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January 10, 2012

Makeup Application for Photo Shoots

Makeup application for a photo shoot is much different than makeup worn day-to-day. Due to the lighting and how it reflects off some products, there needs to be a different thought process when applying makeup to models. Makeup for photography is generally thicker and more exaggerated than daily makeup.

A Flawless Face

Start off by moisturizing the face, which will allow makeup to slide on and blend in easily. Next, apply a foundation that matches the skin color exactly. There are a few keys to choosing a photo shoot foundation: Don’t use a foundation with SPF. Make sure the foundation has no shimmer or glitter. Avoid foundations that claim to make the skin
look dewy. Anything shimmery, dewy or containing SPF will reflect light and appear greasy in photos, so all foundation should be matte. Apply the foundation with a sponge over the face and down the neck, blending carefully. If the model is wearing a strapless top, it might be a good idea to blend the foundation onto the shoulders as well, just to make sure it blends in completely.

For photography, it’s important to apply a thicker layer of foundation than one normally would. It might look cake-like in person, but it will look smooth and natural in a photograph.

Next, use a concealer that’s two or three shades lighter than the natural skin tone to minimize the appearance of blemishes, discoloration and dark circles. Blend the concealer in well with the foundation, or it will look obvious in photos.

Finally, set the makeup with a face powder. Make sure the powder has no SPF or shimmer in it, as these will glow in photos. Choose either a flesh-colored or translucent powder. Blend it in well with a fluffy makeup brush. There should be absolutely no natural shine on the face when this step is completed. Photographers are likely familiar with how a natural shine on the nose or forehead can look like a grease-slick in a photograph— the powder avoids this problem.


Once the foundation is finished, it’s time to add more natural contours into the face. The heavy foundation plus bright lights will wash out the shadows on the face if this step isn’t done. Use a non-shimmer bronzer or contour powder to bring out the cheekbones by gently dusting it under the cheekbones. Then brush some bright blush on the apples of the cheeks.

While these applications should be heavier than normal, they should be applied neatly and precisely in order to avoid looking clown-like. Blend the edges into the skin to make it look more natural.

Eyes and Lips

The key here is to provide contrast. Even those who normally wear brown eyeliner and mascara should use the darkest black possible instead. This will bring out the eyes in photos. False lashes are another option to make the eyes pop. Use the eyeshadow of your choice, but make sure it’s matte and complements the model’s eye color. Use a darker eyeshadow in the crease to add depth to the eyes.

Make sure lip colors don’t have a frosted effect, as this won’t show up in photos. Apply a lip liner before the lipstick or else the lip color will look faded and messy in the photo.

The photographer should take breaks every 10 minutes or so to touch up the makeup. The hot lights can melt makeup, especially setting powder, to taking breaks to reapply powder and touch up concealer are crucial to avoid messy-looking photographs. By following these simple makeup rules, a photographer can be sure that the subject of the photograph will look her best in the finished portraits.


Community Author Bio:

Cindi Lewis writes for Glossy a skin care brands and beauty products online retailer.

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