Makeup Tips for Flawless Photos

Photo-Ready Makeup Doesn't Always Mean More Makeup

 Mengwen Cao/Getty Images

Planning the perfect makeup look can be time consuming. Are you going for a bold or natural look? How long do you need it to last? Most importantly, if you're planning makeup for photos, what products should you use or avoid? For a photo-ready makeup routine that's a little less stressful, hopefully our tips will help. Start with prepping your skin, and then get down to business with your face, cheeks, lips, and eyes. Brushes give the best results when you apply makeup, giving flawless coverage. Use them with foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer, eyeshadow, and lipstick for precise application and even coverage.

Prep Your Base

Before you begin applying your makeup or concealer, start with a good moisturized base. This doesn’t mean that you need to switch from your regular skincare routine. Instead, just remember to follow your regular skincare regimen before applying your makeup. It's a good idea to use a deep cleansing or deep moisturizing facial mask two days before you have a professional photo shoot, which will make your skin look more refreshed. If you the cleanse or mask brings anything out of your skin (i.e. blemishes) it should go away by the time you’re ready for your close-up. We love Glossier's Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, which helps clear and calm skin. 

Next, apply a good makeup primer. The L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base is affordable, can be used all over the face including under the eyes, and really works some magic to make your makeup look flawless yet comfortable. Apply an even layer of makeup primer all over your face and under your eyes and blend downward onto your jawline and neck.

Create Flawless Foundation

Now that you have your skin prepped and primed, apply foundation. Use a good photo-ready or high- definition foundation. Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation is a little pricey, but it creates a flawless base. Its buildable coverage means that it doesn't look cakey or fake, and it creates a natural, dewy finish. 

After applying your foundation, don’t forget to use concealer to cover spots and small blemishes and help camouflage dark circles. A concealer with a yellow undertone helps hide those flaws better. Choose one that matches your skin tone closely. Tarte's Shape Tape Concealer is a Byrdie editor favorite, and it blends out amazingly. 

For definition, apply some bronzer. Brush is across your temples, under the jawline, under your cheekbones, and on the sides of the nose and blend well.

If you want a natural flushed look, apply some blush, too. A cream cheek color or cheek stain will add a nice color base for any added powder cheek color later. It may seem like color overload, but remember that photos tend to wash out the color in the face, so you have to make sure you have just the right amount of color showing. Focus the cheek stain on your cheekbones and blend, blend, blend. For a product that does double duty, check out Stila's Lip and Cheek Cream

Use a bit of highlighter on the top of your cheeks above the blush, down the center of your nose, and in the corners of your eyes to bring light to the high points of your face. 

After you finish your cheeks, set your entire face with a light powder, like a high-definition loose powder or a mineral makeup mineral veil product. Koh Gen Do Mainfanshi UV Face Powder leaves skin looking poreless, but it doesn't cause that ghost-like look when you take photos with flash. Keep in mind no matter what powder you choose that a little will go a long way; don’t pile it on or you will look chalky in your photos. 

Make Your Eyes Pop

We all love a photo where your eyes take center stage. To emphasize your gorgeous eyes, sometimes less is more. Too much makeup can actually do more to hide your eyes than emphasize them. Find a happy balance of color, liner, and mascara. To begin, find a good eyeshadow color for your eye color. Choose a color that suits your style and eye color, but keep in mind that mattes work better in photos than shimmery or glittery shades. The simplest eye for a photo shoot is to use a single color on the eyelid area going into the crease. Follow this with a light shade as a highlighter on the brow bone.

Eyeliner can help define your eyes, too, but don’t go overboard. Keep it simple with a thin line along your lashes by using a black or dark brown eyeliner or a liquid in the same shades. It’s OK to slightly extend the liner beyond the corner of your eye, but steer clear of cat eyes and long extended eyeliner lines. This will only focus the photo on your eyes instead of your entire face. 

To complete the eye look, apply a thickening and lengthening mascara. Long, full lashes will frame your eyes and also lift them. We love L'Oreal's Lash Paradise Mascara, which adds the perfect amount of volume and length without clumping.  

Finally, finish your eyes by cleaning up any fallout that may have collected under your eye area from the eyeshadow or mascara. Do this by gently rolling a Q-tip under your eye area and then lightly buff with your mineral powder brush.

Defining the Lips

The rule on lip color is the same as the overall rule for photo makeup: Don’t go too bold. Again, a happy medium for color is needed. Begin with a lip liner that is either neutral in color or one that matches your natural lip tone. Line and fill in your lips with the lip liner. 

You can also use a light lip gloss, a lipstick, or both. A good strategy is to use a light to medium lipstick in a pink or plum shade, depending on your hair and skin tones. 

Then, add a small dab of clear or light pink lip gloss in the center of your lips and gently rub to blend outward. Just remember to look at your lips in the mirror and if you can’t see them at all or your lips are all you notice, then you need a do-over.

Finishing Up

When you are having photos taken, it is not the time for experimenting with new makeup shades or trends. Also, don’t forget to pluck, tweeze, wax, or groom any areas of your face that need that attention the day before so your skin doesn’t look red or swollen the day of the shoot. This is very important for your eyebrows and upper lip area.

If your brows look good, but you accidentally over-plucked, don’t panic. Simply fill in your brows slightly with a good eyebrow pencil or brow powder. Keep them looking natural by filling in with short, upward strokes. 

Don’t forget to find out the location of the photo shoot. If it is outside, you should do a dry-run with your makeup by applying it and then going outside to make sure it looks good in natural light. You may also want to consider a good hydration mist, especially for outside in warm weather. Finally, don’t forget to take your makeup items in a bag in your purse. Then you'll have them at the ready if you need a quick touch-up on your eyes, lips, or face.

Watch Now: Makeover Makeup: Look Younger