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  • Writer's pictureAFH Media

5 Hair and Makeup Tips For Headshot Sessions | Harrisburg Headshots

Having new professional headshots taken is the perfect way to showcase your professional brand to the world. It gives you the opportunity to use your headshots to update your business cards, website, social media and more. This new headshot photo will get a lot of attention, so it’s important to hire a professional and give some thought towards hair and makeup. 

For women business owners, hair and makeup are crucial to amazing professional headshots.

Follow these 5 tips to get a look that’s clean, professional and camera friendly so you can leave with headshots that show the best you for your potential clients.

African American woman in gold jacket headshot

Tip 1: Stay True to You

While hiring a professional headshot photographer can tempt you to want to go all out on your look for the pictures, you will want to make sure that your images portray YOU. Not a glammed up version of you. Keep in mind what you’ll be using these headshots for. Most times, you want a headshot that shows you to your clients before they actually meet you in person. So if you show up looking drastically different than your picture, you’re going to throw your potential clients for a loop.

If you straighten your curly hair usually, straighten it for your new headshots. Don’t venture out for a brand new spray tan if you’re normally pretty pale. 

If you don’t look like you, your headshots won’t reflect reality. Headshots are meant to make your potential clients more familiar to who you are, not who you’d like to be.

Tip 2: Plan For Success

Once you book your headshot session, start prepping. If you need your haircut or colored, schedule it at least a week before your headshot session. Think about scheduling a facial, eyebrow shaping or teeth whitening about the same amount of time before your session.You certainly do not need to do any of these things before your session, but they are things to consider when scheduling your session.

You should not have any grooming done on the day of or day before your headshot session. I think we’ve all had or seen freshly waxed eyebrows and that would not make for a good headshot.

Start hydrating when you book your session as well. Being dehydrated can show in pictures as chapped lips and flaky skin. Drink plenty of water and make sure to apply sunscreen if you’re going to be outside so you aren’t dealing with sunburn or peeling skin for your headshot session, either. 

Tip 3: Keep Your Makeup Simple

If you decide to not have your makeup done professionally for your new headshots, it’s important to be aware of some differences in normal makeup application and photo ready makeup application. There are certain makeup applications that do not flatter in headshots. Some things to keep in mind would be:

  • Steer clear of any makeup with a shimmer to it. This can reflect in camera with studio lighting, causing shine spots on your face in images. Avoid glittery or shimmering finishes to any eye makeup, lipsticks, bronzers, blushes and foundations.

  • Makeup with any SPF also will be reflective in studio and should be avoided

  • Keep the eyeliner under your eyes thin if you use it. A heavy/thick line can make you look older in camera than you are, and we all know no one wants that!

  • Powders typically look flat and lay in any wrinkles you have and show in pictures. Consider a natural dewiness on the cheek and nose to add a look of youthfulness

  • Sticking with a neutral eye will look best in your headshots. 

If you decide to hire a makeup artist to do your makeup on the day of your headshot session, make sure to let them know that you need it done for studio lighting. At AFH Media, we have a few suggested makeup artists that we’re happy to refer you to.

Tip 4: Keep Facial Hair Trimmed

Men, this one is for you. If you normally have facial hair, shaving is not recommended. Refer back to Tip 1. You do, however, want to make sure that you are neatly trimmed for your headshots. If you are usually clean shaven, consider how long it usually takes for you to get that 5 o'clock shadow and shave so that your headshot session is in that time frame. If your skin is irritated by shaving, consider shaving the night before to avoid redness and bumps for your session.

Headshot of bald man in grey shirt

Tip 5: Style Your Hair Professionally

Hair styling should be pretty similar to your normal look, with maybe a bit of UMPH!

If you had a job interview or important meeting, how would you style it? This is the type of “do” you want to stick with for your headshot session.

A gentle blowout with maybe a little added volume is great for longer hair. A tight “business” bun can look very harsh in pictures. A ponytail or messy bun is too casual.

Be aware of any of your styling products that may make your hair look wet or slick when under studio lighting.

When your ready to up your game, reach out to AFH Media for updated headshots. We’ll help you each step of the way and make sure you walk away with professional headshot images that show your best side!


Ashleigh Maxey
Ashleigh Maxey
May 26

Love the coaching and tips offered for headshot clients! As someone who wouldn't think to prioritize professional hair or makeup, I love that you've offered some tips for DIY clients!


May 19

Love that you coach your clients on how to look their best for headshots! Beautiful work Jodi!

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