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  • Writer's picturebonniejheath

Tips from a Professional Hair and Makeup Artist

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

For the past few years, I have been collaborating with a talented hair and makeup artist, Serena Jenkins. I've noticed that working with a professional HMUA has an extra benefit that doesn't relate to the finished photos. Having pro hair and makeup helps my clients relax before their session. Serena is has been a stylist for 11 years. Her calm and supportive demeanor helps everyone enjoy what can sometimes be a tense experience.

This week, I asked her some questions on preparing your hair and skin for styling and photos.

1. What are some of the best ways to prepare your hair and skin for a photo session?

In preparation for your photos, it’s always best to have your hair one day “dirty” with a little natural oil for pliability and styling. Don't worry about washing your hair the morning of your session. Also, don’t feel like you need to have it “tamed.” That’s what I’m here for! As for your skin, keep it as clean as possible. The cleaner the skin, the easier it is for me to start in a timely manner to create your desired look. Pro Tip: it never hurts to exfoliate or apply a hydrating mask the night before your photo session for a smoother and brighter canvas.

2. What is the best way to communicate with your HMUA about your preferences for hair and makeup?

The best way to let me know about your priorities for styling is to send a few inspiration photos. Send some notes with the photos too. Be as specific as you’d like. Love the hair in one photo, but like the makeup in another one? Let me know! If you used some keywords while searching, like “subtle makeup looks” or “loose wave hairstyles.” Send me the keywords too.

3. How can hair and makeup vary from different types of sessions, such as glamour/boudoir vs. a headshot?

With glamour and boudoir photos it’s a good way to step outside of your comfort zone to see yourself in a different light. Your hair may be a bit more voluminous than you normally wear and your makeup a bit heavier. With headshots, you want to present yourself in a way that your future employer would want to see you for an interview. 

4. Do men need professional hair and make up for photos, too?

Guys... but don’t be afraid to ask for hair and makeup! You’re still going to look and feel like yourself, just a bit more styled. If you have blemishes or other skin issues, it’s a great way to get those professionally covered so that you feel more confident while getting your photo taken.

5. Any other tips you'd like to give our clients who are coming to the studio for a session?

Never hesitate to ask as many questions before or during your session. I know it can be nerve-racking to put your trust in a complete stranger. I'm here to create a look you are going to love. And I want you to be as relaxed and assured as possible through the process. It’s all a part of the experience of having a professional photo session. We want you to have fun!

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Bonnie Heath, photographer, Atlanta


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