Makeup Tips for Your Next Portrait Session


What's the number one thing I hear as a portrait photographer?  Just make me look good!  LOL.  Okay, okay, I get it.  In fact, I think I've said that one before, as well.  We all want to look good in our portraits, especially when you go to a professional to get them done. 

Can a professional photographer fix things with Photoshop and other editing tools?  Yes!  However, as a photographer, I walk a fine line when I edit my clients' portraits.  The last thing I want to do is start editing out the features that make you, well, you.  There's also a baseline assumption I work under, that you showed up looking how you intended to.  

So, when it comes to women and makeup, I really try hard to not enhance their makeup too much.  I know I personally don't wear a lot of makeup, so when I get my portraits done, I like to look fresh and have my features drawn out, but I don't want to look like a brat doll. However, I know many that prefer a little more of a done-up look.

So, then the question is, how much makeup should I wear?  Well, I always suggest going and getting your hair and makeup done but a trusted professional if it isn't your forte.  If that isn't for you, here are some easy tips to follow for your next session.


1.  Start with well-hydrated skin and a good foundation and concealer.  Not cakey, though.  Oh, and if you can, skip the SPF.  Depending on the lighting used, SPF has properties to it that can cause your skin to look greasy.  Oh and avoid mineral based makeup for the same reason.  Likely not the look you are going for.  Set with a translucent powder.  A matte finish is preferred for photo shoots.

2.  Bring out your eyes.  One of the best features to draw out for portraits are your eyes.  This means eyeliner, at the very least on the top lid.  You don't have to go crazy heavy to have an impact with eyeliner.  Also define the crease with a little eyeshadow, preferably slightly darker than what you may traditionally wear.  Stick with neutral tones and colors.  Finish it off with a couple mascara applications to finish off your eye appeal.

Some people like to get fake lashes, if you do, just make sure you keep them natural looking.  Keep in mind some close-ups might be done and you don't want them to be distracting.  

3.  Avoid the shimmery and glittery makeup products.  It can actually reflect light and make you look oily.  No one wants that.  So this means stick with more matte or satin eyeshadows and blushes.

4.  Heavy street makeup.  Haha, well this is what we used to call it when I danced and had to do stage makeup.  What does that mean?  Just go a step further in your blush, contouring and brows than you normally would.  I repeat my prior statement- no brat dolls.

5.  When it comes to lips, go with something more natural.  Topping it off with a little rose tinted gloss helps, this is the only area where the shine isn't frowned upon.  Bring the color with you in case you need to reapply during your session.  

6.  Set everything with a translucent powder or setting spray.  

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