It is finally SPRING! This means that as a New Englander I am experiencing some seriously temperamental weather (1-4 inches of snow followed by a nearly 60° day anyone?). It also means that it is the season for proms, weddings, and senior photos. A lot of us are getting fancy and having our pic snapped by a pro. Some of you may already be aware that when you are planning to be professionally photographed you might want to plan your makeup a bit differently. For others, this is a completely foreign concept. Either way, I am going to try to lessen the pressure with some advice to follow for flawless photos.
Take a look at this photo. What are your eyes drawn too? Does my face looked caked in makeup or would you consider this a “natural” look? I am actually wearing quite a bit more makeup than usual in these photos, but it doesn’t look that way. That is because flash photography can lighten and wash out, so you need to plan for this when selecting your colors. If you are normally not a foundation person I feel you, I really do, but today is not the day to skip it. The natural contour of the face can also fade when photographed, so it is important to contour well and BLEND, more on this later. Ready? Let’s go through it step by step.
Prep and Prime
I know some people feel that a primer is an unnecessary step. We can debate about that, but when it comes to professional photography it is an absolute must. You want to start your routine with a fresh canvas, properly moisturized and primed. I have dry skin and am a huge fan of NYX Hydratouch but there are a variety of good options out there. Normally I am all about sun safety and making sure you have your SPF, but on photo day, it is best to skip any SPF containing skincare, as some ingredients can react to the flash causing you to look washed out, aka ghostface.
When choosing a foundation shade t is best to pick one that closely matches the skin along your jawline. Depending on the client I may sometimes match to the collarbone area instead, but most often I test on the area just above the jawbone. If you have a significantly different skin tone between your face and neck make sure you take the time to blend out your foundation. A subtle color shift in person can be very noticeable on camera, so blend your foundation all the way down your neck, you’ll be glad you did. If you have hired a makeup artist they will likely already have products on hand, but if you are shopping for your own, be aware that some foundations photograph better than others. If you are at all into beauty than you’ve heard makeup artists rave about Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk and Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation. They are both amazing products touted by professional makeup artists worldwide, but if you hardly ever wear foundation in real life, it might feel like an unnecessary expense. No worries, I’ve got you covered with some great drugstore products that will treat you right on camera. True Match by L’oreal is mentioned over and over by professional makeup artists as a regular contender in their makeup kits. Revlon Camera Ready and Maybelline Fit Me are also popular contenders. Regardless of which option you choose, take the time to find the right shade for you and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you aren’t sure. Nothing is worse than the wrong foundation color. I promise.
The flash from the camera can draw attention to dark circles and other imperfections. After you have found the perfect foundation, you are going to want to go back over problem areas, typically under the eyes, around the nose, etc. with a good concealer. Though it isn’t uncommon to select a shade up to three times lighter than your skin tone for daily makeup, that would be a mistake on photo day because it can cause the flash to wash you out. To be safe stick with a shade one to two shades lighter than normal.
Contour and Highlight
If you follow me on youtube or have read other posts, you probably know that I think the contour trend can sometimes be taken a bit far. It may not be necessary to layer, bake, and all that in your day to day life, but I promise you that you are going to want to do it for photo day. The camera can wash out the face’s natural contour. To rectify that select a matte bronzer or contour powder and blend it just under the jaw, under your cheekbone from around your ear to about the midway point of your cheek, at your temples, and along the sides of your nose. Then blend baby blend. Using a matte highlighter, dust the high points of the cheek, the bridge, and tip of the nose, and the bud of the lips. I know that it is tempting to grab shimmery products. They can be so beautiful, but when doing makeup specifically for photography is best to opt for matte highlight, contour, and blush and to blend well. Trust me, flash reflecting of that gorgeous contour job is not going to give you the look you were going for.
This is a subject of much debate, but typically I like to start with the eye makeup. It allows me to clean up any fallout without having to reapply face makeup. Regardless of when you perform this step, you must prime the lid. There are some great lid primers out there, such as Urban Decay’s, but you can also prime with concealer well-blended and set with a bit of a neutral or translucent powder. There are some really cool eye makeup looks out there these days. It’s not all brown and plums, there are palettes full of vibrant and gorgeous pigment out there. While these produce some truly stunning looks, they may not be your best choice for photos. Most photographers recommend a subtle eye look for family photos, weddings, and headshots. Check out this article where a senior makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics explains and diagrams how best to apply eyeshadow for these events. Then follow up with a thin line of black eyeliner close to the upper lash line