28 Feb / Professional Headshots: Makeup or Retouching?

professional headshots makeup or retouching


Professional headshots have helped countless Bay Area businesspeople and brands reach new levels of success. Something as simple as a photo can speak volumes about you and your company, so you want to make sure to send the right message. Your wardrobe choice, body position, and facial expression go a long way in communicating a message in any photo, but makeup and digital retouching are particularly important in headshots.  Both of these tools can help accentuate your finest features and ensure that your audience sees you in exactly the way you intend, so which is the better choice?

Digitally Retouching your Professional Headshots

These days, the most popular option for professionals who seek headshots is to have their photos digitally retouched.  There are many reasons for this, but these principal benefits highlight the value of the digital option.

  • It Saves Time- Digital retouching takes no time off your hands. You simply arrive for your shoot and the photographer will make you look Photoshop fabulous once your professional headshot session is complete.
  • It Saves Money- Enlisting the services of a makeup artist for you or your staff can get pricey, while digital retouching is included in your package for at least one image per person.
  • It Prevents Stress- Some people experience anxiety during their headshots.  This stems from self-consciousness about one’s looks and is totally normal considering most people aren’t used to being the center of attention! Retouching lifts this weight off your shoulders, as it allows for more control over how you appear and the ability to change the things you might not like.
  • It’s Just as Good, if not Better than Makeup- Modern technology makes digital retouching completely indistinguishable from makeup, and it’s so precise that it rivals the work of pro makeup artists.

Digital retouching is the most popular option for professional headshots today, so if you’re interested in a classic personal or corporate package, it’s the way to go.

The Case for Makeup

Digital retouching is the best option for traditional packages, which typically include from 1-4 retouched images, but if you’d like to purchase a large variety of shots, you might want to go the makeup route. Digital retouching is quick for the customer, but it takes the photographer about 30 minutes per image in the studio. As a result, the more images you would like retouched, the more you’re likely to spend.  At a certain point, it will make more sense economically to wear makeup.

If you’re someone who needs a lot of shots, like a model or an actor, you might want to come makeup ready. Hiring a professional makeup artist is highly recommended for something as important as your headshots. There are a number of qualified makeup artists in the Bay Area who know exactly how to apply makeup for professional photo shoots.

If you decide to do your makeup yourself, remember not to go overboard. Your makeup should cover your blemishes and make you look natural. Anything more than that will overpower your face.


Ready for your professional headshots? Schedule a consultation today.


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810 Gonzalez Drive, Suite 4F
San Francisco, CA 94132

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