10 Expert Tips for Getting Camera-Ready

Michele Mann applying make-up to a woman.

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Image: Behind the Scenes at Dicks & Nanton

Camera-ready makeup isn’t about heavy coverage or overly bright colors. It’s about understanding how and what the camera is going to see. It’s about proper tone, accentuation, and shining from the inside out!

With a little skill, you can coax the camera to see certain things and ignore others.

1. Don’t try anything new on your hair or skin right before a shoot.

The best way to own a look is to give yourself a little time. Don’t try new hair dyes or cuts without a few weeks to let it grow and become a part of you. If you’re not completely familiar and confident about your look, the camera may pick up on it!

You don’t want chemical peels and other skin treatments right before a shoot, either. The redness and peeling will be incredibly problematic.

2. Eat well, hydrate, and get enough sleep.

We can not stress this one enough! There is nothing more radiant and gorgeous than someone who is healthy and well-rested.

The effects of stress and tiredness show up on skin as redness and dark splotches. These can be diffused and concealed by a makeup artist for the most part. However, there’s nothing like a good diet full of the vitamins and minerals provided by vegetables. They will help keep your hair and skin nourished, youthful, and luminous.

Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin from drying out. It’ll also keep swelling at bay.

3. Take care of flyaways.

This one is overlooked a lot! Flyaways create an unflattering halo that is distracting and messy. Blow dry downward on high and tame flyaways with a smoothing serum.

4. Prep your skin. Moisturize!

Clean, moisturized skin is the ideal palette to work on. The camera will pick up on dry or overly oily skin. Cleanse your skin, apply moisturizer, let your skin absorb it, then move on to primer.

Primer will ensure that your foundation doesn’t sink into your skin. Use eye shadow primer, as well, when you’re ready to move on to eye makeup!

5. Use non-SPF foundation.

The SPF in certain foundations tends to look white-ish on camera. Blend foundation well, especially around the hairline and jawline. The camera will easily spot lines of demarcation!

If you’re concerned about the sun, pick a setting powder with SPF instead.

6. Keep shine in check.

Shine is super-distracting, particularly in HD! In still photos, camera flashes will emphasize shine and pick up on unevenness:

  • Keep blotter ready for when you step in front of the camera
  • Use light-diffusing foundations and concealers
  • Pick natural, matte shades (more on picking shades below)

7. Use shimmer sparingly.

A little shimmery white or champagne eye shadow in the inner corners of your eyes will brighten and widen your eyes. A fine shimmer can bring out some areas:

  • Bridge of nose
  • Cupid’s bow on the lips
  • Top of the cheekbone

In general, though, shimmery or pearlescent makeup does not translate well on camera. Shimmer sends light in all different directions, so the camera picks up strange shadows and shades. It can even look a little like dirt.

Bronzers and blush should be matte.

8. Be true to your own natural beauty. Pick the right shades.

On the face:
Your bronzer should only be a touch darker than your natural skin tone. Any more will run the risk of looking orangey.

Choose a soft, fleshy shade for the cheeks. Use a little more than usual so the camera will pick it up.

On the eyes:
Eyes define a character. They are noticed right away, and they say so much!

Pick non-shimmery colors in neutral shades for the lids. You want people to notice the eyes and not the makeup color. Think soft: soft beige, soft brown, soft pink, or soft peach shades.

Don’t go darker on your eyebrows. It will age you and bring too much attention to them. But full eyebrows project youth and frame the eyes! Fill in with a color that matches your natural brow color.

On the lips:
Avoid the extremes of light, dark, and shimmer.

Don’t use overly dark lipstick. It will age you. Nude or pale lips will disappear on camera! Line lips in a matching shade or slightly lighter than your lipstick.

A touch of gloss can make your teeth look brighter. Don’t go overboard, though, or it will look garish on camera!

9. Highlight a little more than everyday beauty makeup.

Try shading with a matte bronzer. Gently suck in your cheeks and shade the under parts of your cheeks. Then smile and dab blush on the apples of your cheeks.

Use a slightly heavier hand with your blush to balance out your eyes and lips on camera. Just be sure to blend well!

Use a liquid liner for your top eyelid, using a soft black, charcoal, or brown.

10. Blend well and keep even skin tone in mind.

Every step of the way, blend, blend, blend (not to be confused with smudging). Lines of demarcation stand out on camera, so make sure there are none.