This one is especially common with actors starting out – they put on way too much makeup for their headshot session. This has a tendency to make your headshot look more like a glamour or fashion portrait than it does a headshot. While it may look absolutely beautiful on you, like it does here on the lovely Alex, this is not what casting directors want to see.
As you can see in the second image, some makeup is fine. Use it to define your eyes and separate lip color from skin color, but do it sparingly. A casting director wants to see what you look like. You can use some makeup – as a matter of fact, its recommended – to cover blemishes and lightly enhance features, but you do not want to look like you’re ready to go out for a night on the town. Then, on top of it, unless they request otherwise, you’ll want to show up for the audition with the same basic makeup you had in your headshot that got you the call.
Remember – a headshot is not for you, its for your casting director. They want to see what you look like and they are not interested in your makeup skills.
A special thank you goes out to Alex and all the actors who helped with this blog project. They were great sports in letting me purposely photograph them badly.