Makeup Tips for Looking Good in Photographs

Whether you wear a good amount of makeup every day, or you hardly wear it at all, there are certain times when you know you're going to be photographed and you want to look your best. It could be a wedding, a family portrait session, or even a friend's birthday party. No matter the event, if you'll be photographed, there are a few simple tips that can help your pics show the best, most beautiful you.

Makeup Tips for Looking Good in Photographs


  • First, foundation and powder are super-important. Whether you wear those regularly or not, be sure to wear them for pictures. The most important thing? Blend, blend, blend. Be sure your foundation and powder match your skin, and blend them down your neck to prevent having that weird line at your jaw.
  • If your shirt or dress is cut low, apply some powder to your neck, decolletage... even your shoulders, if needed. Powder reflects light, while skin absorbs it, so if your face has powder but your neck and chest do not, you may have a white-looking face and darker-looking body areas in photos.
  • Use tinted powder, not translucent. A lot of women love translucent powder for daily use, but in pictures, translucent powder can tend to look grey-ish or ashy. Stick with a powder that is yellow-based and matches your skin.
  • Shine is your enemy. In pictures, shine or a "dewy" look will just look greasy. Use matte makeup on your skin.
  • Concealer is your friend. Use concealer for under-eye darkness, blemishes, or even for shadow-y or deeply wrinkled areas. Just be absolutely certain to blend it well. Non-blended concealer will look obvious and strange on camera.


  • The one thing to keep in mind for eyes: Contrast. No matter what color of eyeliner and mascara you use daily, for photos, always go black. It's the only way to look polished on camera.
  • When it comes to shadow, use a light shade on your brow bone and a darker or stronger shade on the bottom half of your lid. If desired, you may also use a super-dark shade in the crease. Again, the most important thing is to blend it. Make sure your dark shadow is blended upwards so it can be seen with your eyes open as well as closed. And don't be afraid to use more makeup than usual- makeup will always photograph lighter and weaker than it looks in person.
  • Even if you never do it, lining the inner rim of your lower lid adds to the contrast and makes your eyes pop big-time.


  • Blush is one of those things that a lot of women- particularly younger generations of women- just don't use. It doesn't matter whether you wear blush all the time or not- for pictures, it makes a huge difference and prevents a washed-out, pale look. If you're not comfortable applying it, try this: Looking in the mirror, smile. You want to apply blush lightly right at the apple of your cheeks, which is the part that pokes out and pops up when you smile. Blend it upwards and backwards a little bit. You don't want a streak of blush, nor do you want a perfect circle. Not sure what shade to use? Try a peachy or apricot shade. Peachy tones work well on virtually everyone- except those with super-fair skin. For fair skin, try a rosy shade. You may also use a light bronzer powder that's not too much darker than your skin tone.


  • Again, contrast is important. Your lips will kind of disappear in photos if they are not defined. This is a time you definitely want to use lip liner. With a liner that matches your lipstick shade, line your lips. Then apply your lip color. Gloss works well in pics, too. Darker and/or stronger shades photograph a bit better than neutral shades do, so if you usually keep it neutral, try a coral, rosy or even a berry shade.


  • One tip that can make or break a polished-looking photo has to do with eyebrows. Brows can look undone and scarce in pictures. Use a shadow powder, brow liner or eyeliner that matches your eyebrows to fill in your brows. You don't need to do anything other than fill the brows in. This will complete your whole look and give your face a polished and complete look.

If you can, check your makeup (or apply it) in natural light. Also, if you have the chance, take your own picture (with flash) and see how it looks. You may be surprised to find that you need a bit more mascara or blush. Remember to take your lip color with you to the event for touch-ups, and you'll be gorgeous in all your pics the rest of the evening.

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