How To Have Photo Ready Hair & Makeup | Charlotte Photographer


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October 5, 2018

Guest Post By Alexa Little


Alright ladies, so we all know how important well-applied makeup and hair is for your big photoshoot.  However, sometimes women don’t fully understand the difference between well applied makeup for daily life, and well applied makeup for photoshoots.  I promise there is a significant difference. This distinction is due to the fact, that when you are being photographed, you have become the model.  For most of us in our daily lives, we are not models (role models, yes, but not actual professional models), so it is not as important for us to rely fully on our bodies/faces to convey all the messages we want others to receive.  We have voices, thank God!  On the other hand, in photos the only thing we have to relay the messages we want, is our makeup, hair, clothing choice, and location.  For example, picture what someone would look like if they wanted a vintage vibe photoshoot.  Now picture, someone who wants a more country vibe shoot. Now picture a bohemian vibe shoot. When you picture these models, did you notice things like, makeup, hair, clothing, location changed? That is why it is important to know what you want your pictures to say.  For this blog, we are going to focus on makeup and hair only.  While the other things are equally important, I will stick to the things to which I am most passionate. Let’s get started on makeup.

So, if you are a lady, who already applies makeup, then this is for you.  If you do not already apply your own makeup, have no fear, you can learn…if you want to.  However, if you are not interested in learning, that’s fine too.  There are many excellent makeup artists out there that know how to do makeup for photoshoots, which you easily can get with for your big day. And no, it is not an over indulgence. These pictures, for whatever occasion, will last a lifetime. Pay the money to let a professional do your makeup if you don’t feel up to the task. 


Let’s begin with the DO’S and DON’Ts of photoshoot makeup

DO TAKE YOUR TIME. Give yourself 2-3 hours to dedicate to getting ready. Rushed makeup hardly ever turns out looking good, especially for a photoshoot. Think of these 2-3 hours as your glam time. After all you are a model for the day, and this is what models do.


DON’T go out and buy expensive products. I almost exclusively use drugstore products. It shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to look good. With that being said, I also understand everyone is different, and their skin has different needs, so use what you know is best for you if you already have “go to” products.  No hate on the expensive products, they are nice, but there are some great dupes out there for a lot cheaper.


DO intensify EVERYTHING you already do…within reason and tastefully. 

DON’T apply subtle makeup.  Photoshoots are not the time to do subtle/natural makeup…even if that is the look you are going for.  The reason we intensify the makeup, is because in photos, you just need more makeup for it to look like its actually there.  Have you ever heard of stage makeup?  Photoshoot makeup is along the same lines! Find a balance between all natural and clown, and you have arrived…kidding, but not really.


DO try to achieve flawless looking skin, by applying primer, concealer and foundation heavier than you would normally.  Also use a setting power. 

DON’T, apply foundation that is not your skin color to achieve a tan look. Just don’t do this….for many reasons.


DO contour. You can go on to Youtube to learn how if you don’t already know how.  And no, you don’t need to have special contour palettes or sticks, bronzer will do. That’s what I use, but the other options are just as valid. Also, highlighter is a must. It gives you a much-needed glowing look.  Doesn’t have to be expensive either. 

DON’T use blush to contour, or go nuts with blush.  Use it, but just on the apples of your cheeks, and no need to go too intense with this.


DO pluck/wax eyebrows so that they looked well kept, and not unruly.

DON’T draw on dark and huge fake eyebrows. Filling them in is great, but not to the point where they alone are drawing all the attention.  No one wants caterpillars for eyebrows.


DO apply eyeshadow.  Eyeshadow can be very fun. From cut creases to gold lids, you can do it all.  This is the part of the makeup where you ask yourself, “What is the vibe/message I am trying to portray?”  If the vibe of your shoot is natural, then stick to browns and neutrals.  If the message is glam, do a cut crease, and some bold color options.  The possibilities are endless.

DO NOT APPLY A THICK LINE OF EYELINER ON THE BOTTOM LASH LINE!!! This makes your eyes look smaller than they are! 

DO apply your darkest eyeshadow color (as you would eyeliner, but under the lashes and smudge it out some) you may need a thin tipped brush to do this.  After applying the eyeshadow, then apply mascara to the lower lashes…a lot of mascara! This opens your eyes and makes them look huge, while also giving a smoked out look. Even if you want a natural look, do this!!  Again, if you need more instruction on this, go to YouTube and search (shadow on lower lash line). DO apply eyeliner on the top if you feel you need it.

DO use fake lashes.  They add a necessary drama; choose the style of lashes that best fit your vibe. If you don’t know how to apply them, learn, or find someone to help you!

DO use setting spray. Doesn’t have to be expensive, but it helps to preserve the hard work you have done, and is a lifesaver when it comes to sweat.


Tips for Hair

First, you can never go wrong with big loose curls. It’s a timeless look, and always looks great in photos.

Second, use product to help your hair hold a curl better.  This usually looks like some kind of mousse that you will apply to your hair and specifically your roots when you get out of the shower. Use a good amount.


Fourth, find some great ideas on Pinterest and learn how to execute them on Youtube.

Lastly, have fun with your makeup and hair, and dont obsess over it and let it become the center of your experience. After all, do what works best for you, and use the photoshoot as an opportunity to make memories. And hopefully in those memories you are looking fierce with your bad self.

– Alexa Little


wv wedding photographer

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