Makeup and Hair Tips for Professional Portraits | Best Face Forward

How to look your best for any Photo Session

Advice and tips from Kara Reade Gomez of Best Face Forward - Skin, Makeup, Hair

Lead makeup artist Kara Reade Gomez shares her secrets for makeup & hair!

Lead makeup artist Kara Reade Gomez shares her secrets for makeup & hair!

I have had the pleasure of working with Kara since 2016 and cannot recommend her enough. She has an upbeat personality and will make you look your absolute best -- not to mention, she is super fast at responding, dedicated to her craft and balances motherhood and a rockstar career with such grace! My clients love her and I know that you will, too! 

1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you get started and what inspires your work?

I actually have a bit of a unique story! My parents started an international marketing company
before I was born , and one of the partnerships was a global beauty brand. My mom dove into
that area of their business out of her own personal interest and so as I was growing up, I saw
my mom teaching people about skin care and makeup all the time. Our house was the house
where all my friends learned how to wash their face.

It wasn’t until I was engaged and planning my own wedding, that I started realizing there was a
major unanswered need in the beauty market for girls like me. I had a hard time finding experts
that could not only provide our service, but educate, and basically make the process of prepping myself and my party stress free. After expressing my frustration with not being able to find a full-service, educated team, my wedding photographer encouraged me to “just do it” myself. I thought he was crazy, but the more I thought about it, I decided randomly (which is funny because I’m not normally random at all!) to give it a go and see where things could go.

Six years later… 32 girls, 3 markets and hundreds of weddings and clients later, here we are!
Ever since the beginning, I’ve been inspired by 2 things. The success of my parents in business - I strive to continue that legacy for our family because I was taught by the best entrepreneurs! My other inspiration is actually my very own wedding experience. I feel like every client deserves a stress-free experience so they can feel confident and relaxed. It sets the tone for their event. I know that when I see a smiling client in their photos, I had a part in that, and that is awesome!

2.) Why is professional hair & makeup so important for a photography session?

Professional Headshot Makeup for one of our clients by Kara of Best Face Forward. 

Professional Headshot Makeup for one of our clients by Kara of Best Face Forward. 

Makeup and hair is important for a photography session because most people are not educated about the best products and looks for them. People tend to get into a rut, and usually professionals in the working world are on the go… and likely foregoing much makeup and hair prep time each morning. So, professional preparation can make or break your headshot and ensure you stand out as the most polished and friendly. A few key things that hair and makeup artists can do: even out skin tone, reduce shine, tame flyaways, use complimentary colors
that make your features pop, and give you confidence!! In the end, having photos taken can be stressful and anxiety- inducing for many people and bring properly prepped can reduce your stress, which can make you more relaxed in front of the camera. That translates through your photo and makes you look confident and relatable!

3.) What are your top tips for DIY hair & makeup at home?

My 2 ultimate tips actually would be two things that help ANY makeup application: drink lots of water and get great sleep before your session!

You will look refreshed with more supple skin if you do! In regards to makeup and hair at home or every day, they would include finding a great nude lip color, a mascara that really emphasizes lashes so you look awake, and a great hair shine spray! They can help someone look just a bit more put together without much effort!!

Kara of Best Face Forward doing makeup for a client in my studio! 

Kara of Best Face Forward doing makeup for a client in my studio! 

4.) What about hair and grooming for men? I have many male clients who are hesitant to add this option to their headshots package.

Oh yes!!! I can’t say this enough!!! Men have skin that in many cases, ages worse than women!! Men are not taught or encouraged to have a routine. Ugh!! It can be totally basic but you NEED to use more than just soap and water!! Because of the lack of regimen of any products that can repair and/or protect the skin, males tend to have fine lines, rough skin,and usually razor burn! Grooming for any photoshoot can help take care of that so it isn’t apparent in photos! Men can literally look 10-15 years younger with a quick grooming session in advance! The difference is really pretty surprising!

Best Face Forward also specializes in Senior Portrait photography makeup and I loved working with Kara to create these images for my clients!

Best Face Forward also specializes in Senior Portrait photography makeup and I loved working with Kara to create these images for my clients!

5.) Can you recommend some brands our headshot clients can experiment with prior to their

Some great go-to quick and accessible brands I love are E.L.F. and Real Techniques for proper makeup brushes. They are user-friendly because they are LABELED so you know what to use them for!!! As for treating chapped or dry lips - because most people have them- use Carmex, which can be found at a drugstore!! If you feel like experimenting with lashes and getting girlie, you can find Ardell 110s (that’s the brand and “model” #) at a drugstore and then go to their website for a quick tutorial on how to apply. And the last brand I love that is easy to integrate for the everyday user is NYX- they have my fave liquid lip color that can stay all day and in lots of colors from nudes to berry tints! Once the client comes to their session, I can help them with more personalized recommendations for skin care, and proper foundations and concealers!


Thank you, Kara, for taking the time to educate past, present and future Laurentina Photography clients about why professional hair and makeup is SO important for every photo session! You can learn more about Kara here on her social media accounts below: 




Wedding Wire


Loudoun County Photographer | Snow Day Portraits at Algonkian Regional Park

Snow in March?

Golden Hour Portraits at Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, VA

As a photographer who has worked in this area for many years, I have come to accept the fact that the weather in Northern Virginia is more than unpredictable! Summer, winter, summer, winter, spring? The warm sun could be shining on your face on a mild "winter" day in February, or gale force winds could be blowing at you on an "almost spring" evening in March!

This week, the Northeast finally experienced our first "significant" snowfall of the season, aptly named Winter Storm Stella. Unlike the blizzards of previous years, Stella brought Fairfax and Loudoun Country residents 3-5 inches of snow. Schools and businesses were closed, and many of us were able to work from home (or in my case, #adult less). 

To celebrate the season's first (and only?) snowfall, my fellow photographer friend Brooke and I planned an impromptu photo shoot in the snow. We went to Algonkian Regional Park (one of my favorite locations for portraits, by the way) to seek the golden hour light and photograph our friends enjoying the snow day! Here are some of my favorites:


We had some cloud coverage, but eventually the sun decided to pop out and give the landscape some color after a stormy day...

Many thanks to the models (Viji, Tanvi, Trisha, Clint, Megan and Glor) who came out to brave the cold and pose for us! You are all rockstars and I love you all for embracing the elements and celebrating the beauty of photography as an "all weather art form"! 

#PROTIP: It is okay to be silly sometimes... actually... always! 

For more information on Lifestyle Portraits for families, engaged couples and ladies who rock, please check out our Portraits Gallery on the website!