Ladies, let's talk about make-up for a minute. Make-up and photography can be a tricky combination. You want to look natural and polished without overdoing it. Underdoing (is that even a word?) it can also be a big mistake. I started thinking about this after I recently attended a stylized photo shoot at which both of the models were wearing fake lashes. You know, the glue on kind you can buy at the drug store? One of them managed to pull it off, the other, well lets just say that it was a struggle. The poor girl battled eyelashes that were falling off all night long. It delayed the session and she was visibly frustrated. I am sure she wanted to scream and rip them off. Heck, I wanted to do it for her.
This incident aside, I am a little biased when it comes to falsies. In my glory days, I was a fairly decent dancer and it was a requirement that we wear false lashes on stage. I got to be pretty good at applying them, but to this day I hate them. I know, it sounds like a good idea, but I am here to tell you that it is not. Now I realize that there are some people who will disagree with me, so let me explain; they are more trouble than they're worth!
Problem number one, if you don't glue those babies down really well, you will be doing battle with them non-stop. You also have to trim them just right so they fit and don't droop and/or poke you in the eye. Even if you do manage to trim them and glue them on well, they will still probably irritate you because they are itchy. Trust me on this one, you don't want to be playing with them the whole time.
Problem number two, they don't look real. Again, I know that there are people who will disagree with me. If you have a lot of practice with them, you might be able to pull it off, but the average person does not have a lot of experience with false lashes.Yes, you want to enhance those lashes. I know that it is "in," but please think twice before you glue on the falsies. If you really must have some sort of lash boosting product, there are better, more natural looking products out there. And no, I am not talking about eyelash extensions. (If that is something you want to do, go for it. More power to ya sister. For some they are just not an option.) Believe it or not, there are other affordable, yet still natural looking options out there.
One of my personal favorites is Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes by Younique. It thickens and lengthens your lashes in a natural looking way, that washes off at the end of the day. At $29 it is pricier than mascara, but a far more affordable option when compared to lash extensions. You will also get a lot of use out it. Because I don't wear it everyday, mine has lasted for two years.
Now that my eyelash rant is over, let's talk about the overall look you want to achieve for photographs. Your everyday make-up look might be amazing, but everyday make-up does not necessarily translate to photography. There are several reasons for this, but let's just say that the camera lens and human eye see a bit differently. There are some great tutorials out there by people with more expertise and if it is an important event or you just aren't good with make-up you may want to hire someone to do it for you. Obviously this is not always and option, so for the rest of you I am going to cover the basics below.
1. Be sure to start with a clean and moisturized face. Foundation is optional. Some can't live without it, some hate it. For those of you who fall in the latter category, like me, mixing a little sheer foundation or creme with you moisturizer is a good compromise. I do recommend a good concealer especially if you are prone to bags under your eyes or breakouts. Whatever you do, just make sure you avoid the "pancake" face.
2. Apply your makeup in natural window light if at all possible.
3. Pore reducer is helpful. My favorite is Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser by Maybelline.
4. In portraits, a matte finish is best. Try to avoid anything that glows, shimmers or glitters. Shine is an enemy to good portraits. While a little highlighting/contouring is fine keep it to a minimum.
5. It is all about the eyes. They are the window to your soul after all. Feel free to emphasize them, but again, avoid shimmer or glitter. Matte or satin neutral shades are best. Avoid overly dark colors as well. When it comes to applying eyeliner, remember that less is more. I do not recommend lining the whole eye. It is best to just line the lash line to help create a full looking lash. Avoid trendy eyeliner colors and stick with neutrals or black. Don’t forget mascara! Two coats should do the trick. Again choose black or brown, whatever matches your natural lashes.
6. Blush is a must. Many women avoid this product for a number of reasons, but it isn't as scary as it seems. The trick is to choose a color that is natural. Pick a color that flatters your skin tone. A good rule of thumb is to choose a shade that matches the flush you get when you exercise or it's cold outside. Please remember to avoid shimmery colors. Apply the most vibrant part of your blush to the apples of your cheeks and blend upward on your cheek bone. Blush needs to be applied a bit heavier than normal for portraits because the camera has a tendency to wash out color. (A good guide is to go about 30% more intense with your blush. This also applies to shadow and mascara.)
7. A naturally colored lip is the most flattering in portraits. Pick something blush colored, nude or sheer. A little shine here is OK, but only a little and glitter is still right out.
8. Eyebrows. Make sure they are clean and neat. Only pluck strays to avoid thin brows. You can trim them to create a more pleasing shape, but again, do so sparingly. For your session be sure to fill them in. Start from the bottom of the brow and fill it upwards so there is a natural gradation effect. Do not apply to the inner most end of the brow (closest to the bridge of your nose) as this can look "mean," Start in a few hairs or ten (if this doesn't make sense there are some great tutorials on Youtube) and work toward the outer end, again working to get a natural gradation. There are several products out there that you can use to achieve this look, waxes, powders, pencils. My personal favorite is Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow. It is a fiber gel that provides a natural look. Whatever product you prefer, be sure to choose an appropriate shade and remember that less is more.
9. Blend. Blend. Blend.
10 . Finish with matte translucent powder. Lightly sweep powder over the center of the forehead, the center of the nose, and your chin. Use it to remove any remaining shine and voila! You are now ready for your close up. ;)
I recommend this guide for all of my clients, even the minimalist and make-up free gal. (Unless you are under the age of 14 and don't regularly wear make-up.) If that absolutely makes your skin crawl, I still recommend a few basics to help with shine, etc. There are "no makeup" makeup looks out there. Also make sure that makeup is age appropriate. Trust me on this one, it will make all the difference. For more in depth tutorials visit my client page on Pinterest.
You can also see my basic session tips here.
*The opinions expressed by the author are mine alone, and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement. I have no affiliation, sponsorship, nor any partnerships with any of the products or their registered trademarks.