Make Up adds the Polish!

So my last post introduced Catherine Edwards as my go to Hair & Make Up Artist, my new team member to give headshot and portrait photos that extra bit of polish.

Photographing people for their headshots and portraits to be used in their business requires a recipe. The ingredients include lighting, lens choice, a little thought into what they are wearing, background and for me at least a healthy strive to find their mojo! I talk to each person, try to get them relaxed and sometimes distracted so as to capture just the right expression.

But bringing Catherine on board and making Hair and Make Up standard adds the ‘extra’. It definitely boosts confidence and hopefully makes people less camera shy. It’s also just as relevant  for the men too.

Recently I had John and Fiona Ryland in the studio. I know them through the Business Hubs franchise, now located in Farnham, Guildford, Bordon and very soon Portsmouth. John and Fiona are engineer inventors specialising in processing machines for the oil industry and are, through the Hub, embracing a lot of business development and marketing ideas. Which brings us along to headshots.

Now the point of this post is to cover the benefits of hair and make up on a shoot. OK, I know it’s not exactly inventing the wheel, hair and make up at a photoshoot! But it isn’t seen as entirely standard across corporate headshot shoots and when offered, usually as a bolt on extra cost, it may not be taken.

But your headshot is something you’re going to use for a while and hopefully extensively. It is your digital handshake so it falls into the first impression category so there’s every argument to look good. Fiona and John were happy to have the before and after treatment, but I hate those where the photographer or production work hard to purposely make the before photos look underplayed. It doesn’t do the comparison justice and implies way to big a jump in finish.

So I photographed Fiona and John in my usual way with the thought that they would be the end photos. Personally I think they look great and I would be happy for them to be used.

fiona-ryland-before-mua john-ryland-before-mua

Once I had a selection of pre-make up photos Catherine got to work and we started looking at making a few changes. Thing is, I didn’t want either Fiona or John to look unlike themselves, just photo ready and pleased to say hello to the world.

The first make up and hair fussed over photos were again against the white background.

fiona-ryland-after-mua-2 john-ryland-after-mua-wb

The lighting set up was kept the same to offer a fair before and after example but after that we headed towards a dark background.

fiona-ryland john-ryland

And then we finished with a two in frame shot!


Since the shoot with Fiona and John we’ve incorporated Hair & Make Up on other shoots including larger jobs at client offices. It’s gone down a storm, both with men and women. With the men in particular, usually entirely make up free, a ‘light dusting’ to help with tired (or just late night in the pub) eyes is a real help.


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