How to Look Good in Photos | Part 2: Style & Make-up
In my previous post I concentrated on the basic principles on looking good for photographs, namely facial expression, posture and pose. In this post, I’ll give you a few pointers on selecting the right outfit and make-up for occasions where cameras tend to lurk!
Comfort: You won’t look comfortable unless you feel comfortable. It’s critical that you choose an outfit that flatters your best features and camouflages any areas that you feel self-conscious about e.g. if you’re worried about your upper arms, then don’t choose a sleeveless top. Elsewhere, don’t wear an outfit that is a size too small with a control knickers underneath – the camera will pick up on any lumps, bumps or knicker-lines, I promise!
Colour: Colour tends to look more attractive on camera than black. If you are going for black, choose fabrics that will reflect rather than absorb light e.g. silk instead of wool.
Pattern: Avoid bold patterns as these can look overwhelming on camera. Elsewhere, avoid close-set stripes, which can come out looking blurry. Your best best is to choose solid colours or muted patterns.
Fabric: Choose wrinkle-free fabrics. Similarly, avoid abundant glitz (e.g. too many sequins, diamanté etc.) as they can cause problems with flash photography.
Hemlines: Watch skirt hemlines, particularly when sitting down! It’s amazing how cruel cameras can be, especially when we’re wearing skirts above knee-length. Just be careful when you sit down that you’re not flashing too much flesh. Similarly, treat low necklines with extreme caution.
Caroline’s Top Tip: When buying an outfit for a special occasion, I suggest that you ask politely whether you can photograph it in advance of purchase (even if it’s just on your phone camera). That way you will quickly determine whether the outfit is camera-friendly or not.
Caroline applying make-up at Ryan’s Jewellers. Photo by Morning Star Photography.
Foundation: Avoid using products that contain an SPF as it will ‘bounce off’ a camera flash and make your skin look extremely white. Similarly ‘light reflecting’ products are a no-go as again they will rebound off the flash and make you look very white. Read a previous post on this topic.
Powder: Always set your make-up with powder if you anticipate that you will be photographed as it will prevent your skin from becoming oily or shiny (which looks terrible on camera). Avoid powders that contain titanium dioxide as these reflect white on camera.
Concealer: Avoid light-relecting concealers e.g. Touche Éclat and instead opt for matte formulations.
Blush: Use a bit more blush than you’re used to as camera flashes tend to wash out the skin. I suggest to brides that they avoid shimmery or creamy formulations as the glow they create can look like perspiration on camera. Instead, opt for powder-based blushes, and if you like, use a small bit of a highlighter at the top of the cheekbones only.
Bronzer: Apply bronzer to areas where the sun hits naturally i.e. top of the forehead, down the nose. I often use bronzer under the cheekbones to create a contoured effect (i.e. defined, high cheekbones).
Lipstick: I think personally that lipstick looks better on camera than gloss. Go for a lipstick with a lovely creamy texture and luscious sheen and be sure to line your lips carefully with a matching lip pencil (blending the colour all over the lips). If you do wish to wear a gloss, then choose one that isn’t too gloopy or sticky – otherwise it will get stuck to your teeth, hair etc. MAC and Bobbi Brown lipglosses are the best in my opinion.
Eyes: There are no strict rules when it comes to eye-make-up for photography, except that precision and neatness are critical. Be careful of shimmery or glitter products for example which can fall onto the rest of the face, which in turn get picked up by the camera flash.
Caroline’s Top Tip: Practice your make-up look before a big event. Or if you are planning to have you make-up applied by a professional (e.g. weddings, debs etc.) consider getting a trial done. Take plenty of pictures of the trial look to see how it translates on camera.