Professional portraits and headshots are the best way to help present your brand on business cards, websites, social media, e-mail cards, and marketing pieces. They provide the human connection to your brand and are the nexus between product and relationship that directly reflect your company's professionalism and quality of its work. Potential clients will judge your professional portrait. So it's essential to spend some time thinking about how your portrait fits in with the corporate brand, "The Look" you want to achieve, and thoughts about hair and makeup.


In the following tips, I will outline the basic dos and don'ts of hair and makeup. But before we get into all that, I want to outline the two biggest failures with professional portraits, not considering the bigger picture and radical differences in reality.


Tip 1: Consider The Bigger Picture


First and foremost, think about your brand's positioning. "The look" of your portrait should be consistent with how your target audience considers your overall brand. For example, are your target customers liberal, conservative, or both? Is your company a high-tech blue jeans and flannel shirt culture or a Wall Street blue suit and red tie culture? If potential customers attach monetary trust with conservative attire, you may not want to present a folksy, down-home look. On-the-other hand, if your potential client base is conservative and liberal, you may want to consider two distinct looks.


Tip 2: No Radical Differences In Reality


Back in the 80s, yes, I remember them well; you may recall that many client-facing business professionals fell prey to the idea that they had to look somehow more glamorous than reality. Do you remember glamor shots with the puffy hair and feather boa? Well, believe it or not, many well-meaning professionals thought that this type of image would best present themselves in a business brand. The sad truth is that a potential client would come to an appointment with that visual image in mind only to be introduced to a somewhat less glamourous version.


Here is a ten-dollar psychology term, cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.


So, what is cognitive dissonance when it comes to marketing? In marketing, it relates to a consumers' expectations, feelings about brands, and internal logic when deciding to buy something. In other words, a potential client develops a set of criteria about whether to purchase something and when reality doesn't match those preconceived criteria, conflict occurs with the client's purchase decision process. Having an unrealistic image of yourself as part of your brand can set off a cascading set of relationship defeating thoughts on the part of your client.


Stay true to yourself in your executive portrait. Look your absolute best but don't fall into the trap of using filters to take 20 years off your face. The client will see through that facade the moment you meet. Besides which, you've earned those lines. Keep your makeup simple and have your hair professionally styled.


Tip 3: Keep Your Makeup Simple


For women, you want to choose makeup close to your daylight makeup. We fix any imperfections in the final enhancement of your image. So, applying makeup to hide a blemish only makes the process more difficult. Below are some guidelines to follow:

1.    Please stay away from powder because it photographs flat and textured.

2.    Beware of heavy under-eye liner because it can make you look older when photographed with studio lights. If you apply liner, keep it light.

3.    Non-reflective, neutral-colored eyeshadows look best for professional portraits.

4.    Shinny makeup can reflect studio lighting in an unflattering way. This includes a bronzer, eye shadow, lipstick/gloss that is reflective.

Hiring a professional makeup artist is ideal. However, be sure that they know that you will be photographed under studio lighting indoors.


For men, I do not recommend any makeup. We can fix blemishes in the final enhancement of your image. So, fear not, we will provide you with an excellent portrait.


Tip 4: Have Your Hair Professionally Styled


For women, have your hair styled the same as meeting a client or making a presentation. Use a stylist that knows you, knows your hairstyle, and will listen to you. I have had clients come to the studio after using a new stylist and were disappointed with the cut, making the session less than optimal.


For men, the suggestions are the same with one additional. Wait to have your portrait made until a few days after your haircut. Barbers generally cut men's hair a little short to allow some time to grow. If you have a beard or mustache and plan to keep it for some time in the future, make sure it is well-styled and trimmed. Do not wear reflective gels or wax if at all possible.

If you have any questions, please contact us directly.