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Whether you want to prepare for a photo shooting or for a night out where you know that photos are going to be taken or you just want to collect some inspiration, here I am going to talk about what I have been doing for round about 6 years standing more or less frequently in front of the camera.
Let’s work from top to bottom.
Wash your hair the day or the night before!
Freshly washed hair tends to be very soft, which means that hair styles are not going to last that good unless you use tons of hair spray which is neither good for the environment nor for your hair and skin.
If you tend to get greasy hair quite quickly, this might not work.
If you have, like me, wavy hair that when you wash it in the evening tends to look like bad hair day the next morning, using a straightening iron or brushes and hair dryer might help to get it into form again.
Generally speaking opulent hair styles tend to last better and longer if the hair is not freshly washed.
If possible do not use make-up some days before
That gives the skin time to relax and to breath. If this is not possible due to your job or other occasions, then you should remove the make-up properly before going to bed (as we normally all should but not everybody does). Avoid erasing pimples and other actions that cause a reddening of the skin the very day of the shooting/event because no matter how properly you conceal and cover it afterwards, the flash is merciless and will highlight them again.
Choosing a Foundation
Yes, there is special photo make-up that has one big advantage: It covers up every pore of your skin and makes the retouch work of the photographer easier. But if you have to drive with the bus afterwards, don’t be irritated if children shuffle away from you with a scared look, because you might look like a vampire. Plus, after some hours your skin might start itching and you might get the feeling that your skin wants to breath again. Often a well covering foundation works as well.
A must-have in every bag! It’s a really good thing to cover up shadows under the eyes and reddening.
Is use it like this: My concealer has a brush like lipgloss does and I put small dots under my eyes and on top of the movable lid, then I tap it in smoothly. Afterwards I look where there still is a shadow or a reddening and use it again. I tend to be quite generous with concealer ^^
No matter whether you have dark or light coloured eye-brows, it’s always good to accentuate them, because as said before, the flash is merciless and especially with light eye-brows it might look as if there are barely any and then the face loses expression. I use eye-brow wax that is applied with a little brush and afterwards I brush over it again to make it look more natural so that you don’t notice straight away that they were coloured.
Sensitive topic: Generally it is recommended not to use eye shadows with many glittering particles in them. Why? Because the flash will shed light on them which is then reflected, and because eye shadow tends to not always stay where it should and because you don’t want to look like a golden child on carnival, it’s a better option to choose an eye shadow with not so many or even no glittering particles.
I’m an absolute fan of smokey-eyes. Once I understood how to do it thanks to a youtube tutorial (which I’m going to put at the end of this post), I tried it in different variations and it also works for an everyday make-up depending on the colours.
It always seems so difficult but the basic rule is this: choose three colours of one family, a light one, a darker one and a dark one.
Two examples: Classic Smokey-Eyes with black. Choose a cool white as the base and apply it on the movable and also on the immovable lid. You can also use a small tap with the brush in the arch of your eye-brows to accentuate there. Then use the darker colour (let’s say a silver-grey) and apply it on the movable lid. Now close the eye just so as if you’d apply eyeliner and start with the darkest colour (here black) just so as if you’d use eyeliner, then go a little bit higher and brush it in to the middle of the movable lid and follow the curve between the movable and the immovable lid.
Everyday Smokey-Eyes with nude colours: Same procedure, but this time you’d choose a beige for the base, a light brown or gold for the movable lid and a bit of a darker brown for the smokey-eye effect.
As said before it works with nearly every colour. I’ve tried it with pink/violet, yellow/light green/dark green and even white/light blue/and blue and it always worked out.
Eyeliner & Kajal
I’d say it’s essential for a photo shoot because the flash is a merciless bitch and if you haven’t applied eyeliner there is a high possibility that you look as if you haven’t applied make-up at all. And even if the concept says “natural make-up” it’s not bad to draw a very small line on top to accentuate the base of the lashes.
For a natural make-up you can skip the kajal, you’d use that for a more evening like make-up or to finish a dark smokey-eye style.
Always sounds like a big secret, but in reality it’s quite simple. You need a powder that is darker than your own skin colour.
Place yourself in front of the mirror and form an oval with your pointer fingers and your thumbs and place it in front of your face.
Everything that is not in the oval now, you’re going to brush with the dark powder in order that the light is absorbed and not reflected there.
For wide noses it’s also possible to use it at the sides of the nose to make it look slimmer. If you suck in your cheeks as if drinking through a straw and you place shadows there, it might make the face look slimmer in general. (but please be careful with that, unless it is in the concept of the shooting, because if not done very very carefully it tends to look unnatural and even unhealthy)
Rouge & Highlighter
My next favourites! Place rouge on top of your cheek bones and put some highlighter above it. That makes the face look fresh and healthy.
A must-have in every bag: red lipstick.
Fatal: needs to be applied very very accurately!
Some swear on using lipliner and a brush to apply the lipstick, I just do it like I want to that very day.
Attention: Always check in between whether the colour is still covering and shining to avoid having it look like it was “eaten”.
Unless you have gel or artificial nails, check in advance what the photographer wants.
If you realise you have just finished your picasso work on your nails but the photographer wants a nude nail style, get rid of the picasso as soon as possible and take the polish off very properly.
If possible give the nails one day “freedom” before you paint them again. It’s really a nuisance to see at the edge of nude nails the rest of the red polish from beforehand.
As mentioned concerning the face before, avoid doing all those things that cause reddening. So epilating, shaving, peeling & Co. is better done one or two days before the shooting/event because you might get upset when all the reddening you tried to cover up jumps in your face when you watch the pictures later on.
Must-haves in a Shootingbag
Mascara, kajal, eyeliner, brushes, rouge, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, transparent powder (especially when you tend to get shimmery or greasy skin)
strapless bra and strapless top (must-have for beauty shoots!)
hair spray, bobby pins, hair brush, elastics
at least one pair of high heels (yes, even for portraits as the posture of your body tends to make a different expression when standing on high heels instead of chillaxing in thick socks –although this is really nice sometimes-)
thick socks and a warm jacket if it gets cold and you have to warm up in between the sets
Q-Tips to correct errors of make-up
My favourite Tutorials
For make-up: Lisa Eldridge, who also did the make-up for the big celebs
For hair: LuxyHair, where I first understood how to do plaited hair styles, it’s really easy and also nice for everyday hair styles
For nails: (but more for the Picassos ^^) cutepolish
So, I hope I haven’t forgotten anything and that I was able to explain to you some basics and hopefully I was able to help you a little bit.