Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Looking Your Best for the Camera

Do you have a portrait session coming up and want to look your best? I thought I would spend today talking a bit about what to wear and include a "primer" on make-up as well.  You fill find your session will go much smoother when you take a bit of time to prepare and pamper yourself beforehand.
Let's first start with the non-make up portion, these rules go well for men and women, as well as children.  (Except instead of eye-drops, just make sure your child is well rested.)
  1. Eyes: If your eyes look the least bit tired or red, consider using eye drops.  (But be sure its a brand you've used before!) Visine or Clear Eyes seem to work well for most.
  2. Hands: Make sure your nails are clean, trim, and polished.  (Kids nails should be trim and clean too.)
    • If you polish your nails, stay away from themed nails (polka dots, Zig-zags, etc.) if you're doing a professional session.  
    • A neutral color, sports, or french manicure looks the best and won't detract from the focal point. (YOU!)
  3. Hair: Have your hair styled and make sure if it needs color touch-up you have it done a few days before the session so it has time to settle. Healthy hair looks amazing in-camera!
    • For shorter hair cuts make sure your hair is trimmed about a week before so if you have tan lines, they have a chance to soften.
  4. Skin: Moisturize your hands, arms, neck, face, and legs before your session, dry skin will show up on camera, and elbows and knees are notoriously dry. (Stay away from oily moisturizers to prevent too much shine, and allow enough time for your skin to absorb the lotion prior to your session.)  
  5. Clothes: Select an outfit that is comfortable and something that you know you look good in!  
    • This includes starting with proper fitting undergarments too.  Nothing ruins a session more than a muffin-top or a bra that's too tight and you have to keep "readjusting" or squirming.  
      • Get fitted if needed to ensure you are comfortable.
    • If you need help on selecting an outfit let me know!  Or head on over to my Pinterest boards and get some ideas from one of my "What to Wear" and "My Style" boards to find some inspiration!
Now for the fun part... make-up.  This is one area that you need to do a tad differently so that the camera sees you in a "good light".  I've compiled a few tips here, but feel free to search online to find "how to's" for your facial shape and features.

  1. Go pro!  Getting a professional make-up application not only helps you look your best, but they will know how to apply your make-up for the camera.  
    • They are great at accentuating your features, and helping you look your best.  If you didn't select the make-up option with your package, don't worry, most make-up counters will be happy to help.  
    • Communication is key!  Let them know that your getting ready for a natural-light photography session, and have them stay away from mineral based make up which often doesn't translate well in the camera.
    • A pro is great at finding the right shade of color for your skin tone, as well as helping hide flaws and showcase your best features!
    • They are also great if you don't wear make-up often and could use some help or coaching.
    • Best of all, who doesn't like to be pampered?
  2. Most make-up artists for fashion photography use MAC, however the MAC professional line can only be found in the actual MAC store, and not at the MAC counter of your local department store. 
    • So don't be surprised if like me, you go in with a list of "photo grade" make-up requests only to learn the department store counter doesn't have them. 
      • I still haven't made it to the official MAC store and have found their other products work quite well for natural light photography
  3. If you don't have the time or the desire to "go pro" be sure to apply your make-up in natural light or the light similar to where your session will be.  
    • This will ensure your coverage works for the location, vs looks good under the blue florescent lighting but not flattering in daylight. 
    • Also the older you are, keep in mind that less make-up will actually be more flattering!
  4. Be sure to moisturize and use a good primer.  MAC, Benefit, L'Oreal, and Smashbox all have great photo flattering options.  (Don't forget to moisturize your neck and elbows too!)
  5. Lipstick
  6. For lips, keep them natural but not nude, a bit of color really helps.   If you go bold be prepared to do touch-ups on site. (If you went to the department store counter, ask for a sample so you can reapply it during the session.)  
    • Blended lip liner is your friend!  You can even use it instead of lipstick if you have a color you love!  
    • A dab of gloss is fine too, and will make your lips look more full.
    Lip Pencil
  7. Be sure to use natural colors, and stick to matte or satin finishes, and stay away from mineral based products that can create too much of a glow and shine in-camera.
  8. Find a blush that compliments your skin and blend it in so it looks natural.  (This is where a pro can come in handy!)
  9. For eyes, remember to highlight the brow area and stick to matte colors.  Be sure to blend any harsh lines as they'll be picked up by the camera otherwise.
    • Don't wear frosted or shiny shadows since they often crease.
    • If possible stay away from dark brown and charcoal shadows as well.  
    • For under eyes, don't go too light with the concealer, or it will shine through.  Lemon Aid by Benefit works wonders on dark circles!  (Just be sure to apply it before your foundation.)
    Lemon Aid
  10. Fill your brows with a pencil or powder that matches your hair color. Even if you don't normally, it will make for a more polished look.  (Also be sure to trim any stray hairs if needed.) A trip to the salon a day or two before is even better.  Please DON'T pluck or wax anything the day of your session to avoid redness.
  11. Keep eye liner to a minimum (Brown or black) for a more natural look that emphasizes your eyes.
    • A pro knows tricks in using liner to make your eyes look larger (or smaller) or more even, ask them to show you how!
  12. Be sure to remember your mascara, if you're worried about clumping use a new brush, or fresh tube to ensure it's not dried out.  Waterproof is best so you don't have to worry about it running or smearing during your session.
  13. Mascara
  14. Once you're done, be sure to "set" everything with a translucent powder.  If it's hot out, bring along some extra just in case.
  15. Finishing Powder
It's really not as hard as it sounds, and a bit of pampering beforehand helps make your session even better.  So go ahead, schedule an hour or two of pampering before your session, either at a make up counter, or at a salon.  You'll not only arrive for your session looking great, but you will be more relaxed too, and the camera will love you for it!
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NOTE: This is not a review for products, and I was not paid to mention the brands/types listed, they just happen to be some of my current favorites.