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Picture Perfect Makeup: Tips for Different Styles of Film and Lighting

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 2004

A good professional photographer will be able to shoot you beautifully whether you are indoors or outdoors, but it's helpful to know how lighting will affect the appearance of your makeup. Here are some basic differences between daylight, flash, and black-and-white photography, and how to apply your makeup accordingly.

Daylight
Any flaws in your skin will be more apparent in natural light. That's why it is a good idea to even out your skin tone with foundation. "If some of your pictures will be taken outdoors, put your makeup on in front of a window so you won't be too light- or heavy-handed," says New York City makeup artist and salon owner Eva Scrivo.

Flash
One advantage of flash is that it can help hide imperfections. "Flash will camouflage certain problem areas by making them brighter, so any blemishes, dark circles, or redness won't be as noticeable," says New York City photographer Michael S. Barr. But there are disadvantages: "The main thing to watch out for when using direct flash photography on hot days is shine and reflection, "says Chicago photographer Tricia Koning. Carry a pressed-powder compact or blotting papers (to absorb oil without smudging your makeup) with you, and use them to minimize shine throughout the night. And be sure to use shimmery eye shadow and lip gloss sparingly. Shimmer can reflect back in photos, showing any fine lines or making your face look oily.

Black-and-White Black-and-white photography is often more forgiving to the skin. "The contrast is intense, so you may not see as many flaws," says San Francisco photographer Kurt Prasse. Keep in mind that soft colors appear muted on film, while dark hues can look almost black. If your photographer will be taking mostly black-and-white pictures, be sure to create enough differentiation between your lips and skin by choosing a richer color of lipstick rather than a shade that's too neutral. If red is your everyday lip color, choose a softer red; a tone that's too bright can seem much darker on film.

Picture Perfect Makeup