This is a blog post on how to apply makeup for non-professional photographs (i.e. those being taken with a standard point-and-shoot camera and flash, without any set lighting.)

Do you have a special occasion to attend, a big night out coming up or simply an event where your photos will be taken? Want look great in person and on film? It can be done! 

1Start by creating a camera-friendly canvasExfoliate the face to remove any dry, flaky skin; then, tone and moisturize to create a smooth base for foundation application.

2. Opt for a foundation with no SPF. Zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are common ingredients in foundations that have an SPF rating, and are added to protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Both are white pigments which reflect light and, when combined with the camera flash, can cause the complexion to appear pasty and ghost-like. This doesn’t make for hot shots, unless it’s Halloween! Remember though that if you are outside during the day and not wearing sunscreen, sit in the shade, or seek shelter underneath an umbrella.

3. Choose a matte foundation and powder. These typically work best because they are long-wearing and minimize shine. While light-reflecting foundations and powders make the complexion look radiant to the naked eye, they can react with the camera flash and give the skin a greasy appearance in photos; however, if your skin is dry or deeply lined, choose a semi-matte or satin formulation for a more flattering finish. Achieve a consistent skin tone by powdering the face, neck, collarbone and chest, and don’t forget your ears if they are prone to redness.

Makeup artist tip: Blend foundation outwards from the center of the face. To finish, blend downward to ensure any downy facial hair is lying flat against the surface of the skin.

Applying concealer with a concealer brush

4. Conceal and camouflage. For an overall even complexion, pat an opaque concealer over dark, under-eye circles and on blemishes after foundation has been applied. A pink-based concealer works best to neutralize the gray undertones around the eye, while a concealer that closely matches the foundation color seamlessly disguises spots and imperfections. Set the concealed areas with a light dusting of powder.

Makeup artist tip: Tone down redness (caused by broken capillaries or rosacea) by applying a green-based correcting product to the affected areas before foundation.

5. Contour and highlight. The camera flash can flatten facial features, so contouring and highlighting (using light versus shade) can help give the face dimension in photographs. Areas where light naturally falls on the face should be highlighted (so they protrude), i.e. browbone, top of the cheekbone, collarbone; and areas where shadows are cast should be contoured (so they recede), i.e. crease of the eyelid, underside of the cheekbone, top of the collarbone.

Makeup artist tip: Tonal variation is critical for black and white images – in the absence of color, contrast is the key!

6. Avoid products that are heavily frosted or contain glitter. When the camera flashes, light bounces off highly pearlized pigments and, instead of adding glitz and glamor to a shot, results in splotches and speckles. Products containing a slight shimmer work well in print and give a soft-focus finish, while matte textures provide a more intense color pay-off.

Makeup artist tip: The same rules apply to hair too, so watch out for products like glitter hair spray. On film your pretty hair decoration may look more like dandruff. Eeek!

Applying lip liner

7. Line, define and shape. A bright camera flash can leave the face looking washed out, so give your features form and structure. Shape the lips by outlining them with lipliner, and define the eyes by softly smudging an eye pencil along the top and bottom lashlines. For extra oomph, layer mascara on the lashes and craft a picture-perfect frame by softly contouring the brows with powder. Splash some color around to liven up your look!

8. Buff up the bod! For super-hydrated and luminous-looking limbs slather a rich, nourishing lotion all over your body

Ready! Steady! Shoot!

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