Preparing for a headshot
The rules are different.
Black and white, closely cropped, neck up, studio shots, USED TO BE the rule. Not anymore. Color can be OK in some settings. With digital photography the images are taken in color first then converted to black and white. You might as well take advantage of this fact and wear a color that will look nice in the color versions as well. If you are interested in modeling or dancing a headshot from the waist up should be an option as well as a traditional cropping. Headshots don't need to be restricted to the studio. Though a headshot should be about who you are not where you are, the natural sunlight and the decidedly non-studio texture of an on-location backdrop can also be a beautiful way to make your headshot stand out. If you are interested in a location shot please schedule an additional appointment.
Choose an outfit that is in the midrange of colors. All black or all white can be interesting and dramatic but they can also be disastrous. Since your headshot can be in color, a color that brings out your eyes is great. If you want a color headshot, though, be sure to choose soft or neutral colors. Avoid patterns but embrace textures. A pattern with a lot of contrast is definitely not the way to go. Do not wear a shirt with a logo. Textures such as sweaters and layers are nice. Try to avoid plain T-shirts that cut you off at the neck. Shirt and tie can also make you look rigid and uncomfortable. An open collared shirt, v-neck or scoop neck help you to look relaxed and inviting. This isnít about the amount of skin you show, itís about the more attractive line around the neck. Conservative jewelry is OK but nothing should distract from your face.
Style your hair in a way that you like and frames your face. Hair in the eyes is bad. Hair perfectly slicked back is sometimes even worse. Men who wear their hair very short (as in their scalp shows) might want to wait until just before their next haircut before having headshots done.
Makeup for Women:
Everyone should use plenty of base and powder. Blemishes can be removed digitally but a glamourous even skin tone is sometimes hard to reproduce that way. Reducing glare is a good idea as well.
The intensity of your makeup is a choice that reflects the type of character you wish to audition for. A glamorous leading lady or sexy character type might wear more makeup than the ingenue or mature character. However, be cautious on the colors you choose. Blush and eyeshadow should enhance the natural contours of your face. Lipstick that is a deep red or brown tone can appear black in a black and white headshot. You donít want that even if you are auditioning to play a vampire. Lipstick that is too light or frosty can make you look like a ghost. Choose a midtone lipstick color.
Makeup for Men:
How much beard growth you have is also a reflection of the type of character you are trying to portray. A full beard, or stubble can be interesting or just sloppy looking. It's up to you.
As part of your photoshoot, I may apply some powder to reduce shine or some natual looking brow gel or mascara . . . unless you start screaming, that is. Come as you are.
Makeup for children:
Children do not require much makeup. Little girls may wear a small amount of makeup in natural shades.
And most importantly don't get uptight or worried. This is time all about you and you should relax and enjoy it. Trust me. I'll make you look great.
Copyright 2006, Kevin McClellan