Top hair & makeup tips for your professional photoshoot

Firstly, the fact that we are even talking headshots and photoshoots means you are in business, branding or the corporate world to some extent…. so chances are you’re already up to your neck in deadlines, to- do’s or “why haven’t you dunnits”, right?

To save anyone’s time in reading on from here, if you’re not a bit of a hair and makeup whiz then stop now, do not waste your valuable time and patience. In particular if you’re in an industry where first impressions or your personal appearance is paramount to your corporate or brand image, (ie, lawyers, fashion designers, real estate, influencers etc.) then it’s plain and simple- you need to call in the Sapphire professionals.

Time is money and if you are that person that knows you’re not going to nail that eyeliner no matter how many painful YouTube tutorials that you put yourself through (you know who you are)… we’ve got you covered and quite frankly, that is why we were invented.

However, if you are a bit of a makeup freak who enjoys the challenge then please read on. Here are my top tips in getting the most out of your photoshoot with DIY hair and makeup.

Tip 1. Research and source a top quality corporate or influencer photographer

You may be a start-up business looking to save a few dollars here or there plus you’re pretty handy at your own hair and makeup so these suggestions are meant for you. Budget is key to any business so we always recommend spending that extra money on a professional corporate photographer as the main priority when refreshing your headshots. Ensure they specialise in this field as not all have the eye for the real detail, variation and balance that some of these shots require. It’s a bit like asking a French chef to whip up an Italian feast. You know it will be tasty nevertheless, but you don’t want to pay top dollar for a stodgy risotto, right?

Headshots are not just the photos that you merely place on your business card these days- it extends far beyond that. These images can be used for book covers, flyers, blogs, and most commonly on social media platforms.

We are blessed to work with some of the nation’s top corporate and influencer photographers like The Portrait Store and Novasoma Photography for events and team/ company headshots, so do your research and choose the ones who just ‘get it’. They need to fully understand who you are and the message you want to portray for your business or personal brand. I go into this in a bit more detail below as this is CRUCIAL!

Tip 2. Spend time and energy on your hair and makeup.

You do not need the most expensive and fancy makeup brands out there to achieve a high end result for your professional headshots. You will hear me say that often, as I want to remove the misconception that the $200 mascara is guaranteed to be better than your $30 one in your drawer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stickler for quality … but I’m also a realist. Not everybody has cash to burn on products that they will only use once every so often. Even as a hair and makeup professional of 20 years now ( that makes me sound so old… eek), YouTube is a makeup lovers best tool, so why not utilise it I say?!

Take it from me, you do not want to spend all that money on a brilliant photographer if you are going to look at yourself and hate what you see with a ‘slapped on’ face of makeup and a careless ‘zhoosh’ of the hair. So I would suggest incorporating just a few extra dollars into your shoot budget to get some decent hair and makeup products.

In addition to that, if you have a team and you require a level of consistency in the image you want to collectively portray then I suggest;

a) Be very savvy with outlining a strict brief for each team member (one lady’s ‘natural’ is another ones smoky eye- trust me on that one!) OR

b) Once again, have the pro’s come in and make it a team building pamper session at the office before your shoot if it seems like an impossible task to tame those who undoubtedly want to outshine their co-workers.

A quick product checklist for your DIY hair and makeup:

  • Primer– a good quality moisturiser is fine. No SPF please ladies…  I won’t explain in depth now but your photographer will respect you for making that decision as it can cause lighting ‘flashback’.
  • Foundation– Again, no SPF and colour matched perfectly. Making sure you bring it down past your jawline and pahhleeease… blend, blend, blend
  • Beauty blender– See the last sentence above… don’t make me say it again 😉
  • Compact Powder– To set your foundation and remove any shine.
  • Eye shadow– The more neutral the colour palette, the less likely you can get yourself into trouble.
  • Blush– “Oh but I don’t do blush”… Oh yes you do on this occasion girlfriend, otherwise you will resemble a corpse under studio lights.
  • Lipstick (not gloss)- “Oh but I don’t do lipstick” … Oh my word you do now honey… see above. If you must go a nude, make it a darker shade than you would normally.
  • Eyeliner– (ONLY if you’re experienced at this)… if you’re a bit of a ‘Shakey-Mcflakey’… do not, I repeat, do NOT attempt!
  • Mascara– A basic essential for any photoshoot I believe as it helps frame the eyes, making you less likely to appear tired, over worked and underpaid!
  • Hairdryer/ tongs or hair straightener– Whatever the hair style you choose here, ensure you have some height or fullness around the crown to avoid giving yourself a flat, pin-head. I’m not talking 60’s retro type of height so please relax, just a little bit of shape goes a long way.

Keep an eye out for my next blog which will go into a bit more detail above the above products and what not to do when using them.

Tip 3. My most important of all… Have a clear understanding of your audience

Work out EXACTLY who you is your target market and map out the look you want to achieve. What is the first impression that you want to create for your audience?

Maybe whip up a hair and makeup mood board (thought Pinterest was dead? Think again, it’s ideal for this) and provide this to your photographer also. Have a crystal clear vision of the message and look you want to get across to your followers. I highly recommend you pre-plan and spend time on this section before even picking up a brush of any sort. If you get this part wrong, you may cost yourself an entire shoot down the track.

If you’re an influencer or a personal brand for example, ask yourself; are you a relaxed character who is targeting time poor busy mums? Or maybe you are wanting to attract business from a young, fashionista crowd. Do you want your message to reach the corporate world or high achievers instead? Whichever is your tribe, you need to think really hard about what is their language and what hair and makeup styles are going to ‘speak’ loudest to them? Experts say that in this online digital world, people form an impression of you or your website in as little as 50 milliseconds. In other words you get one shot at a first impression so make it count!!

If your audience is more the tranquil type, you’re clearly not going to present yourself with a full glam face of makeup, perfect hair, bold lashes are you (despite your own insecurities)? Your onlookers will not resonate with you at all at first glance.

We recently had a wonderful Sapphire client whose business was basically built around helping other brands market to busy Mums. She was extremely nervous about her upcoming shoot and sent us across images of previous corporate shots that she’d spent a fortune on but she could not use one. Her hair and makeup did not meet the brief and was way too dark and overdone (not prepared by us of course). She didn’t feel herself or at ease which in turn showed up in the finished product- her images just looked ‘uncomfortable’.

So whether a start-up or established business, make sure you continually reassess and think hard about who you are reaching out to as your business evolves. Ensure you and your team are consistently adapting to your audiences likes, dislikes and that your message and look is in line with their values.

I will leave you now with my ultimate top 3 tips in getting the most out of your DIY hair and makeup for your professional headshots plus the recommended tools you may need.

May your brows be on point and your images turn out as fabulous as your career journeys ahead!

Take care for now.

Jules 🙂


Cover image supplied by The Portrait Store

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