How the right make-up & hairstyle make your photos authentic

Tip 11 for Better Shoots by Heidi Rondak

“Think about the images’ effects you want to cause on the viewer”

PART 7: How the right make-up & hairstyle make your photos authentic

By now, you might have a vague vision of your future photo campaign already, as you’ve learned how to apply styling in the last tip article and how indoor and outdoor locations appeal to enhance your message, etc. Another very important aspect is the application of the right make-up and hairstyle. This is able to render your photos to appeal the most efficiently authentic to your audience. In this article, we’re going to have a look at how important the right make-up and hairstyle are regarding four aspects: the actual concept, your customers’ lifestyle, current trends, and the model’s type.

How to define the perfect make-up and hairstyle for your model:

Aspect No. …

… 1. Which make-up & hair is realistic to your story and concept?

In order to find out what hairstyles and make-up looks may be coherent, it’s recommended to do some research on the topic that your story is treating. Regarding the make-up and hair, there will be obvious differences between e.g. staging a Hippie-inspired shoot, composing an elegant and lascivious perfume advertisement, or a young and fresh natural skincare cream campaign. Starting from that point of view and going a little deeper into the matter, slight differences in the details become visible as well. E.g. upswept hairstyles can be sleek or messy, curls can be cheeky or noble and there are still many different natural make-up looks, like matt or glowy, contoured, or plain. Browsing the internet to find the right variation will help you get a clear vision of what’s the best choice for your own story because you will find out what usually is a fit for that situation or scene you chose to shoot. Knowing that you might want to go for exactly that style or rather break the rules and choose a complete opposite or exaggeration for your pictures to stand out more. Don’t forget that shoots with male models require grooming as well. You should additionally bother yourself about his beard because its degree of neatness sometimes decides the quality of your images.

… 2. Which hair & make-up styles are usually around your planned-to-be customers?

As already mentioned in tip article no. 1, knowing your target group is key because it limits the range of possible lifestyle topics that you can use for your photos. Looking at those people and situations more closely, the procedure is similar like in aspect no. 1: browsing the internet and social media for your customers’ habits, interests, and life goals helps you collect and visualise a dream version of them, which you can project onto the model in your shoot. Regarding the hair & make-up style, that means that you just need to apply the ones that they would wear, but in a better way. That’s how you make sure that you speak their visual language. They will rate you as authentic and desire your products! The conclusions of aspect no. 1 and 2 combined should normally resemble, because the creation of your storyboard may be based on target group research as well. If there are still too many possible looks left at choice, the next two aspects might help you narrow them down and decide which one to realise.

… 3. To which degree do you need to follow current trends?

“Fashions fade, style is eternal” – Yves Saint Laurent

We know that your label has it’s own characteristics and style – which is a good thing. But brands evolve and grow with the zeitgeist, just like people do. In matters of style, this means that brands add elements from trends to their own style in order to stay modern and experience what’s well-received by the audience. Sometimes they even predict those trends and set them, which eventually leads the campaign to great success. You sure have adopted one or two trendy elements to be in your collection. Why not have a look at hair & make-up trends that could be a fit as well? Sometimes it’s just a detail that makes a hairstyle perfectly modern, for example nowadays, it’s imperfections, like irregular hairs breaking the structure. Making use of these trends doesn’t mean you have to kill your darlings and replace them. You can combine and refine your concept to be exactly your style in the most modern way. This shows that you belong on the market and it creates trust. The customer entrusts you to be his or her fashion or beauty advisor and you prove that your products are worthy to buy. 

… 4. Does the planned make-up & hair require adjustments due to the model’s facial anatomy and type?

Last but not least you never know if the hair or make-up style of your choice is really working on the model. Sometimes, anatomy decides which make-up looks are great or bad on people’s faces, and other times, the individual hair structure limits the hairstyling possibilities. You can lower that risk of needing to change plans during the shoot by casting the model very carefully according to your plans, or by adjusting the concept as soon as the model is booked. If it happens that you get surprised on the shooting day, it’s best to not panic or offend the model for looking different than expected. For example, if she has another hair cut than on her sedcard, you are allowed to complain about that at the model’s agency later. But for that very moment, your make-up artist/hairstylist will sure offer you ideas and solutions, as he or she’s an expert on the field of human heads (and skin). A properly briefed artist is able to create looks that work on the model and still fit your concept well. Following his or her advice will definitely make you feel happier about the results than sticking to your original idea even though it wouldn’t look well on the model.

We are almost through all tips on how to reach the right effects on your customers. In my next article, I’m going to treat props as stylistic devices and how they impact on your photos. After that, we are moving on to light and its importance. This way you will be able to judge which kind of light is underlining your fashion and the story that you’re telling through your campaign. So keep on reading and enjoy (;


If you enjoyed reading this article, or you found it helpful in one way or the other, I would love to know (reach out)! You are also welcome to support my work and writing by donating whichever amount this is worth to you. I will thank you with lots of telepathic love and more interesting journal entries. Cheers!


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