Photoshoot Makeup (Part 1)

Posted on March 6, 2013


Something that is key as a model is being able to do your own makeup. The bulk of photographers out there won’t have a MUA (makeup artist). Any model who can’t or doesn’t do their own makeup will be looked at as a “Diva”. Because of this, it is important to understand the steps and what you need to do for makeup. This post won’t go into the actual application but rather offer tips that will help you out making some of the decisions everyone makes when applying makeup for a photoshoot.

Makeup for a photo shoot is different than the every day makeup you normally wear. When you get in front of a camera, the makeup you use should be camera ready or high definition labeled. This means the makeup is designed for use in front of a camera. The worst makeup to use are mineral based makeups that aren’t camera ready. Have you ever seen an image with a lot of white dots all over a person’s face? That is because the mica or titanium dioxide wasn’t ground down to a fine enough powder. With mineral makeups, this is intentional as it helps to hide imperfections. With photographer lighting, it only acts like a light mirror and creates a lot of white dots. The only way to fix this in post production is to either edit each dot individually or blur the skin so you can’t see them. I am not one who likes the blurring technique because it makes the skin look like plastic. If there are a lot of dots, doing them individually is not really an option.

If you have dark rings under your eyes, I often suggest that models use something like Photo Op by Smashbox. This provides moisturizers and nutrients, puts some shiny material to reflect light, and works to eliminate dark circles under your eyes. Please note that this won’t get rid of all of them, but can minimize them enough to be able to be covered up with traditional makeup. For anyone who has these dark rings, I highly recommend that you use something like this under your eye and then wait three to five minutes before going any further with your makeup application. I don’t know any other products like this or I would recommend them here.

Start with a clean face and primer. I know that most MUA don’t prime the models. I highly recommend that you do for several reasons. A primer coats and protects the skin, smoothing out imperfections, and creating a good application surface for makeup. It will fill in pores and smaller wrinkles making them smooth out and fade away in images. This is key if you work in hot sun light on a summer day or with hot studio lights or your pores will fill with beads of sweat – with the primer, sweat tends to not form as big of a pool in the pore before going down the face. These can also create white dots on the face. Keep in mind these are very small amounts. Primers also contain peptides and other nutrients that help nourish your skin. Another thing that a primer can do is start the process of correcting skin colour. For instance, with a lot of red tones in the skin, you can apply a green tone primer and correct some of the red and pink tone you see. This won’t fix all of the tone like a concealer, but the correction will be a good start.

You now have a face ready to apply the rest of your makeup (part 2). In the next installment, we will cover some more helpful tips and suggestions for doing your makeup for a photo shoot.