top of page


Headshot Hair and Makeup: Essential Tips for a Stunning Image

Picture the power of a headshot, where before a word is uttered, your image speaks volumes. I am Austen Hunter, a seasoned Pensacola photographer, and through years of refining the art of headshot photography, I've garnered a treasure of insights. Collaborating with adept makeup artists and hairstylists has honed my understanding of the aesthetic nuances that accentuate one's professional aura. In this guide, I'm sharing expert advice on hair and makeup preparations for your headshot session, ensuring you step in front of the lens with confidence and finesse.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to

Table of Contents:

The Importance of a Professional Headshot

Before we get to the hair and makeup tips, it's important to emphasize the numerous benefits of investing in a professional headshot. A high-quality image can leave a lasting impact on your personal and professional life. Here are some key advantages of a professional headshot:

  • First impressions matter: Research shows that it takes just 1/10th of a second for someone to form an opinion about you based on your photo. A professional headshot ensures a strong, positive first impression.

  • Personal branding: Your headshot is a vital element of your personal brand, conveying your unique personality, expertise, and professionalism. A skilled photographer can capture your essence effectively.

  • Consistency across platforms: With the rise of social media and professional networks, having a consistent image on all platforms is essential. A professional headshot ensures a polished appearance everywhere.

  • Confidence booster: A great headshot not only impresses others but also boosts your self-confidence. Seeing yourself in a high-quality, expertly-crafted image increases your self-assurance.

  • Adaptability: A professional headshot can be adapted for various purposes, from LinkedIn profiles to speaking engagements. Investing in a versatile headshot ensures you have a go-to image for any occasion.

Understanding the value of a professional headshot can positively impact your personal and professional presence. With a high-quality headshot in hand, it's time to explore expert tips on hair and makeup preparation for your upcoming headshot session.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to tips

Preparing for Your Headshot Session: Planning and Skincare

The key to a successful headshot session is proper preparation. It is recommended to start at least a week before the session to ensure that the skin looks its best. Implementing a consistent skincare routine, which includes cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing daily, is essential. Hydration is of utmost importance - drinking plenty of water and using a high-quality moisturizer can keep the skin supple and radiant.

Table 1: Preparing for Your Headshot Session




Start at least a week before: cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize daily. Drink plenty of water


Avoid new haircuts, colors, or treatments within a week of the shoot


Avoid drastic changes to appearance

It's very important to avoid making any drastic changes to one's appearance right before the session. This means refraining from new haircuts, hair colors, or facial treatments within a week of the shoot. These changes can lead to unforeseen issues that may not be easily corrected during the session or post-production.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to tips

Laying the Foundation: Skin Preparation and Makeup Tips

When it comes to makeup, the goal is to enhance natural features without looking overdone. Begin by cleansing and moisturizing the face to create a smooth base for makeup application. Choosing a foundation that matches the skin tone exactly and opting for a formula that offers a natural, skin-like finish is essential. To ensure the foundation lasts throughout the session, consider using a primer beforehand. If there are any blemishes or discoloration, a concealer that matches the skin tone can provide additional coverage.

While sunscreen is useful for daily wear, it's best to avoid foundations containing SPF for headshot sessions. Some sunscreen ingredients can cause a white cast in photos, making the skin appear unnaturally pale. On the day of the shoot, applying a toner can help balance the skin's pH levels and ensure a smooth, even makeup application.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to tips

Captivating Eyes and Lips: Headshot Makeup Techniques

Eyes and lips are focal points in headshots, so it's essential to make them stand out without appearing unnatural. For eye makeup, it's best to stick to neutral shades that complement the eye color and avoid shimmery or glittery finishes, which can create unwanted reflections. If you wear mascara, choose one that adds volume and length without clumping and using eyeliner sparingly – a thin line along the upper lash line can add definition without overpowering the eyes.

"Every detail in a headshot tells a story, make sure yours is telling the right one." - Austen Hunter

When it comes to lip color, choosing a shade close to the natural lip color but slightly more saturated is recommended. This will enhance the lips without drawing too much attention away from the rest of the face. Don't forget to check that there is no lipstick on the teeth before the session begins, and for men, a lip balm can keep the lips looking healthy and hydrated.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to tips

Adding Depth and Dimension: Blush and Powder for Headshots

Blush is an essential step in headshot makeup, as it adds depth and dimension to the face. Choosing a blush color that mimics the natural flush of the cheeks and applying it sparingly to the apples of the cheeks, blending outwards towards the temples, can create a subtle, healthy-looking glow.

To avoid a shiny appearance in headshots, setting makeup with a powder that matches the skin tone is necessary. For individuals with oily skin, using an oil-absorbing powder can help keep shine at bay throughout the session. Remember to blend the powder down the neck and onto the décolletage to ensure a seamless transition between the face and body.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to tips

Hair That Speaks Volumes: Styling Tips for Professional Headshots

Hair plays a significant role in the overall appearance of a headshot, and choosing a style that is both professional and flattering is crucial. Ideally, the chosen hairstyle should frame the face without being distracting. For individuals with longer hair, loose curls or waves can create a soft, professional look. For those with shorter hair, a neatly styled cut that showcases the face shape is recommended. In all cases, avoid overly tight or slicked-back styles, as they can appear harsh in photos.

Table 2: Makeup Tips for Headshots

Makeup Aspect



Choose a matching skin tone foundation, use primer, avoid SPF-containing products


Stick to neutral shades, avoid shimmery finishes, use mascara and eyeliner sparingly


Choose a shade close to natural lip color, ensure no lipstick on teeth, use lip balm for men

Blush & Powder

Apply blush sparingly, use powder matching skin tone to set makeup and control shine

For male clients, facial hair should be neatly trimmed and groomed. If the client is typically clean-shaven, it's essential to shave the morning of the session to avoid any visible stubble.

hair and makeup for professional headshot how to tips

The Final Touches: Headshot Session Checklist

As the headshot session approaches, it's essential to have all necessary items on hand. Make sure to pack:

  • A brush or comb: For managing and styling your hair during the session.

  • Hairspray: To keep your hairstyle in place and maintain a polished look.

  • Hairpins: For securing stray hairs and adjusting your hairstyle as needed.

  • Makeup for touch-ups: To keep your makeup looking fresh throughout the session.

  • Additional hair or makeup products: Bring any other essential items specific to your needs.

Remember that the goal of a headshot is to capture your essence in a professional and polished manner. By following these expert tips and staying true to yourself, you can be confident that your headshot will make a lasting impression.

Frequently Asked Questions about Headshot Hair and Makeup

Q: How should I prepare my skin for a headshot session?

A: Start a skincare routine at least a week before the session, including daily cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing. Drinking plenty of water is also crucial to keep the skin supple and radiant.

Q: What are some general makeup tips for a headshot session?

Q: How can I ensure my headshot looks natural yet professional?

Final Thoughts

The hair and makeup choices made for a headshot session have a significant impact on the overall image. By following the expert tips outlined in this article, individuals can prepare for their headshot session and achieve a professional, polished appearance. Remember to plan ahead, focus on enhancing natural features, and avoid any drastic changes to one's appearance in the days leading up to the session. With these considerations in mind, clients can be confident that their headshot will make a strong first impression.

Why not experience the difference a professional touch can make for your headshot? Book your session with Austen Hunter, and let his expertise guide you to a captivating headshot that leaves a lasting impact. Invest in your personal and professional image today - schedule your session with Austen Hunter Photography.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Etsy


Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

Ready. Set. Book!




Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page