I’ve been wanting to update my social media profile picture for some time, as it was outdated and let’s face it, a bit dowdy. I’d scheduled a hair color touch up and cut with my friend Brian who is the creator and owner of Makeover Workshop and asked if he’d be interested in showing me how to apply makeup for a photo shoot. I thought it would be a fun blog post to document the process, and luckily he had some open time on his schedule and was enthusiastic about the project.
If you have any events coming up this year (weddings, graduations, anniversaries) or celebrations of any kind where either professional or other posed photos may be taken, you may want to adjust and amp up your makeup. I’ll post Brian’s top tips for makeup for portraits or photography at the end, but the goal is to look like yourself, adding a bit of definition to your features that the camera will pick up. I wasn’t going for a “glamour” or party makeup shot here, just wanted a natural daytime look. This is more makeup that I wear on a day-to-day basis (LOTS more) but I was very pleased with the results, and picked up some tricks and products that I’ve incorporated into my quick daily makeup routine.
As someone whose makeup routine usually consists of maybe 6 products, this looked a little intimidating when arranged all together. But fear not…
So this is the one and only time you’ll ever see me without any makeup here. 🙂 Not terrible, but my features kind of disappear on camera, and I have some unevenness in skin tone that IMO makes me look a bit tired.
It’s important that skin is prepped and moisturized before applying makeup. Brian started off with his Re-Creation Skin Firming Serum and Super All-Day Moisture Crème. As Brian notes below, when being photographed, especially with flash, you want to avoid any high SPF products. He then added a bit of Moisture Glow, which adds a bit of radiance.
Rather than applying foundation first, Brian likes to start with the eyes, as they will be the focal point. First, a base of Eye Shadow Magnet in Natural to even out skin tone on my eyelids, and help eyeshadow to stay put. He used a flat Face & Eye Conceal Brush for this application, pressing the product on more than sweeping.
Then some highlighter in the inner corners of the eyes and on the brow bone. Brian uses his Naked Glow Eyeshadow to highlight. This helps you to look more awake and “lifts” the brow a bit.
The concept of Makeover Workshop isn’t just to have a professional apply makeup, but to teach you how to re-create the looks. Brian demonstrates on one side, then his clients do the other. It’s a great way to learn the techniques!
As I have hooded eyes, Brian utilized the same application technique as previously shared here, applying Sahara Eye Shadow above the crease (important to use a matte shadow for this), and a little bit of Broadway Eye Shadow on the lid.
Now here was a game-changer for me: black eyeliner. Brian applies at the lash line from underneath (note: you’re applying at the roots of the lashes, NOT on the water line) then just a little bit over the top from the middle of the eye to the outer edge (again right at the lash line).
After applying the top part, use the sponge on the other end of the liner pencil to smudge just a little, then using just the sponge, apply to the product picked up to outer part of the bottom lid. The effect is soft, but defined. Then, Brian went over the black eyeliner on top with a little bit of the Bark Eye Shadow to soften.
Next, Brian applied the Tinted Primer in Light. After applying the primer, we agreed that was enough coverage for a natural light photo and decided to skip the foundation. But if you have redness, unevenness, spots or any pigmented lesions, a light application of foundation might be helpful. Then some Work & Play Concealer in Cool Light Medium under the eyes and (here’s a neat trick!) around the corners of the nose where most of us have some redness, and around the mouth to help define the lip area.
Now I’ll admit, by this point I was getting pretty twitchy because BROWS. Filling in and defining my brows is one of my most important makeup steps, and is the one thing I never skip. Ah, whew! There we go.
I’ve been using Brian’s brow pencil in Blondi for some time now. It’s a great one-and-done product. Use that spoolie on the other end after applying to comb through for a softer and more natural look.
Finally, an application of blush (Cheeky Glow Creme Blush in “Blooming”), lip liner…
Here’s the finished look. As you can see, it’s not “makeup-y” but my features are a bit more defined.
Oh, all right, because I know we all love these…Makeup Before and After:
Here are Brian’s tips for Portrait or Headshot photography:
- For photos use sunscreen sparingly. Use very minimal moisturizers, foundations and primers that contain sunscreen if you will be using flash photography.
- If you are going to be taking photos outside then do you makeup facing a widow with diffused lighting coming in through the window. If the photos will be taken inside or in a studio do your makeup where the photos will be taken with that lighting.
- If flash/strobe light will be used for the photos know that the light will over expose the skin and makeup. Because of the over exposure from the flash you can use more makeup. In natural outdoor lighting less makeup is needed. Blush will wash out with flash/strobe photography, so be more generous. In outdoor lighting a lighter touch will be needed for blush.
- With foundation be sure to apply foundation down onto the neck and into the chest/décolleté area. Match the foundation perfectly to the skin tone. Use a bronzer to even out the lightness of foundation or unevenness from the forehead to the chest
- Be generous with moisture including serums and moisturizers for your skin before doing your eyes. I prefer to use a moisturizer like Moisture Glow under all of my foundations, primers tinted or not tinted. The glow/illuminating moisturizer gives the skin a translucent glowing light from within appearance
- Use black eyeliner instead of any other shade of eyeliner this will give the most framing and pop for the eyes.
- Practice your makeup application a couple of times before your portrait/headshot. If you can have a professional do your makeup.
- On the eyes for Fair Skin use neutral colors: brown, taupe, cool tone browns and fleshy crème color. For Medium/Olive tones use brown, warm brown, dusty mauve, and sand/beige. On Bronze to Ebony skin tone use caramel, mahogany, golden brown, deep chocolate brown, burgundy and black tones.
- For all skin tones go easy on frost colors keeping them to a minimal on the eyelid and a very slight soft amount under the eye brow.
- Use very little powder on the skin or face. It shows up when photographing particularly if there is peach fuzz.
- Frame the face and eyes by filling in your brows with a brow pencil; I use Blondi Brow pencil, which is a neutral ash tone for fair to medium skin tones. Use Brunette (brown) brow pencil for darker medium tone and ebony skin tones.
- Line lips with a lip liner to frame and accentuate the lips. Use lipstick and/or gloss to finish.
- It’s important to curl your lashes to open the eyes particularly for photos. If you can have false lashes applied use individual lashes for a natural look. Apply a light coat of mascara to get the false lashes and your own lashes to meld together.
Brian offers Makeover Workshop classes year-round in Los Angeles and several other cities. If you’re interested in a class schedule you’ll find here, and you can also follow the Makeover Workshop Facebook Page for updates on schedules and classes.
Do you have any favorite makeup tips or tricks for photographs? Any questions for Brian, please feel free to ask in comments.
Thank you, Brian!!
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