How to Do Your Own Makeup for Photo Shoots

Prefer to read? You can find the article that accompanies this video below

So, you’ve booked your photo shoot, chosen an outfit that makes you feel great and booked an appointment at the hairdressers for a quick trim. But have you thought about makeup?

Makeup is one of those things that you may not think about when it comes to having your photograph taken – we want to look natural in the photographs, so surely it’s better to just wear the same makeup we wear every day?

Unfortunately not. Generally speaking, the makeup we wear day to day won’t show up as well on camera as it does in real life. And since you’re investing in professional photographs it’s well worth investing some time in your makeup too, so that you walk away with a set of photographs that show you off at your best.

Some of my clients do choose to have their makeup done professionally before a shoot, but the vast majority do their makeup themselves. So if you’re doing your own makeup for your photo shoot, how can you make sure it looks great?

In this article I’m going to share six tips to help you do your own makeup for your next photo shoot.

 

 

Apply your makeup in natural light

Just as the kind of light you take a photograph in will make a difference to the final result, so will the kind of light you apply your makeup in.

Applying your makeup in a room that’s full of plenty of natural light will give you a really good view of what you’re doing across your whole face, as opposed to using an overhead or table-top light which can cast shadows on certain parts of your face. This will help you to notice any areas where makeup needs to be blended in, and blemishes that you may want to add concealer to.

To ensure you have plenty of natural light shining on your face, find a large, bright window and face towards it as you apply your make-up.

 

Prepare your skin with a primer first

Using a primer to prepare your skin before you apply your makeup can help to give a better finish, and make your makeup last longer. Primer can help to even out skin tone, cover up pores and help you to apply your makeup smoothly – avoiding any patches or clumps.

If you’re not sure which primer is right for you, this guide from Refinery 29 might be a good place to start.

How to do your own makeup for a photoshoot

 

Use a full coverage foundation

Day to day I wear a tinted moisturiser rather than foundation, but this never looks good in photographs as I hope. As I mentioned at the start of this article, make-up rarely looks the same in photos as it does in real life – it tends to look less vibrant, and a tinted moisturiser won’t give you the smooth, even finish that you’re hoping for when you see the finished photographs.

With this in mind I recommend going heavier than usual, and using a full-coverage foundation.

 

Avoid makeup with a shimmer

Anything with a shimmer in it is a no-no for photographs taken during the day. All that shimmer will reflect light back towards the camera, and not give the look you’re after.

It’s not just eye shadows and highlighters that you need to watch out for here – lots of foundations have a shimmer too, including mineral make-up.

how to do your own makeup for photo shootsTalk to a Makeup Professional

If you’re not feeling confident about applying your own make-up, do talk to a professional. This doesn’t have to mean booking a professional make-up artist. Instead you could go to your local department store and spend time at one of the beauty counters there. Usually if you’re thinking of buying a new product, the consultants will be happy to apply it for you, show you different options and give you advice on the best way to use it. Some counters also offer makeovers or make-up lessons for a fee, and if you really aren’t sure where to begin this could be a great option for you.

 

Practice your makeup before your photo shoot

Finally, do practice your makeup before the photo shoot, especially if you don’t wear lots of makeup on a day to day basis.

It can feel quite strange seeing yourself wearing more makeup than usual, and the last thing you want to find is that you don’t like the look just before your photo shoot starts. Having plenty of test runs will give you the confidence that you like the result, look great, and can turn up to your photo shoot feeling relaxed and confident.

 

Summary: how to do your own makeup for photo shoots

I hope that you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your photo shoot. In summary:

  • Apply your make-up in natural light
  • Use a primer underneath your makeup
  • Use a full-coverage foundation
  • Avoid makeup with shimmer
  • Do ask for help from a professional if you are unsure how to get the best results
  • Practice your makeup plenty of times before the shoot

 

Over to you

What other questions do you have about preparing for your photo shoot? Let me know in the comments below, or send me a message here and I will get back to you with an answer.

 

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Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer covering South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography and offer studio sessions, and lifestyle shoots outdoors and at home. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.