behind the scenes headshot sessie makeup van Sylvia Bouwman, portraits of beautiful women


[ˈbyü-ti-fəl] adj

Someone whose personality and physical appearance is considered extremely attractive to someone else;

synonyms: attractive, pretty, handsome, good-looking, nice-looking, pleasing, alluring, prepossessing, lovely, charming, delightful, appealing, engaging, ravishing, gorgeous, heavenly, stunning, arresting, glamorous, irresistible, bewitching, graceful, elegant, exquisite, aesthetic, decorative, magnificent, tasty, divine, knockout, drop-dead gorgeous, fanciable, smashing; foxy; spunky;
“She’s a beautiful woman.”

The “Beautiful women” project

This is the first article in a series about getting women to dare to step in front of a camera and getting their headshot taken so they can have beautiful profile images on their social media channels. I started this project together with Sylvia Bouwman, a beautician at Schoonheidssalon Sylvia. and together we want to help women not only to see but also feel their own beauty.

In this first article, we want to show some fun behind the scenes photos and tell you a bit about why we started this project and why we believe in it so strongly.

achter de schermen headshot sessie portrets van mooie vrouwen boven 30

Beautiful women all around

I meet and see so many beautiful women every day. They are everywhere, in the shops, at the sports center, on the streets, on social media. They’re of all ages and sizes. They’re my friends, acquaintances, and strangers. And most of them are not aware of how beautiful they really are.

They tell me they’re not “photogenic”, they hate having their picture taken, they feel weird in front of a camera (which I totally get, by the way). They say they’re “too old”, or “too fat” or they “never look good in pictures”. I think more than 90 % of the women I talk to consider themselves to be “non-photogenic” or “not ready” (they just need to lose weight first)

We, women, are experts at criticizing ourselves, noticing our faults and what we don’t like about ourselves – and I guess having our “problem areas” documented in an image can be quite confronting. I can fully understand where it’s coming from. I mean who hasn’t seen pictures of themselves where they look terrible or simply different to the one we see in the mirror? It makes you feel bad, ugly and insecure. It’s a horrendous feeling, so yes, I get that people don’t like to have their picture taken.

(I, for one, was not particularly happy about how I look in the two images above, but I love how they show how well Sylvia and I work together and the fun we’re having)

achter de schermen headshot sessie portrets van mooie vrouwen boven 30 marianne hope

THAT feeling…

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself where you look great? One that makes you realize you’re not that bad at all? You’re actually quite beautiful? THAT feeling is what we’re aiming for. So, how about we focus on what we love and like about ourselves instead and capture that? And how about we bottle up and sustain the feeling we get from images like that to feel great about ourselves all the time? And then we channel that amazing feeling on to the people around us?

I believe that a nice image of yourself can make a huge difference in how you see and appreciate yourself. It can be a tremendous confidence booster. THAT feeling of adding a profile picture to your LinkedIn or Facebook profile and actually liking it/feeling good about it every time you see it – it’s a wonderful feeling. I know this firsthand.

There was a time I didn’t feel confident or good about my looks at all. It didn’t help that I didn’t have a recent image of myself that I liked. One day I decided to do a photoshoot with a tripod and a selfie camera. I went outside, tried a few things, and played around with different poses. In the end, I got a collection of pictures that I loved and that made me feel good about myself again. It was such a long time since I’d felt pretty and finally, I had pictures that I was happy to share with the world. It’s was and is a wonderful feeling. Everybody deserves to feel like that.

Self portret van marianne hope op een pier in huizen Nederland vrouw met gele jas

This image of me from 2013 is the first image I was happy to add to all my social media profiles or give out for articles and interviews about me. I took this with a remote camera, holding the shutter in my hand (my iPhone). It might not be the greatest image ever, but it made me happy. I still remember the feeling I got from this image.

Personal branding headshot van lifestyle fotografe marianne hope met een witte achtergrond

This is my present profile picture (March 2019), again shot with a remote while the camera was on a tripod. Sylvia did my makeup for this shot and I really like how this image makes me feel about myself.

“A smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body.”

The beginning…

When Sylvia and I decided to do this project together, we started with ourselves. She taught me how to apply makeup in a natural way, aiming to enhance my best features and look fresh instead of tired. No over the top makeup where you look nothing like yourself, that’s not what we are about. She also showed me how to best take care of my skin. In return, I gave her a crash course in mobile photography, branding and social media and a did a headshot session where she ended up with several images to use for her profile pictures.

Below you can see what a difference a bit of makeup and styling can do to a headshot. She’s beautiful in both pictures, but in the second one, she’s glowing and you can see that she’s feeling it.

Professional headshot personal branding

“One smile can’t change the world,
but your smile changes mine”


The feel-good factor

While my expertise is in directing, posing and photographing the subjects, Sylvia takes care of the makeup and feel-good factor – enhancing their best features and concealing whatever they don’t like. The moment the women stand in front of my camera, they already feel beautiful.

I truly believe that beauty comes from within, but enhancing one’s best features on the outside can help you notice, feel and believe it. That felt beauty is what the final images will show and is what will make you happy once you see them and start sharing and using them. It’s very very likely that you’ll have many moments of happiness where you feel good about yourself – just by seeing the images. It’s like a reminder that yes, you are beautiful. I think you agree; we all need a reminder sometimes.

We’ll be offering headshot/portrait session events somewhere in May/June, so stay tuned for more info about that. You might want to sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about when and where (we expect them to fill up quite fast as we’ve had lots of requests already).

In our next article about this project, you’ll meet the beautiful women from our first two sessions (some of them you can see a sneak of in the images below).

If you want to know more about my personal branding and headshot sessions, have a look here.

And if you feel inspired to start taking better care of your skin or maybe learn how to apply makeup, Sylvia would love to help you. Her website is

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