Makeovers: Why Are They So Terribly Misunderstood?

Last week whilst talking to a potential client regarding a photo session, I suggested that she may wish to consider having a Makeover Photo Shoot Experience.

I was not prepared for her reaction: “I am happy as I am and I do not want to look different!”

That reply made me a little sad. And worried!

Is that what people really think a makeover is about? Making people look like someone else? Someone they are not?

I gave this some thought and decided to put my ducks in a row to be able to rationalise that reaction:

  • Most women wear, or have worn, make up and have had their hair styled - Be it on a daily basis for work, or for a special occasion;

  • Most have worn a more styled outfit for a special occcasion;

  • Some women like to wear a more glamorous look and some prefer a more relaxed style, such as jeans and a jumper.

So, really, most women have had a type of makeover at least once! Some have a type of makeover every day!

Make-up>Hair>A Favourite Outfit = Makeover!

So why do some people think a makeover is such a negative exerience?!

Adding The Photography Into The Mix

So maybe that is the problem! The camera!

It is a fact that a large number of people would rather go to the dentist than stand in front of a photographer because think they are being scrutinised or judged.

People feel vulnerable when being photographed, and I often hear the below reasons for avoiding it:

  • I am too fat or I need to lose 20 lbs, etc (by far the most common reason/excuse)

  • I am not pretty or attractive enough (Stop that!)

  • I look terrible in photos (maybe because the person taking your photo knows little or nothing about posing, composition, lighting, etc)

  • I am not a model (very few people are models, to be fair)

  • Add your own reason here and I bet I can tell you why that is not true…

So maybe, just maybe, the reason why people are worried about having a makeover is not because they worry that it will make them look like someone else: Are they worried it will “prove” to them and the world that they are not “attractive enough”? If that is the case, then we really need to talk!

And Then There’s “Photoshop Abuse”!

As a professional photographer I feel it is genuinely regrettable that so many high profile magazines, and the media in general, feel it appropriate to propagate the myth of the perfect face & body by editing both women and men’s images to the point they are no longer a true likeness of the person (or of anyone!) who stood in front of the camera.

This causes most people looking at the images to feel, and let’s be honest here, inadequate. No one can live up to an ultra photshopped lie!

That normally means one of two comments from my clients:

  1. Can you make me look thinner or younger?

  2. I don’t want to be made to look like I am made of plastic!

I would like to say right now that I have never edited my clients bodies, and the only things which get removed are spots, if the client wants me to remove them!

Skin smoothing is kept to a bare minimum as the camera can be brutal with pores, so some of that is sometimes necessary - But with makeovers the make-up applied normally means even basic smoothing is not needed.

I pose and light my clients to ensure they look their best. No tricks. No body-editing. No plastic-looking skin!

One Way To Understand That Makeovers Are Not About Changing You - The Before & After!

I always make sure that my clients have The Before photo, with The After being the reveal of their portraits.


It is absolutely no different than when you got to the hairdresser for a colour or a new do.

You sit in front of the mirror and what you see is The Before.

Once it’s all done the haidresser gets you to check the new haircut or colour in the mirror, back and front: That’s The After.

With a makover the equivalent of the mirror is The Before photo, and The After is the reveal of your finished portraits!

Please allow me to illustrate:

B&A 2.jpg
B&A 1.jpg
B&A 3.jpg

I am sure that looking at these Before & After images you will agree that the women portrayed have not been changed in any way whatsoever!

The only difference is that they have had professional make up and hair styling and are wearing different outfits.

They are very much still recognisable in their makeover images as the same person shown in the before photos.

Let’s Finish With… The Difference It Makes!

A fabulous Makeover Photo Shoot can make a huge difference to the lives of the women and men who go through the experience.

The process itself is one that leaves you feeling amazing:

  • Being welcomed to the studio with a glass of bubbly, or a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, and some delicious chocolates! (though tea, coffee and biscuits are also available)

  • Being pampered by a professional make up artist and having your hair styled

  • Wearing a gorgeous outfit which makes you feel fabulous - Be it a dressy gown or your favourite jeans and jumper (think about the amazing images of Princess Diana in a timeless black roll-neck jumper!) - Or wear both! You do get 4 outfit changes!

  • Being guided by me through a professional photo shoot experience where you will be posed in a way which makes the most of your features and figure

  • Seeing your gorgeous photographs on my Reveal Wall and feeling certain that you do look fabulous!

Do you think that this is an exercise in vanity? Some do, but let me assure you that it is not about vanity.

It is about getting dressed up, having some fun Me Time, feeling fabulous and having this time of your life recorded forever with beautiful, professional photography.

It is about your life, your confidence and being seen - Not simply by others, but being seen by yourself, realistically.

And you don’t need to be alone in this experience either: Bring your partner, your mum, your sibling, your best friend!

You can have the makeover as a joint experience, or they can be there simply to support you.

Afterwards you will look gorgeous so arrange a night out or book that special restaurant! Make a day of it.

I hope that my words have gone some way to putting your mind at rest with regarding having a makeover and how it is definitely NOT about betraying/denying your true self…

But I will leave the last word to one of the wonderful women who experienced the photo shoot and send me this message:

I wanted to thank you as after my experience with you I was more comfortable around cameras and photographers in fact some of my costumes are getting quite showstopping as I’m more confident! In fact I look at the pictures anytime I think an outfit is getting too over the top and then usually just go for it. So even though it was a couple of years ago, thank you so much !
— Vicky Hopgood

If you would like to find out more about having a Makeover Photo Shoot Experience, visit the Makeover Photo Shoot Page by clicking here. Alternatively, complete the Contact Form or call me on 07824 312561.

Andrea de Gabriel