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With Covid-19 being around and government restrictions in place, unfortunately, makeup service for headshots (or anything that involves working on the face) is one that can not yet be done by professional Makeup Artists.

When they do get the go ahead to work on faces, many may not feel comfortable being in close proximity, even with all the safety protocols in place.

Even on commercial and movie sets, moving forward, you may be required to do your own makeup and hair. Even if a makeup artist is present on set, they may only be able to guide you on how to do your own for the set.

Here are some tips for getting your makeup camera ready for your headshots session.


Clear flawless skin is a must! For those with nice skin to start, a BB cream or CC cream would work perfectly with just the right amount of coverage when used with a concealer. If you suffer from severe redness, again a BB or CC cream will help to even out your skin tone for photos, this includes men!

If you suffer from acne or heavy discolorations, you may need a foundation that is more full coverage. Again don’t cake it on, we have photoshop for what can’t be covered.

Concealer is a must for everyone! When applying concealer a few dots under the eyes, around the nose, and around the mouth is all you’ll need. If you have blemishes you can spot cover those as well. Then of course don’t forget to blend! A beauty blender, foundation brush, or just your fingers will work, do whatever you’re comfortable with. I personally use my fingers to help warm the product and melt into the skin.

Most important DO NOT FORGET THE POWDER!!!! This is critical and something that everyone in including children and men should have on hand. A translucent powder is best for eliminating shine. On camera, the shine will show up as white spots on the face. Increasing the look of fine lines and wrinkles, pore size and uneven skin. If you have never used powder before then you need to get some. This also helps set your makeup so that it will stay put and last throughout the day.

Some key tips when using/buying foundations and powders for on-camera use is finding ones that are matte. Meaning no shimmer! Especially when finding face powders, steer clear of shimmer.

Contouring and Highlighting

If this is something you do in your normal everyday makeup routine and are confident in your skills, then go for it! Just be careful not to overdo it.

If this is not something you would normally do, now is not the time to experiment. Professional lighting and guidance with posing and camera angles can make all the difference without needing to add in this step.

Again, be very careful with highlighting products containing shimmer. If placed incorrectly (example, the top of the lip to create the illusion of fuller lips) you can end up looking like you have a greasy upper lip or milk mustache when the flash goes off!

A little bit of highlight placed in the inside corner of the eye will help to open and brighten the eyes. A small dusting placed on top of cheekbones is all that is really needed.

Make sure when choosing a highlighter you pick a shade that is one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. Anything too light or too dark will show in an unflattering way.

Eye Brows

Make sure your eyebrows are trimmed and shaped before your shoot.

If you have sparse brows, a brow pencil in the shade taupe is universal for everyone. This will help to fill in any sparse spots by using short light strokes.

If you have full brows, a tinted brow gel may be just what you need to keep them all looking great and in place.

Again be careful not to overdo it, we don’t want any sharpie brows, please, and thank you.


Neutral palettes only, please. No brightly colored eyeshadows. A creamy pale matte neutral to highlight the brow bone, a nice neutral brown in the crease or placed on the lid below the crease, will help enhance the eyes while keeping it natural. Don’t have any eyeshadow? A bronzer is the perfect tone of brown to swipe over the lid to create the same effect. This is not needed for kids 13 and under.

If eyeliner is a part of your normal makeup routine, then go for it. Just no heavy thick lines or cat eyes. If using a pencil, blend/soften it out with a darker eyeshadow along the lash line for a less harsh/more natural look.

If you aren’t used to wearing liner but want to enhance your eyes a little, add some black or brown liner to your top waterline. This will help enhance those lashes and make your eyes pop without being too heavy. It’s also great for those who struggle to get a neat line on the lid.

Last but certainly not least, the icing on the cake, the MASCARA! You want your lashes to pop! A couple of coats of your favorite mascara will do wonders for making those eyes stand out. Be careful not to overdo it though, we don’t need it looking like you’ve got creepy spiders on your eyes.

Please stay away from lash extensions or false lashes, especially for acting headshots! Although they may look great in person they do not photograph well. They create a heavy, droopy eyelid, and some flashback white. Not flattering, especially when the goal is to make those eyes stand out!

As for children, if your child is very fair you can use mascara. Tip!!! Wipe the wand off on a tissue to get rid of excess product. For kids, you just want to lightly darken the lashes. NOT make it look like they are wearing mascara. If your child is 5 and under don’t even think of using mascara unless you’d like them to resemble a raccoon for there headshots! I can’t tell you how many times kids rub their eyes during a shoot due to the flash. Let’s keep the kids looking like kids please!


If there was one product that could bring you to life for your photos it is blush! A must for kids and adults!

A soft pinkish hue to add a natural flush to the apples of the cheeks will do wonders for your headshot!

If you don’t normally wear blush, get some ASAP! This will make the difference between looking like to going for a role on “Night of the Living Dead” or getting a great headshot!


Again natural, neutral colors are key. You don’t want to look too washed out or be too bold with colour that your lips are the first thing you see. A natural rosy tone works best.

Keep away from gloss! Again, this creates a shine or flashback that is unflattering. Keep it to a matte or semi-matte look.

For kids, chapstick is all you’ll need. Children already have a lot of colour in their lips. Adding anything extra will make them appear to be wearing a lot of makeup. This is the opposite of what we want. We want kids to look like kids!!!

For adults, please bring in a few different colour options. Start with a more natural shade and then change to a shade or two darker mid-shoot.

If you have any questions at all regarding doing your makeup for your headshots session don’t ever hesitate to reach out and ask! I’ll be more than happy to help. Always remember, less is more and natural is key! Always bring in your makeup kit with extra product in case touch or changes are needed.

Last but not least, the key to looking great in a headshot is smiling!! It’s the best way to brighten anything!

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By: Lindsey Macdonald Photography Inc.

Reposted with permission. Original post: Tips for Doing your Own Makeup for Headshots

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