412-370-4520 jen@jenworley.com

I’m not a big makeup person.  Should I have someone do my makeup before my Headshot Photo shoot?

You would think that having makeup done is always a good thing.  After all, on HD TV video productions it’s essential.

Photo-photography is a little different.  Because we are capturing a point in time, and not continual movement.   

The goal of a great headshot photo is to have a good photo that looks like you.  “Authentic” is the catch-word of the decade.  A photo that feels “real” when a person is looking at your profile.  What is “real”? 

I find that there are two distinct and opposite groups of women when it comes to daily makeup, and the “middle ground” between the two is fast disappearing in our modern age. 

The first group is women who have a detailed process of making-over their face every day.  Foundation, concealer, possibly contouring, eyebrow shaping, various eye shadows & liners, mascara & added lashes, and lip liner and stunning lipstick.  I view these women as face-artists, as all of that process is truly an art.  Many women do a beautiful job on their makeup, and would never leave their house without it.

The second group is made of women like me.  Who, somehow, have come to a point in life where makeup is not a part of it.  Whether that comes from having too busy a life, or just being comfortable in your natural skin … I don’t know.  For me it’s both.  Painted skin and eyeshadows and liners and bright lipstick, while I think they look beautiful on other women, I feel like it looks fake on me.  So my daily look is pretty much curled eyelashes with mascara on the uppers only.  

So for those of you women in the second group, if you are coming in for a headshot session that is an authentic you, what should you do?  

Have you ever been to a conference where you’re looking at the presenter’s marketing materials, and it looks nothing like her?   

And not necessarily because the photo is old.  In her headshot photo she has heavy, gorgeous makeup and her hair is blown-out and meticulously styled.   But as you look at her at this conference, her hair is tied back, she has a touch of lip gloss & mascara and is in her “natural skin.”

Would you say her headshot is authentic, if it’s not the way she would appear in front of an audience?


We have two examples of Morgan.  When she came in for the first time (the picture with the red shirt), she had a friend do her makeup.  It looked good.  But Morgan expressed concern because she wasn’t used to wearing foundation and that much makeup, and it didn’t quite feel like “her.” So a week later, we re-shot it.  And she did her every-day makeup.  No foundation, no brow filler.

Both are beautiful pictures of her.  And people will have differing opinions as far as which one is “better.”  But if you are one of the women in our “second group”, what do you think?   Do you feel it is necessary to have your makeup done by a third party?  Or do you prefer to have your natural beauty show, and have a photo that reflects the best “you”?

When may you want to have someone do your makeup for a photo session?  These would be for high-fashion stylized shoots, where the goal is not to look “real.”  Or maybe for your wedding, where it’s also usually desired to look different than your everyday best. 

But what if you’re a person who likes to wear makeup, and wants some help for the best look for their photo shoot?   Then I’d suggest a makeup artist.  

Whatever you choose, we’ll have a great time during your session.  And we’ll get a photo that reflects your brand and how you want to market yourself. 

jen worley Pittsburgh Photographer

Jen Barker Worley Photography
555 Grant Street, Suite 337 Offices at the William Penn Pittsburgh, PA 15219


Are you looking for a Passport photographer near me?  I am a Pittsburgh passport photographer and I am happy to take your passport or PR photo.