We’ve all been there before… you’re out somewhere for a function or special occasion and the photographer corners you… but you’re quite confident, because you knew pictures were going to be taken and you took extra care to get ready for the occasion. But then you see the pictures a couple of days later and to your dismay you wonder, “Did I really look like THAT?”

Sure, the photographer, the camera, the lighting and the way you stand could all help you look better in photos, but the correct makeup can also make a serious difference!

So here are my 10 easy tips on how to make your makeup work for – and not against – you in photos. (The rest is up to you… ;))


1. Tidy Eyebrows

Eyes are usually the focal point when looking at someones face, and since our eyebrows frame our eyes, they are equally important! Make sure you shape them neatly the day before your photo session, removing any out of place hairs. And on the day, use a little bit of gel or hairspray on your eyelash/eyebrow comb, to keep them securely in place after brushing them into a neat shape.

1. Tidy Eyebrows

2. Bright Eyes

Use some eye drops to get rid of any redness in your eyes about 10-15min before you start with your makeup. Bloodshot eyes are never very flattering.

2. Eye-drops

3. Use Natural Light

When I go do the make-up for a Bridal Party, I always find it so frustrating when they choose this beautiful stunning room to get ready in… but it’s really dark & gloomy, with practically no natural light… This usually then leads to me hustling them all outside onto the patio to do their make-up 😉 So for the best results – try to apply your make up in natural light as far as possible (not direct sunlight though). Indoor lighting is very deceiving and can alter the appearance of your make up dramatically.

3. Natural Light

4. Go Matte

This has 3 parts to it:

  • Firstly, keep the shine down, especially on that troublesome T-zone – from your chin, across your nose and across your forehead. Invest in a high-definition foundation (originally developed for actresses and news anchors on HD TV) because they will hide literally everything in the harsh lighting sometimes used in photography. Try Make Up For Ever HD Foundation.
  • Secondly, Yellow tinted powder is better than shimmery or translucent powders for photos, and should be used to set & mattify your foundation. But, keep in mind that piling on too much powder can make your skin look dull, so also have some oil-absorbing sheets handy to blot away shine when needed.
  • Thirdly, mattes also refer to flat colours that don’t have any sparkle or shimmer. When you are going to be photographed you want to avoid anything that is going to reflect the photography lighting (e.g. the flash) off your face too much, and make you look more like a Christmas tree or Disco ball… lol

4. Go Matte

5. Choose Under Eye Concealer carefully

Most of us try to cover up dark circles under our eyes with a little concealer, but this can sometimes be a 2 edged knife… If you choose a concealer that is too light, you’ll have halo’s under your eyes instead of dark circles, neither of which are very flattering. ;P If you have dark circles under your eyes, avoid using a lighter colour in hopes of masking the problem, rather use a concealer with yellow/peachy undertones to offset the blue/darkness.

5. Undereye Concealer

6. Contouring with Bronzer & Highlighter

A photograph doesn’t actually record the shape of anything but leaves it to be subconsciously inferred from patterns of light and shadow. Therefore subtly shading or highlighting you facial features with makeup can make a big difference in your photographs. Use a bronzer a shade or two darker than your natural colour under your cheek bones, under your chin, along either side of your nose, and the outer corners of your forehead. And then apply a lighter colour on the areas that light hits naturally, like the tops of your cheeks, centre of your forehead, and the bridge of your nose.

6. Contouring

7. Dark Eyeliner & Mascara

A darker hue of eyeliner & mascara will give you better contrast and definition, helping to make your eyes pop more on the photos. This doesn’t mean that you should go Goth… But do keep in mind that the lights and flash have a ‘wash out’ effect, so just go a little darker than you usually would. E.g. If you normally use browns, opt for black or a dark navy blue.

7. Dark Eyeliner & Mascara

8. Wake-Up your eyes

Dab a highlighting eyeshadow on the inner corners of your eyes and blend along your lash line (top & bottom) towards the middle of your eyes. This will help to open up your eyes and make you appear well-rested.

8. Wake up Your Eyes

9. Rosy Cheeks

Photography lighting tends to wash the colour out of your face, especially under a heavy flash. Using blusher will add definition and colour back to your face. Use a bit more than you normally would, but don’t over apply blush either. Start light and gradually build it up by adding more, concentrating on the apple of your cheek (where you would naturally blush).

9. Rosy Cheeks

10. Lushes Lips

Wearing lipstick that is too light will cause your mouth to blend in with the rest of your face. Again, this doesn’t mean you have to go with the brightest red lips, but you do need some colour to create a contrast of your features for best results. Use a lipliner that matches the colour of your lipstick and a gloss over your lipstick will make it pop more than a matte finish.

And as a final tip: blue-red hues will make your teeth appear whiter.

10. Luscious Lips

And there you go! 10 easy tips that won’t take up too much extra time and will be totally worth it! 😉

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