Makeup For Photography

Modelling is perhaps the most difficult of professions, because you are judged on both your performance as well as your looks. There are many simple things that you can do to help you to become a successful professional.


Some feel that makeup and trick photography can overcome all flaws in the appearance, but this is not true. Makeup can just make you look your best in front of the camera, and a skilful photographer can employ many techniques to downplay flaws and highlight the better features.

Makeup helps model look their best. Since a photograph becomes a permanent record of a moment in time, models captured at that moment must look their best. “Looking their best” can mean many things, depending upon the objective that the models being photographed for. The objective may demand them to be most attractive, most intelligent looking, most dignified, most thoughtful, or that they look the part of whatever character they are meant to personify.

Professional models and the photographers who take their pictures know that the most important enhancement of an individual’s face is not only achieved by the application of make up, but also by a healthy appearance. Maintaining good health ensures that a model’s eyes and skin looks best. In this case, any amount or style of make up will do. Getting lots of sleep and drinking plenty of water are keys to great looking skin.

Many different things come into play in creating a photograph that fulfils the objectives, including a model’s expression, carriage, body language, state of mind, actions, physical attributes, clothing and so on. If someone truly feels that they look the way they want to, then it is often easier for them to actually portray the image they wish to convey, adopting the body language, expression and so on that suit the role. “Looking the part” is where makeup for photography comes in.

Why Use Makeup?

There are two objectives in using makeup, appearance enhancement and character change.


The common goal is to enhance a model’s skin and features in order to make them appear as attractive as he or she can be. Makeup can be used to correct certain shortcomings and problems, such as skin imperfections and short eyelashes, and can even alter the appearance of a person’s facial structure.


The goal of makeup is what we readily associate with the entertainment industry, and that is the creation of a much altered or completely different Looking character, for example, a haute couture or space alien. However, character change need not be so extreme. It also happens in the modelling industry, where the look of the model is altered to suit a particular role or character he or she is meant to portray while shooting for the advertising of a product. What would the theatre be without the skilled hands of a character makeup specialist?

Makeup For Photography

The model that learns basic makeup techniques at the initial stage has a head start over others. Professional photographers employ makeup artists for the shoot of professional models, and for portraits of ordinary people. Most often, however, portraits are made of people who apply their own makeup, or who do not use makeup at all, and it is not uncommon for models to be expected to take care of their own makeup needs. Thus, a model that has a good understanding of the theory and personal application of makeup has a definite edge over the model that does not. Similarly, a portrait of a person with proper makeup will be far better than a portrait of a person who has not applied any makeup at all.

The complexity of photography is that it tends to capture not only good attributes but also the flaws of the person being photographed. Some say a photograph will even exaggerate the less desirable attributes. For example, one will often hears that the camera adds weight to a person, tends to make skin look rougher, makes blemishes stand out or causes features to be more defined.

Once your makeup is properly applied, it leads to greater confidence while posing in front of the camera. Photography can do all of these things, but it does not have to. The skills of the photographer, the image stylist, the hairdresser and the makeup artist can do exactly the opposite, ie., make a person look less heavy, make their skin look smoother, remove many blemishes and skin flaws, and downplay facial features. A big part of their ability to do so comes in identifying and defining the flaws in the first place, so they can come up with a game plan to deal with them. At the same time, they must recognize the more flattering features of their subject. Properly applied makeup enhances attractive features, it does not create them.

The Art of Photography Enhanced

Shoot near a big window with lights coming in so that natural lighting is used during the photography session. If photography is taking place outdoors, do so in the evening around 4 pm to 5 pm, when the sun is about to set. Soft lighting enhances the appearance.

Preparing the face
Wash, exfoliate, tone and moisturise your face before applying makeup. Oil control is very important. If you can, use oil free formulated products. Keep hair away from the face.

Choose a thicker formulated foundation rather than the sheer one that are used in daily applications so that all blemishes are covered easily. Blend foundation from chin to neck so that they are of the same colour.

Use lots of it, and re apply between shots, so as to create a matt finish look.

Two shades lighter than skin to cover blemishes and dark spots; apply before foundation application.

Highlight eyebrow bones using light shadow to create lively eyes. Avoid eye shadow that is too frosty or shimmery because it will appear shiny. Apply eyeliner with precision. Use waterproof mascara. Overall application needs to be more than normal makeup.

Use lipstick and liner of same colour, in a shade darker than natural lip colour

Mohen Naorem is the Executive Editor in a fashion magazine, He is associated with a non profit organisation,

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