Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

Tips for Conquering the Camera

The following column features tips from guest writer and professional photographer Michelle Kaffko. She has been running her studio Organic Headshots since 2005, taking corporate headshots and executive portraits for thousands of professionals in the Chicago area. Here she focuses on photography tips for rosacea patients. 

Headshots are no longer a “nice to have,” they are a “must-have.” You need them for your company’s website, for updating your LinkedIn page, and even for your gym’s ID system. For anyone—skin sensitivity or not—having a professional photo taken can be nerve-wracking. We want to put our best face forward, but sometimes we find ourselves focusing on the things that make us feel insecure. I’ve compiled my top tips for going into your next photo session feeling calm, cool and collected, no matter how your skin is behaving! 

Stay confident. This is easier said than done, but try not to let your fear of the camera overwhelm you. A session with a professional photographer is about getting the shot that represents YOU. If you find yourself with a flare-up or breakout, don’t reschedule. It will just give your nerves a chance to build up again! Go into your session ready to explain to your photographer that you’re feeling insecure about your skin and talk through options. Nearly everyone who walks into a photo studio ends up pointing out the things they’re insecure about to their photographer. Trust me, we’ve heard it all. 

Know your skin tone. Particularly for someone with rosacea, it can be difficult to determine what your natural skin tone is. The most important thing is that you look like you. If rosacea gives your skin a pink hue that you embrace on a daily basis, continue to embrace that for your headshot. If you regularly use makeup or concealer to tone down redness, come to your photo session with your normal makeup, or consult with the photographer on how to do your makeup for the photos. When it comes to your skin, your photographer and their team are often the best resources to help get the photo you are hoping for. 

Professional help? Yes, please! It’s not uncommon for photographers to have a professional makeup artist in their studio, or have a referral relationship with one. Consider asking about professional makeup services when you book your appointment. Before the shoot, start a conversation regarding your concerns about your skin and your expectations for the outcome of the session, and ask for their help in preparation. Some makeup artists even specialize in rosacea or problem skin and can cosmetically prep you to achieve a natural-looking photo. Finally, don’t forget that digital retouching is an option for smoothing out skin and correcting flare-ups. There is a happy medium when it comes to retouching a photo—we want you to look like your natural self, while reducing temporary blemishes. 

Don’t over-prepare. The best way to prepare for your headshot is to stick to your regular therapy and skin care routine. Drastic attempts to calm flare-ups and breakouts before your photo session can sometimes do more harm than good. Expressing your concerns to your photographer ahead of time and discussing options for makeup and retouching are a much safer course of action.