalism to show through, with warmth, friendliness and approachability.

Our clients inevitably love the attention, and the detail, that comes with having their hair and makeup done for their headshots. Most have challenging jobs, so it can be quite relaxing to have that pampering for a while. And, if they choose, to have a lovely chat too.

When it comes to using a hair and makeup artist, some clients worry that they won’t look like themselves. We’ve probably all been a bit puzzled by some of those “Before-and-After” makeovers, wondering what happened to the person along the way. But that’s definitely not the point of corporate headshots.

The actual point when using a professional hair and makeup artist is that the result shows a professional person, in the best possible light. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s you on a really good day, and even if you never use and are never seen with makeup, it’s still worth thinking about. And once you’ve almost convinced yourself, do it, because it genuinely makes a positive distinction.

We’ve previously talked on the blog about the influence of studio lighting on hair and makeup. It makes sense to do several test shots, view them onscreen, and check back with the hair and makeup artist. A little adjustment might be needed here and there, plus a check on the hair, and then the session is underway.

Sometimes clients, after checking themselves in the mirror, find it’s necessary to adjust one or two things to get the look they’re after. From my observation, it most often tends to be lipstick colours that clients adjust. For some, it’ll be obviously too dark, whereas, with others, the initial thought that they’d only need a very light lipstick is corrected after seeing the initial studio images.

Some clients might regard the addition of a professional hair and makeup artist as a bit of an expense and a gamble. I take the opposite approach. It’s a gamble without one. Beautiful lighting, great poses, and gorgeous clothing will get a good result. Going the extra step gets compelling results, with the added benefit that the images highlight and project the professionalism that the client desires.

Sarah's headshots with hair and makeup
headshots with hair and makeup
Sarah's headshot included hair and makeup

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