I’ve written here on Photofocus I’m a huge proponent of professional makeup for photographs of women whether they are high fashion, an actor’s headshot or an executive portrait. This is true for men too. Recently it was time to get a new headshot made. I sat in the chair of makeup artist Amy George before I stood in front of the lens of photographer Theresa Sicurezza.

Amy George applies Kevin's makeup.
Amy George applies Kevin’s makeup.

Before & After

I’d asked Theresa to shoot some portraits of me without makeup and then with it. I explained that I wanted the same lighting for both photos so that the only difference would be Amy’s makeup.

Makeup makes the skin less tonally efficient–big words that mean shiny. The hotspots from the feathered medium soft box are almost gone in the version with makeup. It also helps minimize color differences. As skin ages, it develops spots and sometimes redness in some areas. On my before photograph on the left, there is a red line under my right eye and on the bridge of my nose. Makeup covers these distractions. Concealer, a lighter flesh colored cosmetic, is applied under my eyes to reduce the dark circles. Amy smoothed the texture of my skin. Her work makes retouching a whole lot easier and faster too.

During the Shoot

Amy stood while I was photographed. She would review the progress on the monitor as Theresa shot tethered to the computer. Periodically she would step in to make a small touch up.


Makeup helps no matter what age the subject might be. On men, the makeup brush is, for the most part, a new experience. The soft brush applying cosmetic feels amazing as it plays over the face. It’s very relaxing. Makeup helps the subject transition from the hectic day to day into the relaxed atmosphere of the studio. In addition to forming the foundation of a great look for my clients, it relaxes them for the shoot. Portrait sessions work a lot better when the subject is calm and comfortable. Below are some of my portraits of men wearing makeup. As you see, age doesn’t matter.

A Last Word…

Kevin is a commercial photographer from Atlanta. He works for fashion, architectural, manufacturing and corporate clients. When he’s not shooting, he contributes to Photoshop User magazine & writes for Photofocus.com.