Doing headshot makeup can be the bread and butter of a makeup artist's career. But it's also the trickiest part of makeup, since you now find yourself dealing with light and dark, and not color when working on your client's face. So how do you make sure that your makeup doesn't show up too dark, if at all in your pictures?

When doing makeup for a black and white portrait, the easiest mistake to do is pack on way too much foundation. The best part of black and white film is that it literally makes your skin look good for you. So just apply your foundation and concealer as you normally would if you were going out.
Another important trick is to make sure that all red tones in the skin are covered. Red can show up as gray in a black and white picture, making your skin look splotchy, so make sure you use that yellow concealer before your foundation to effectively hide any redness. This is also the case with men too. If your male client is sceptical on doing makeup for his headshot, this bit of information is enough to get them to change their mind. It also helps keep the cost down in retouching as well.

Want that dramatic cheekbone look? That look is achieved in the lighting. Just make sure to ask for "dramatic" or "hard" light. By placing the light source on the side of the face, you get dramatic shadows on the other side, and fantastic cheekbones.

Colors in makeup for black and white have a few guidelines to go by. Any makeup colors that have a blue, red or purple shade or undertone to it will always look darker in the picture than you thought. So if you're going for a dramatic look, try that burgundy lipstick for a dark lip. Also, black eyeshadow really doesn't show up black. It can come out dark gray in a picture. So if you want emphasize black smoky eyes, you'll really have to put it on.

If you want a softer look, all colors with a warm shade or undertone, in yellow or orange, will look lighter than you think in will in a black and white picture. So apply it with a bit heavier hand, and it will come out just about right in the end.

As far as application, focus and play up the lips and the eyeliner. Keep a light hand on the blush, and the 5 colors of eyeshadow. It really won't show. Focus on the bone structure or highlights and shadows of the face and play it up. The crease of the eye, and contour of the cheekbone, the jawbone. This technique really plays up the face and makes the bone structure look more balanced.

Keep a lot of loose powder on hand to touch up and play down any shine, especially on the T-zone.

As a professional makeup artist, be sure to bring along a couple of black and white tear sheets from the magazines to help demosntrate what kind of a look your client might like. Remember, this is black and white, and saying you'll use a pink lipstick makes it hard for your client to interpret exactly what kind of a look you're doing.

Still not sure of the final results? You can always ask to see a black and white Polaroid from the photographer before you actually start shooting film. Just note that poloroids look softer then the film will.

by Elke Von Freudenberg