If you've met me in person, you probably noticed that I wasn't wearing makeup. Well, that's normal for me and there's a few reasons why - but hold on, you thought this was about portraiture - it is, just hang in there. My reasons for not wearing makeup cue us into how I approach portraiture and retouching.
I edit only to show you how I see you, which means erasing that zit that I didn't notice, or that zit distracts me from looking at what really matters on your face. I want to show people what they should see in you and how you really look at the same time. So that whenever someone sees your image then sees you in person, they are impressed because you really do look like that. This makes some people uncomfortable - and rightly so - because might be certain aspects of someone's body that there are uncomfortable with. However, that's a risk that I'm willing to take in order to say "you are pleasing for me to look at, and I see no reason to change you."
I don't wear makeup because I'm okay with who I am and how I look raw and unfinished. I'm a work in progress and while I strive to do my best, I'm perfectly aware that I'm not perfect in every way. So wearing makeup is an outwardly sign to myself and to other people of the kind of person that I am.
Yes, I currently have very colorful and very unnatural hair. I like my natural color, but I also enjoy this new opportunity to express my creativity and willingness to do something outside of the norm. It's been very interesting to see how people perceive me to be more creative, and how I sometimes surprise people when I'm not actually as weird as my hair.
I find the subtleties of your expression to be most important - I want you to REALLY smile with joy - not with pain. Or if you're serious, making sure that it's serious rather than stressed or bored. Believe it or not, this is also difficult for me to do when in front of the camera, and I am so very thankful for photographers who work with me to make sure that I actually end up looking thoughtful instead of angry.
Posing is second. I go for natural, complementary poses and don't manipulate the body in photoshop unless it was manipulated by my lens. However, the odd thing with photography is that posture really does matter so natural-looking poses don't always feel so natural.
Environment is third, I think that subconsciously the environment says a lot about you - so I prefer to shoot in your environment or an environment that is very "you." For this reason I try to avoid grassy fields unless you actually have a reason to be shown there. You'd be surprising what lighting and depth of field can do to a cluttered environment. So what if you're messy? That's okay... right?...
Obviously lighting, composition, and quality are also extremely important. However, that's for me to worry about, not you!