How to Take Great Photos with Makeup

How to Take Great Photos with Makeup

I’ve had several questions and requests regarding what makeup to wear for special occasions such as prom and weddings, so here are some tips!

Wear What You Love

Confidence is totally killer when it comes to pulling off any makeup look, whether it’s eyes done to the nines or just a bit of foundation. It’s important to wear products and colors that you’re comfortable wearing. Don’t let anyone push you into wearing more (or less!) than you feel happy wearing. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup and hate the way it feels on the skin–don’t think you have to wear full coverage foundation just to look good in photos. I also recommend, if you feel like you’re going a little out of your comfort zone, wearing the look prior to your special occasion to really see if it works for you.

Perfect the Skin

One of the things most often noticed first in photograph is skin, which really does round off any look you wear–it’s all about having a great canvas to work off of. Keep in mind that products that promise dewy finishes do not always work well in photographs, particularly flash photography, because they can give skin an oilier look. Another product to watch for is sunscreen, such as those with physical sunscreens, because they reflect light back, and this is what gives you a washed out look in flash photography.  You may also want to test out any translucent powders you use, too, which can sometimes give a white cast in photos.  If you’re not sure, try taking a few photos at home with flash and seeing how it goes.

Whether you apply eye makeup before or after foundation, make sure to remove any excess fall out, because you do not want any additional shadowing on the under eye. Eye brightening products and concealers are good for adding lightness to tired eyes, too, which can often be apparent in photos. However, make sure you really pay attention to blending so that the transitions between products and shades is natural and seamless.

Long Days, Longer Prep

For special occasions that span hours, such as weddings, proms, and the like, make time for proper prep to ensure longer wear out of your makeup. A lot of this entails layering products, which helps products adhere and stay on better and longer. Begin with moisturizer and allow it plenty of time to really sink in (typically 20 to 30 minutes), and then follow with a foundation primer, which will help smooth the surface of skin. Many primers also help combat oiliness, but it can depend on the formulation.

Depending on your skin type, you may also want to consider using a cream or gel blush, and if you really want to go the extra mile, set it with powder (or a similar colored blush). Foundation should also be set with powder (loose, pressed, translucent, whatever!), and for long days, carry around a pressed powder compact for touch-ups. It is with great hope that you won’t need to touch-up, but oilier skin types may still find it necessary. Just a slight application of more powder can help take down any oiliness and give skin a fresher look.

Lips can go through a layering process, too, or you can simply reapply as necessary. Exfoliate lips the night before, and apply a good lip balm to moisturize lips about an hour before you go to apply any lip products. Before you apply colored products, gently remove any excess balm that didn’t absorb (I usually just kiss the back of my hand). At this point, you can fill in your lips using lip liner in a shade that matches your natural lip color or that of your lipstick. Using a brush tends to provide more precise color application but also helps to cover lips in a very even layer. For longer wearing lipsticks, opt for matte, semi-matte, or satin finishes. Drier finishes tend to cling more to lips and therefore last longer. Similarly, darker colors (such as reds) tend to last longer than lighter colors (such as nudes).

When in Doubt, Test!

Whenever feasible, consider testing out your look at home or at some point in time before the special occasion takes place. If you have a camera, you can take your own photos to see how everything looks and make adjustments as necessary.