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As a professional Hair & Makeup artist I am often asked by my clients to provide direction for on-camera subjects. People want to know whether they should come with makeup or no makeup, and how they should do their hair before a shoot. I have written this article as a guideline for photographers, directors and producers to pass along to their on-camera talent, as well as for those who need to prepare themselves to be in front of the camera.

HAIR: (Men & Women) It is usually best to arrive with your hair ready and done as you normally would style it. Avoid products that are overly greasy, oily, or the use of excessive gel (it's easier to add product in than to take it out). If you are not very savvy with your hair and think you need help from the stylist, please come with clean, dry hair. If your hair is very long, you can wash it the day before if it tends to be very slippery when freshly washed.

MEN: Necks, eyebrows and nose hairs look good when they are trimmed. Nothing can be more distracting than a little inappropriate fuzz. Sometimes the camera will come from behind your head and we will really see the back of your neck, so you want to make sure it is nice and cleaned up.

MAKEUP: (Women) If you want to come with your own makeup on (unless instructed otherwise), there are a few guidelines you can follow to make the stylists job a lot easier, and to make sure you look your best on camera.

1) No Shimmer or Glitter makeup. This can appear as missing pixels in digital photography, or just make you look shiny and sweaty through any camera lens. Also, if the makeup artist needs to remove it for you, it is very time consuming and almost impossible to completely remove. This eats up valuable and expensive production time, which you don’t want to be responsible for.

2) No Black or liquid eyeliner. Especially avoid this on the inner rims of your eyes, but really anywhere. Not only will it make your eyes appear smaller and un-photogenic, it is also very difficult and time consuming to remove.

3) No clumpy mascara. There are ways to create thick, beautiful lashes without spidery clumps. A favorite of professional makeup artists is the very inexpensive Maybelline Great Lash (available at most drug stores for about $4).

4) Please tweeze. If you tweeze your eyebrows, please do so before the shoot. This tip is more meant for extras and background people than principal actors, or the only subject at a photo shoot. Extras and background talent may get very little (if any) time with the makeup artist. A little bit of grooming goes a long way, and having a cleaned up, well arched eyebrow can do wonders for the face.

5) Avoid Loose Mineral Powder Foundations – The latest craze in makeup is the loose powder mineral foundations. While I love some of the products out there, especially the all natural ones, most of the loose mineral powders are highly reflective and do not read well on camera. They can make you appear shiny, and though they may look fine in real life, under the lights a matte or regular liquid foundation or pressed powder will read much better.

In general, if you are going to appear on camera and are not sure if or how you should do your makeup, stick with a lighter application and soft, blended lines and shadows. These are the most flattering. If a professional stylist is available they will also check you your makeup under the lighting on the set, and adjust it accordingly to make you look your best!

© 2008 Mimi Pettibone/Stellar Style, all rights reserved

Mimi Pettibone: Hair & Makeup Stylist. © Stellar Style 2008. All rights reserved