How to wear makeup for a photo shoot

When you're going into your wedding day, engagement shoot, family session, etc, keep one thing in mind: your photographer is busting their butt to ensure that you look your best. A photo shoot is a great excuse to be as vane as possible about yourself for a day. Since you spend so much time on figuring out all of the details , you should have the mindset that even if you're not going to order an album from your session, that you will at least love ONE photo enough to want to hang it on a wall in your house. There's a reason why Tony and I have not created our wedding album from our wedding 5 years ago. It's because we'd rather have beautiful prints around our house than having them sit in an album that may get glanced at once or twice a year. These prints make me smile every time I look at them and they will have your guests talking, too! 

As an add-on to last week’s post about what to wear for a photo shoot, I've decided to write about wearing makeup for a shoot.  I'm a huge fan of wearing makeup, but that's mostly because my face has never been without its problems. I'm prone to acne and rosacea and I can count on my fingers how many times I've left the house without make up on because of that. I have experimented with SO many different brands of makeup and have searched the interwebs looking for new ways to wear it. I've been wearing makeup for nearly 15 years.

Since I've been applying makeup for this long, does that make me an expert? Absolutely not, but I have picked up quite a few tricks and tips along the way. I have also been photographed a number of times and have photographed other women, so I've learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when applying makeup for a photo shoot. 

Krissy and Tom Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Krissy and Tom Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

If you're one of the lucky girls who can sport a fresh face without a lot of makeup, first off, you don't know how lucky you are and I hate you. Just kidding. But seriously, if you don’t need it- don’t use it! Especially if you're not comfortable with applying it. If you're not comfortable applying your own makeup, I'd recommend hiring someone to do it for you. Just make sure that you go for a trial run to see how you like it before your scheduled photo shoot. Most makeup artists offer a "try it before you buy it" option. You don't want to be uncomfortable with the way you look for your important shoot. 

To start, I'd like to share some images of beautiful women who bared it all (okay, just their faces) in their shoots. In the photo of Krissy and Tom, Krissy did not need a ton of makeup to be beautiful. She knew how to play up her assets, which were her beautiful skin and natural, long lashes. Even in this black and white photo you can see how long those lashes are. Which reminds me- fake eye lashes are your best friend for photos! It may feel like you have a dog lying on your lashes, but it's SO worth it and you'll get used to it. If you don't know how to apply them, bring them with you for your shoot with Mak Rabbitt and I will apply them for you!

Sarah and Robert Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Sarah and Robert Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

In the next photo, Sarah also has a fresh face with just a little touch of mascara. She looks so young and beautiful. 

It is my opinion; however, that the only shoots I’d recommend going natural in are for senior portraits, family photos and Engagement sessions. In these sessions you can look natural and fresh. I feel like women should look as princessy as possible for their wedding day. Like I said, this is just my opinion. 

Okay, so to get started, if you do plan on wearing makeup for your shoot, here are some tips and advice that I hope will help you. I will start off my commenting on some photos taken of myself (since I'm comfortable picking myself apart). Below is a portrait of Tony and me at our engagement session back in 2010. Don't my eyes look amazingly blue? They look like this for a couple of reasons:

- Our photographer, Carol Malick knew what she was doing with light and she used it so that it didn't create shadows on our faces

- I used brown eyeliner (browns makes blues pop). It looks like it's black though, doesn't it? It's not, it's dark brown

- Tony and I are both wearing black, which takes the focus off of our clothes and directs it to our faces

My one criticism is that I put too much eyeliner on my bottom lashes. This actually made my eyes look smaller and not larger. Keep the dark eyeliner around the outer corners of your eyes- this will open them up. Remember, put light colors around the inner eye and get darker as you move towards the outer eye.

Courtesy of Carol Malick

Courtesy of Carol Malick

The next photo of me and Tony was taken just this year in North Carolina. Again, my eyes look really blue because the photographer knew what he was doing and because I stuck to brown/gold tones in my makeup. You can see here that I didn't line the bottom, inner corners of my eyes with eyeliner (although it was so hot that I think my top liner was rubbing off on my bottom lash line a little).

Here's my criticism of this photo- remember in my last week's blog when I wrote about not having too dark of a spray tan or tan lines? I did NOT obey this rule. You see all that white under my chin? Yeah, bad tanning. I have a tan face, white neck, pink chest and white forearms. Fail. Also, I have a huge bruise and some burn marks from an iron on my arm (hazards of being a stay-at-home mom) that I wish he would have touched up for me. If there is something you do not like in your photo, tell your photographer. We try to remove blemishes and bruises and stretch marks, but if we miss something, let us know! I have this picture hanging in my house and I stare at those marks on my arm and grimace.  

Courtesy of Shooters at the Beach

Courtesy of Shooters at the Beach

This next photo is of me and our beautiful daughter, Sophia. Apart from the bad tan lines and burn marks, this photo is pretty good. I didn't wear heavy eye shadow for this shoot because I knew it was going to be on the beach. I stuck with sandy/gold tones that complimented my surroundings and helped created a certain mood. Who knew makeup could be such an important addition to your photo? Also- Sophia looks PERFECT with nothing on her face and no tan. We can all learn a lot from babies...keep them pail and clueless to makeup as long as possible! I wish I still had that skin. 

Courtesy of Shooters at the Beach

Courtesy of Shooters at the Beach

Just to prove it to you, here are some photos of the Mak Rabbitt house. Tony and I have about 15 canvas prints from our beach family shoot day hanging on the walls in our house.  Our parents also ordered canvas prints for their houses. I'm telling you, you will never be sorry that you ordered a nice print to hang. I can see some of your rolling your eyes and saying, "well, you're photographers, of course you have fancy prints because you get a discount." Nope, we don't. We made sure that the artist who took our photos was paid for these prints. So there! I added other photos of our house that show how many prints we have. We have an entire wall in our living room dedicated to our daughter. In fact, the whole family room is dedicated to family photos. 

Mak Rabbitt House Beach Photo shoot canvases

Mak Rabbitt House Beach Photo shoot canvases

Mak Rabbitt house Beach Photo shoot canvases

Mak Rabbitt house Beach Photo shoot canvases

Mak Rabbitt house generations photo

Mak Rabbitt house generations photo

Mak Rabbitt House Beach Photo shoot canvases

Mak Rabbitt House Beach Photo shoot canvases

Mak Rabbitt house Sophia wall

Mak Rabbitt house Sophia wall

Mak Rabbitt house wedding portrait

Mak Rabbitt house wedding portrait

Okay, now for some examples of beautiful people that Mak Rabbitt has captured. The image below is of Andrea and Curt at their engagement shoot. Andrea's eyes look amazing because they are well-defined and the lighting was perfect. She used bronzer to define her cheek bones and had a beautiful pink lip color which worked well with her black and brown toned eye colors.

Andrea and Curt Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Andrea and Curt Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

The next image is of Jennifer and Bryant at their engagement shoot. Jennifer has beautiful, dark skin which makes for an awesome background to allow for more vibrant colors. Lucky girl! Jen's cheeks are nice and rosy, her lip color was subtle, but noticeable and her eye shadow matched her apricot dress.

Jennifer and Bryant Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Jennifer and Bryant Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

This next photo is of Shanna and Tony at their engagement session. Shanna has such gorgeous, porcelain skin that it didn't need much of anything. She just used eyeliner to make those big blues pop and the same toned blush and lipstick. 

Shanna and Tony Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Shanna and Tony EngagementMak Rabbitt Photography

The next examples are side-by-side examples of Sierra's makeup. The image on the right is of Sierra at her engagement session with Taylor and the image on the left is of Sierra on her wedding day. Sierra and Taylor both wore blue in their engagement shoot, but it's not super matchy. Taylor's plaid shirt works with Sierra's solid blue top. Sierra nailed her makeup in both photos. In her engagement photo she applied her around her outer lashes. Her eyes look bigger, don't they? She used a nice, pink blush and a neutral lip. This is a perfect, classic look. On her wedding day, Sierra chose to be a bit bolder. You want your makeup to stand out from that white dress. Her eyes are beautifully done with the light shadow on her inner eye and dark shadow on her outer eye. She used bronzer and blush to define her cheeks and a pretty pink lipstick to finish it all off. 

Sierra and Taylor Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Sierra and Taylor EngagementMak Rabbitt Photography

Sierra wedding portrait. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Sierra wedding portraitMak Rabbitt Photography

Below is a side-by-side of Heather and Tyler at their engagement session and Heather on her wedding day. Heather and Tyler chose to wear black for their engagement shoot. Heather's hair looked amazing as well as her makeup in both photos. She wore dark eye shadow in both portraits, but chose an even darker look for her wedding which worked in both cases. Her cheeks are nice and rosy and since she had on dark eye shadow, she let her lips be neutral. At her wedding, Heather dyed her hair darker, so her makeup matched. It helped create this stunning portrait of her on the stairs at her chapel. 

Heather and Tyler Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Heather and Tyler Engagement. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Heather wedding portrait. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Heather wedding portraitMak Rabbitt Photography

The last photo is of Iryna on her wedding day. Iryna also chose a dramatic eye for her wedding makeup. Again, you'll see the light color towards the inner eye and darker as you move toward the outer eye. Iryna is also wearing fake eyelashes. Can you tell? Bet you can't, but it makes for an awesome addition to your portrait. 

Iryna wedding portrait. Mak Rabbitt Photography

Iryna wedding portraitMak Rabbitt Photography

I told you that I had some tips and tricks of my own for makeup application. I will leave those for you here:

- Most photographers will snap a photo when you're looking down. You could be looking down at your ring for an engagement shoot or looking down at your flowers for a wedding shoot. Regardless, there will be a photo taken of your top lashes! Keep this in mind so that when you or someone else is applying your makeup, that you get mascara on those top lashes. Either get mascara up there or put some fake lashes on. 

- I hate those lying mascaras that say they will extend your lashes 1,000,000 times. Don't fall for it. Your lashes will look crappy 100% of the time. Use a basic mascara that separates and defines without looking clumpy. I have a trick that makes my lashes look fuller: apply a coat of mascara before you apply your eye shadow. The loose particles of shadow will fall onto your sticky lashes. After you apply your shadow, put a second coat of mascara on. This will ensure you get the top of your lashes black and will make your lashes look fuller because the eye shadow created a little texture on your lashes. 

- You do want to apply bronzer to your cheek bones, but if I see ONE more tutorial on how to contour your face on Pinterest, I'm going to freak out. Have you seen those? Geeeeeeez. You don't have to go to that extent to define your features. Just use an angled brush to swipe your bronzer under your cheek bones. That's all you need.

- To go along with insane things, such as extreme contouring, eye brow defining has become a near epidemic. There's no reason your eyebrows should enter the room before you do. If you have trouble with growing brows and need some help to define them, then by all means, use some makeup to draw them in. Please do not make your brows look too angry or crazy by making them dark, long and pointy. You'll thank me.

- Curl your eyelashes. I curl mine like 8 times before I walk out the door. I curl them before I apply mascara, after the first coat and again after the second coat. Okay, I guess that was only 3 times. Keep that curler clean though, you don't want your lashes sticking to it and pulling them out. 

- Take lipstick, powder and a mirror with you on the day of your shoot. All that kissing your fiance, husband or children will rub off :)

- You might find my personal favorite brand of makeup surprising. I like ELF products. I use their foundation, mascara, powders, eyeliners, eye shadows and lipstick. They have so much cute stuff and it's so inexpensive. I have used MAC and Sephora brands and all kinds of other stuff, but it's ELF that has gotten it right. I haven't found a liquid liner from ELF that I like yet, so I use Almay's liquid liner. The brush is felt and makes for easier application.  

Well friends, I really hope this helped! Please add any questions or comments you may have to the comments section below. And to schedule your photo session with Mak Rabbitt visit www.makrabbitt.com.

XoXo,

Sara