The idea of wearing makeup in Western culture, especially in the United States, is fraught with emotion and much debate. I did a quick, unscientific search on Google to see what I would find. "Whether to wear makeup or not" resulted in more than fifteen pages of results and a ton of related topics.
There were lots of articles like Should You Wear Makeup at Work? in the Scientific American, and an article in the New York Times Style Magazine, To Wear Makeup or Not to Wear Makeup, with before and after photos. What's a business woman to do?
I've decided to make the decision for you. Well, not really. Actually, you've made the decision for yourself. If you're thinking of working with me, or any other professional business headshot and branding photographer, you'll need to dig deep and think what your end game is. Why do you need these business headshots anyway? Do you want more clients? A promotion or advancement in your career? Maybe you want to make more money. Nothing wrong with any of those goals. I’m right there with you! However, I nor any other photographer can guarantee any of these wonderful aspirations happening for you, but I do know putting your best face forward in your business headshots will go a long way.
Maybe you're a staunch feminist and think that wearing makeup objectifies women. I totally get that. I’ve also had clients tell me that wearing makeup makes them look phony or not who they really are since they rarely wear makeup. That makes total sense. If you don’t wear makeup and start with full on foundation, contouring, blush, eyeshadow and fake eyelashes, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to know who that woman is in the mirror, and maybe no one else will either. But you still want to look your very best in your professional headshots. Here are some suggestions to quell the makeup versus no makeup debate.
We all suffer from blotchy skin, bags under our eyes and thinning eyebrows. A little concealer and brow shaping can go a long way. Just a hint of makeup to accentuates your features can make a big difference. It just makes for a more polished look.
And whether it’s fair or not, studies have shown that women get offered more jobs, get offered better pay, and are perceived as more credible when they wear makeup. Studies also show that people form opinions about you in the first 60 seconds of meeting you – and those opinions, made in a split second, rarely change over time! We live in such a digital world that often your photo is the first impression someone has of you. They decide in that instant whether you have the qualities they are looking for and whether they want to do business with you. Make that first impression count!
Modern photography cameras see it all. Porous skin, tiny blemishes and every little scar you've probably forgotten how you got. A small amount of accurately matched foundation carefully applied will take care of that.
Bright lights in theatrical productions can overwhelm features, making them and you virtually unnoticeable. That goes for photo studio light too. Eyes in particular, the gateway to the soul, can look small and lifeless in digital images. Half the battle in business is getting noticed! A little eyeshadow and mascara can help you stand out and get the right kind of attention.
If you're going to go to the expense of a professional headshot or branding session, why not look your very best? You've already made up your mind as to why you need those photos. Why not take it a small step further by having professional makeup done.
When I got my college degree, I went to a frame shop to find frame for it. They were expensive, so I was looking at the budget frames. The salesman said, “With all the money it costs to get this degree, don’t you think it deserves a frame that matches that quality?” He was right, and makeup for your photos is like that. The photos will be around for a long time, and your clients and prospects will view them hundreds of times. You’ll look great. You'll feel great. You’ll exude confidence that will show in your images.
Forget about your wedding day when you had your makeup done by a professional makeup artist. She/he did your makeup like you've never worn it before. You looked like something out of a glamour magazine. Hooray! But wedding day makeup is not what you'd wear to your office, so why would your headshot or business branding makeup look like your wedding day makeup? It shouldn’t. Makeup and hair professionals will keep your goal in mind and know what your photo is for. Is it for your business website? For an acting portfolio? For a dating website? Those would require three different makeup styles. A good makeup artist can give you light, even makeup coverage, that enhances your looks by NOT changing your looks. When looking at your photos, no one will ever know that you worked with a professional makeup artist.
And I want to emphasize the point again. Unless you are very proficient with makeup, hire a professional makeup artist. They have the best tools, know the trends, and know how to do makeup for any occasion. They know the makeup types, brands, and styles that will work with bright photography lights.
I've never had a client regret having her makeup and hair done. But I have had clients who were super critical of their images when they didn't hire a pro makeup artist. I truly want you to look amazing and I want you to love your photographs!