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HOW TO: Do Your Makeup For a Photo Shoot: A Step-by-Step Tutorial for Looking Lovely on Camera

Updated on December 21, 2014
Me without makeup. Note the dark circles.
Me without makeup. Note the dark circles.

Introduction

Recently, I had a new photo shoot for my author photo. For our test shots, we ended up taking two pictures of me: one before I had any makeup on, and one after I was all finished.

Since I was preparing to be photographed, I did heavier makeup from my every day, which made me realize that this was a great opportunity to showcase some of the products I use, since they're more obvious in my "after" picture than they usually are.

Plus, this was after my hair was done, so I don't look quite like the witch I usually do when I'm bare-faced.

e.lf. Studio Lip Exfoliator before and after.
e.lf. Studio Lip Exfoliator before and after. | Source

Prepare for Makeup

(Anyone else hearing Team Rocket in their heads? Prepare for trouble...)

First of all, make sure your face is clean and moisturized and that your lips are exfoliated (I love e.l.f.'s Studio Lip Exfoliator for this, pictured here) and balmed. You don't want lipstick on flaky lips or concealer on flaky skin.

My eyebrows, in case you can't tell from the above photo, are the bane of my existence. I've since invested in the Tweezerman Mini Brow Rescue Kit, below, which is amazing, but I didn't have it at the time. If only. So the picture above has my eyebrows as good as I could get 'em, so plucked as much as they would pluck and laid flat as much as they would lay flat. If you like to powder or gel your brows, that comes later.


Tweezerman Brow Rescue Kit. I don't know what makes Tweezerman tweezers so much better than all others, but trust me, it's legit.
Tweezerman Brow Rescue Kit. I don't know what makes Tweezerman tweezers so much better than all others, but trust me, it's legit. | Source
Maybelline Color Stick Concealer. Make sure your under-eye concealer is very creamy; that thin skin needs moisture.
Maybelline Color Stick Concealer. Make sure your under-eye concealer is very creamy; that thin skin needs moisture. | Source

Skin

I start with a creamy concealer, like Maybelline Cover Stick Concealer (pictured right) underneath my eyes and on my eyelids up to my brow bone. It's amazing the difference lightening the skin on your eyelids can make towards making you look more awake and bigger-eyed.

Then, the spots on my chin and around my jaw line get dabs of my favorite cover up in the whole wide world, Benefit Bo-Ing (below) in a color that matches my skin tone exactly. I love how full-coverage this stuff is without ever feeling heavy. I also rub some of this on my nose because I'm obsessed with my nose pores and they will be the death of me.

Little bit of blush, whatever you like. When i doubt, try to match your lipstick shade. Since it's going on your skin, which is a different color from the natural color of your lips, it won't look too matchy-matchy.

Tip: If your eyes are looking especially tired or if you have very blue-based dark circles, try dabbing some blush lightly under your eyes before applying concealer to cancel out the blue tones.

Bo-Ing Concealer from Benefit Cosmetics. Never leave me, Benefit.
Bo-Ing Concealer from Benefit Cosmetics. Never leave me, Benefit. | Source
Benefit They're Real! Mascara
Benefit They're Real! Mascara

Eyes

Whether or not you regularly use them, eyelash curlers and mascara are not optional for photo shoots, where your eyelashes are never going to be as prominent as they are in real life. Curl once at the base of your lashes, and once again 3/4 of the way down. Mascara should be black, unless your eyelashes are absolutely blond, in which case you can use brown. Do not use colored mascara on your lower lashes--it never looks right--but you can use clear if you like.

Being a Benefit fangirl, I used They're Real! (pictured right) for this look.

I skipped eyeshadow for this because it look very dated and because at the time I didn't have a subtle yellow eyeshadow that I liked. Now that I do, it's back to being one of my favorite tricks. It double-duties the effect you get from putting concealer on your eyelids by cancelling out discoloration and making your eyes look brighter.

For eyeliner, I used a purple eyeliner pencil (below) because I have green eyes. Black eyeliner is fun, but I wanted you to see me, not my makeup.

New York Color eyeliner in Smoky Plum is a great color for green eyes.
New York Color eyeliner in Smoky Plum is a great color for green eyes.

Lips

Okay, so I can't resist a bright lip. My usual look is something red (although recently I discovered Life Entropy's Apoptosis lip color and it is changing my lipstick life) but for this photo shoot I needed something I knew would work with my hair, and lipstick and pink hair can be treacherous.

So I went with my old standby, OCC Lip Tar in Trollop (right) and blotted it like crazy, since Lip Tars are strooooong.

Some translucent powder to set, concealer in my pocket for touch-ups, and I was ready to go.


The Final Result:

All dolled up. Don't worry, I fixed my hair after.
All dolled up. Don't worry, I fixed my hair after.

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