One of the biggest decisions you need to make when booking your headshot session is whether to use a makeup and hair artist (an MUHA!). Every time someone – man or woman – asks me whether they need one or not, I respond with the same answer:
“You don’t need one, but you’ll love having one.”
I should preface this by saying that I have no vested interest in your choice, as the added fee goes directly to the artist. However, I’ve never had anyone regret the choice to hire an MUHA for their headshot session. With the exception of male actors and celebrities, women are the ones that often appreciate and benefit from the service, but almost everyone will find it a great add, and here’s why:
First, the MUHA’s that I use for my studio headshots here in Seattle are the absolute best in town. While I’m a huge supporter of natural beauty, for better or worse, I think most of us have things we’d choose and not choose to have emphasized in our headshots. In addition, the quality and sharpness of my digital files catch the tiniest details – good or bad. While a lot can be done in Photoshop to even skin tones, reduce redness and blemishes and more, your photos will always look their best when the heavy lifting is done in-camera, before retouching.
That said, the key to great headshot makeup is subtlety. A great headshot MUHA knows how to apply the perfect foundation for your complexion and tone, and then use simple, natural shading to highlight your best features. In many ways, the best headshot makeup job is the one you can barely see. Whether you’re an actor or an Amazon employee, you want to look like you in your headshot, not an exaggeration of you!
Second, not only have my MUHA’s been through extensive professional training, they also have tried nearly every product under the sun and settled on the best. They’ve worked on a huge range of people in everything from commercial video and still photography productions, to weddings and natural light photo sessions, so even if you’re confident in your skills, the quality of the products and a deep bag of tricks from years of experience are a huge asset for your headshot session.
Another big reason of course, is hair. You don’t need anything fancy for your headshot and I actually recommend against any major cuts or new styles within a few weeks of your
session. However, having your hair freshly done on set, with great volume and shine, is a huge weight off your shoulders–especially if you’re too busy prior to your headshot session to give it proper attention, or get caught in the rain on your way to the studio. But that never happens in Seattle, right…?
Also, as the opening image indicates, my MUHA’s stick around for at least the first 30 minutes (you can also buy extra time), offering styling advice, and an unwavering eye to ensure your hair, makeup and wardrobe are touched up and perfect as we start shooting. As I mentioned, the camera shows things you’ll miss in a mirror and, as a team, we all huddle around the computer as we begin to shoot, making sure you look as great as possible. My go-to MUHA, Katya Gudaeva, is not only a fabulous MUHA and one of the sweetest people in town, but she’s also spent a lot of time on set as a model, and having her around helps everything flow that much easier.
And finally, what I think is the biggest, and most unanticipated benefit to having an MUHA for your headshot session, is the feeling of being pampered and confident. I’ve had some clients say that starting their session with Katya was like starting with a spa treatment and, when you feel your best, you’ll look your best. It’s that simple.
If you still don’t want an MUHA with your headshot session – that’s totally fine.
I would say that my sessions are about 50/50, with and without. However, if it’s within your budget, it’s pretty hard to find a reason not to!
Got questions or comments? Let’s hear them!