We’ve all had it happen. You go to an event- a party, a wedding, or even just a simple night out- you are looking your best, and feeling great… then you see the photos. Maybe you look washed out and pale, or maybe you look like you have no makeup on at all. Perhaps your face is a different color than your neck and shoulders, or maybe you can hardly see your eyeballs through all the eyeshadow.
Whatever the problem, we’ve all seen pictures of ourselves in which our makeup caused us to look not as great as we thought we did. So how do we avoid such issues? In today’s world, where everything and everyone in every situation everywhere is being photographed, what exactly can we do to make sure our makeup isn’t ruining our look? Here are a few of the very best and most important tips to great-looking makeup for photos.
First, your face. The skin of your face, though not the focus that everyone will look at first, is the number one most important thing about photographed makeup.
- First off, be sure you start off with clean skin (exfoliated skin is even better, and will add a glow.)
- Next, foundation. Your foundation, or “base,” can make or break the way your face looks, and it’s also one of the biggest and most common mistakes women make with their makeup. When choosing a foundation shade, sure, you can “match” it to your neck, or inner wrist, or palm, as old wives tales instruct. But the best place to test your foundation shade for matching is where it will be worn- on your face. And, when you’re matching it, look at it closely in both natural light (outside) and unnatural lighting (inside.) If you’re noticing that your face looks more pasty or kind of pink-white or ashen in photos, look for a foundation that has a more yellow base to it. Most people’s skin tones are much more yellow-ish than they realize, and most foundations are much pink-er than they should be. That doesn’t work. All of this goes for concealer and powder as well.
- Speaking of concealer, a lot of us use concealer to hide our dark circles and/or blemishes or splotches. Concealer can be wonderful, but be sure of two things. First, that it matches your skin and your foundation (lots of women choose concealer that is way too light, and looks obviously so in pictures,) and second, that it is applied correctly and blended well.
- Finally, go matte. Matte means flat, or not shiny. Any makeup designed to be “dewy” or to add a “glow” will often tend to make skin appear oily or greasy in photos.
Next is the eyes. In photographs, the eyes need at least a little boost for dimension and focus.
- For a lighter, more natural look, swipe on some eyeliner and mascara. Dark brown, charcoal and black look the best in pics, but of course, that’s not a rule.
- For a heavier, more dramatic or smokey look, add a light shadow under the brow, a dark shade on the bottom lashline part of the lid and blend it up as much and heavily as you like. Add liner, mascara, and even fake lashes if desired. For even more depth and smokiness, apply a little liner and/or mascara to the lower lid lashline.
- Brows. We’ll include the eyebrows here with the eyes. Eyebrows literally frame your face. Tweeze or wax them if necessary, and fill in and/or shape them with a little liner or brow powder if needed.
Lips and cheeks.
- It used to be that every woman wore lipstick and blush every day. That is not the case any more. Many women only wear lipstick to work or to special events, and blush is worn even less often. But in photographs, skipping blush and lip color altogether can cause the face to look pale and washed out. So at the very least, swipe on a little lipstick or tinted gloss. Lip color always makes your look appear more polished and complete.
- As for blush, find a shade that is not overwhelming, and lightly apply to the area of the cheek that pokes out when you smile. It’s that simple.
Finally, the body. Why bring up the body? Because if your decolletage (upper chest), neck, shoulders, back and/or arms will be exposed, they will not match your face in photos unless you remember to make those up a little as well.
- The only thing to remember with these body parts is that you want them to match your face. Foundation and face powder reflects light, while nude skin absorbs it. What this means for photos is that if your face has makeup on it and your neck and chest do not, for example, your face will look lighter or whiter than your neck and chest. Some makeup artists call this “the mask.” To prevent this, simply dust a little face powder over your neck, decolletage, and whatever other body parts you’re worried about. It’s a super-quick step that can save a photo from being delete-worthy.
One of the most important things to remember about big events is that you want to look like yourself. If you normally don’t wear a lot of makeup, don’t make a big wedding the time you decide to pile a bunch of eyeshadow on. Drastically altering your look for any event or photo will not only change your look in the pictures, it will cause an unease that may affect your confidence and ability to enjoy the event in the first place.