Categories for Photo tips
February 25, 2019
After a headshot shoot, when the makeup artist is just out of earshot, we’ve often had clients frantically whisper to us, “psst! Do I tip the makeup artist?!” Whether or not to tip your makeup artist is a complicated question. And it should start with what kind of makeup artist you’re dealing with.
Wedding makeup artists: YES
If any makeup artist is tipped, it’s most commonly the wedding makeup artist. Some estimates are that about 80-90% of wedding vendors in general (including makeup artists and hair stylists) expect a tip. This is because a wedding is a luxury event, and all the vendors involved are supplying a customized, luxury service. For a wedding, a makeup artist usually travels to your location, provides a consultation and communicates back and forth on ideas for the look you’d like before the event, and even purchases supplies and makeup specifically for your application.
Counter makeup artists: NO
Don’t freak out if you just realized you’ve never tipped the makeup artist at Sephora or Nordstrom for the time they spent teaching you how to contour. It’s generally considered not necessary to tip a counter makeup artist, and some stores even prohibit it. These makeup artists are actually salespeople with makeup skills and sometimes training, but their end goal at the counter is to sell you a product. Never go to a makeup counter for a makeup application for a photo shoot. These makeup artists are unlikely to have the skill or inclination to apply custom makeup for your needs, and the products are not likely to be specially made for photography. And again, their main objective is to test products on your face in order to sell them to you, which is great for when you’re sampling products you’d like to buy for yourself. But don’t think you’re cheating the system by having a salesperson at a makeup counter do your makeup for free for your photoshoot. Every time someone has come to our studio after doing this, they always end up unhappy with their look. We’ve had to start stocking makeup removing cloths in the studio so clients can remove their counter-applied makeup before their session.
Makeup artists for headshots/portraiture/commercial shoots: MAYBE
If tipping a wedding makeup artist was a reasonably solid “yes,” and tipping a counter makeup artist was a pretty solid “no,” then tipping a makeup artist for your headshot or portrait session is a definite “maybe.” For hair salons, a rule of thumb some people subscribe to is that you tip the stylists who work for the salon, but not the salon owner. Some people extend this idea to makeup artists: tip the makeup artists who are booked through a salon or agency because they do not keep the whole fee, but do not tip freelance artists because they keep all of their fee. But this isn’t a reliable measure since freelance artists are self-employed small business owners who have expenses an employee would not, such as insurance, marketing costs, travel costs, licensing, and materials. Some makeup artists can spend anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 a year on the makeup and brushes in their kit and the sterile disposable items they go through. Since there is no industry standard “yes” or “no” for tipping with these kinds of makeup artists, then both freelance and agency artists usually have their fee structured in a way that they’re not relying on a tip to complete their fee, so a tip isn’t necessary. But some people are more comfortable tipping anyone in the beauty/service industry, and if you’re one of these people, then feel free to tip your makeup artist. They won’t turn it down and they’ll definitely be appreciative of it, while not expecting it. A good rule of thumb on tipping makeup artists in this category is: “never expected, always appreciated.”
If you don’t want to tip your makeup artist at a headshot session, here are some kind things you can do for them that they would definitely appreciate even more than a tip:
- Come ready for them. Follow their instructions to prepare for your session, which usually involves coming with a clean, makeup-free face.
- Communicate with them. Be honest about what you want and don’t want before they start the application, then trust them while they apply makeup, then give them honest feedback afterward so they can make changes before you get in front of the camera. If you’re happy with the makeup, speak up and tell them you like it. If you’re unhappy with it, speak up as well, so they have a chance to adjust what they did to your liking.
- Don’t hold a mirror to watch what they do. Again, you must trust them to listen during the consultation and use their skills to apply makeup, without babysitting what they’re doing. A mirror in your hand also gets in their way and slows down the process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and the makeup artist will answer.
- Give them a positive review. If the makeup artist has a listing on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, give them a positive review, or offer to write a testimonial for their website. Follow them on Instagram if they have an account. More follows on social media means good marketing for them.
- Refer the makeup artist to your friends and colleagues, so they can continue their awesome work.
If you’re ready to book a headshot session in our Chicago studio with a makeup artist, do that here!
July 25, 2018
If you’ve taken a look at our headshot tips page, you’ve read a lot of great information on what to wear for your photos and how to prepare for your headshot session. To supplement those tips, here are some visuals to help you see what works for headshots and what doesn’t work, and why.
March 26, 2018
If you are a follower of the American Marketing Association – Chicago Chapter’s blog, you might have read my guest post on perfecting all staff bio photos. I discussed not only why the “meet our team” section of your website can make or break your company’s branding efforts, but also how to create a well-branded look and feel for your headshots. In addition, you’ll find tips on how to run an all staff picture day like clockwork.
Today, I want to take it one step further and discuss how to get your staff excited for picture and tips for making the day… well, less like a root canal.
Ok, so let’s assume you’ve completed the basics, decided on a look and feel for the photos, scheduled your photographer, and sent an all-company evite well in advance with details on the day, time and location. I’m sure after your “PICTURE DAY!” email was opened, you could probably hear some rumblings throughout your office. The most common questions or should I say stress points are:
- What should I wear? What is Susan wearing? I don’t want to be too matchy-matchy.
- My hair looks best in the morning; can I book a timeslot then?
- Will it be a headshot or full body shot? Do I have to wear nice shoes for a headshot?
- Where will these photos be used?
- Will I get to choose my fave? If I can’t choose the photo the company uses I’ll quit.
- Maybe I can call in sick that day.
And the list goes on and on…and understandably so. We all have that one memory from school picture day, family portrait sessions, prom photos, etc., that have scarred us for life. However, our goal is to block out bad picture day memories with an experience that will make our staffers want to update their headshot every year. Now, let’s get into the “it doesn’t have to suck” picture day tips.
First things, first…send out all company communications that clearly communicates ideas for what to wear and also, what not to wear! The wardrobe should be in alignment with the decided upon look and feel. You could even create a Pinterest board or mood board with color and outfit ideas, such as how to create a layered look with neutrals and an accent color. Make sure everyone knows that these aren’t simple I.D. badge photos so they can put together a professional-looking outfit.
Let Them Choose Timeslots
Set up a schedule where everyone can sign up for their own timeslot for their headshot. Some people know their hair looks best in the morning and will want to get in early, while others might want to get a blow out on their lunch hour for perfect hair in the afternoon.
Ok, I know this an obvious one, but a snack and drink setup close to the shoot location is always a good idea. Everyone loves free food and it tends to lighten any mood. When deciding on food and drink options, stick to clear liquids that won’t stain and snacks that won’t get in your staffers’ teeth. Make sure toothpicks and floss are available for those who need it!
Photo Shoot Survival Kit
In addition to the free food, create as I like to call it a “Photo Shoot Survival Kit” station. This could simply be a couple tables with the necessities such as blotting paper, individually wrapped combs, hairspray, cotton balls/swabs for touch ups, disposable tooth brushes, floss (as mentioned above), bobby pins, collar stays, safety pins, needle and thread, club soda for stains and of course, mirrors!
You’re investing in a photographer, so why not invest in some professional “make me look good” help. Consider contracting a few makeup artists and hairstylists to provide onsite touch ups. They are experts at de-shining faces, taming fly-away hair and overall confidence boosting help prior to your team going in front of the camera. And turning picture day into “pamper day” never hurt anyone.
Strike a Pose
Quick, look natural…no one ever! Ask your photographer to come up with a few easy poses to instruct staffers to replicate. In addition, have your photog shoot a couple of different looks for each. That way everyone will have different options to choose from. Speaking of options, it’s always a nice gesture to send photo files to your team and let them choose their own fave headshot!
We hope these tips inspire you to create an all staff picture day that is experiential and fun for all. We realize these tips do take more time and effort to plan than just scheduling a simple picture day, but remember you don’t have to plan alone! Consider creating a committee or group to help with the big day.
Check out more info on how Organic Headshots puts together great company headshots here!
October 2, 2017
As headshot photographers we’ve taken photos of thousands of people over the last 12 years, and there’s one common theme we can’t seem to get away from: most people don’t like having their photo taken. They get uncomfortable. They get nervous. Some have even panicked or cried in the studio. Did I mention we photograph adults?
There’s something about having a camera lens pointed at your face that puts just about everyone on edge. There’s even science behind the idea that once we’ve seen even one crappy photo of ourselves we tend to fear the camera and the possibility that whatever that machine produces is going to be a hideous image of ourselves that others will see and judge us on.
Therefore our job as photographers isn’t just to set up lights, backdrops, and push buttons on a camera, it’s now to make someone relaxed enough that they look natural, calm, confident, and at the very least not like they’re having a root canal done in their headshots.
After over a decade of getting people to chill in the studio, these are the most common tips we’ve relied on in order to get our clients to open up and reveal their true selves. And to prove they work, here’s a naked photo of Michelle. There is NO WAY she would have been able to take this photo without these tips.
Don’t pose. Models pose and there’s a reason they make as much money as they do if they’re good at it: it’s hard. Trying to find your “perfect” angle on your own is nearly impossible and just looks forced and stiff. Work with a photographer who helps you look natural in front of the camera and gives you direction while looking through the lens to find the best angles and most natural stances and tilts.
Don’t focus on or try to correct the things you hate about photos of you in the past. We can’t tell you how many people will start bugging their eyes out when we lift our camera because “my eyes get squinty when I smile.” If you try to keep your eyes wide open or tilt your head in exactly the same position that made that one photo of you on vacation in 2005 look so fabulous, it will just look fake and forced and like you’re trying to hold in a fart or something. Again, trust your photographer to help you get a natural look. Tell them the things you didn’t like in past photos so they can look out for them and correct things if they see it pop up, but then relax, act natural, and don’t try to over-engineer your facial expression or pose. Every time we get someone to successfully let everything go (usually by saying that if the photo looks like crap it gets deleted), we get the best photos and they stop looking at those individual features we all have and occasionally hate about our faces.
Remember headshot truth #1: know the purpose of the photo. A professional headshot should show you looking friendly, confident, and approachable. Not that you have really skinny arms. If you get too caught up in trying to look “perfect,” you’ll lose sight of the real reason you need this photo, whether it’s a bio photo for your website to attract new clients, or a LinkedIn profile photo for your job search.
Remember headshot truth #2: no one looks at photos of you the way you look at photos of you. A good headshot should have people thinking “man, he looks friendly,” FULL STOP. Nine times out of ten when someone in our studio has said, “oh man my eye/ear/hair/nostril/mouth/cheek/shoulder/top button of my shirt looks weird, we didn’t see it at all. It’s perfectly understandable to have eagle eyes for our photos: we’ve all seen hundreds of photos of ourselves over our lifetime and as soon as we see even just one where our nose looks weird or our eyes look puffy, it’s the first thing we check to make sure isn’t happening with this new photo. But NO ONE ELSE DOES THIS when they see a photo of you. So just make sure you look happy, confident, and friendly, and as long as your photographer is checking for hair sticking up or anything weird enough on your shirt to be distracting, you’re good.
If you’re still struggling with feeling like you look natural in your photos, pretend to be more confident than you are. Do something before the shoot or during the shoot that gives you fake-it-until-you-make-it confidence. There’s science behind forcing yourself to smile when you’re sad: it actually makes you feel happier. So apply that idea to confidence. Stand up taller. Wear that pair of shoes that makes you feel fancy. Get your nails done or put on cologne even those things aren’t in the photo—you’ll feel more put together and camera ready.
If you’re ready for your closeup, book a headshot session online now!
April 3, 2017
“I see that I can add a hair and makeup artist to my session… I’m not sure. Should I?” This is a question we hear all the time. And our answer is always, “it’s up to you.” Everyone is different, so it’s up to you to decide what would help you look your most photogenic. For some of us that means a makeup artist, for others, retouching, for others none of those, and for still others (or most of us, really), both a makeup artist and retouching.
But since deciding whether or not to add a hair and makeup artist to your session can be tough, here’s a list of situations where someone can benefit from having a hair and makeup artist at their session:
You’re a woman who barely wears makeup or doesn’t wear any makeup at all.
This one might sound counter-intuitve at first, but you read it right. The reason we recommend a makeup artist for women who don’t wear makeup is because our makeup artists specialize in natural-looking makeup for headshots. They listen to how you normally apply your makeup (or how you don’t apply any at all) and create a look that naturally enhances your features without making the makeup itself noticeable. For example, someone looking at your headshot should find themselves thinking, “her eyes look nice,” not, “that’s some great mascara.”
You’re a man or woman who can never get his or her hair to sit the way you want it to for photos.
Having a hair and makeup artist present at your photo session means having a professional to get your hair in exactly the place it should be, and to make sure it stays where it’s intended for each pose.
You tend to have red, blotchy, uneven skin, or rosacea.
A professional makeup artist will be able to use color correcting and matching techniques to apply concealors, correctors, and foundation for a more even-looking skin tone. It’s the most natural way to get your best skin possible for the photos.
You’ve never liked the way your makeup has looked in past photos.
Sometimes the makeup we wear on a regular, daily basis isn’t best formulated for photography. Makeup artists use brands that photograph best under both flash and continuous lighting, and know how to apply it in ways that make sure it shows exactly as they intend.
You would like the extra insurance for a great photo.
We’ve all been tramatized by photos in the past where we looked… well, not our best. Having a professional stylist at your photo session ensures the best possible chances of a great photo. They will use makeup to make sure your skin looks as smooth and even as possible and your best features at the center of attention. Hot tools and styling products will also be on hand to re-curl any fallen curls, smooth frizz from humidity or add volume in dry weather.
If you have any questions about whether or not adding a makeup artist to your headshot session is right for you, feel free to contact us.
You can also book your session online, and add a hair and makeup artist using the online scheduler!