How to Make Perfect Makeup for Photos

Daniel • updated Decemberber 24, 2022 • 8 min read

How to Make Perfect Makeup for Photos

Welcome to our tutorial on how to do your own makeup for photo shoots! Whether you’re an aspiring model, influencer, or just want to look your best for a special occasion, mastering the art of makeup for photography is an essential skill.

With the right techniques and products, you can create a stunning, camera-ready look that will showcase your natural beauty and help you stand out in photos.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key steps to achieve a flawless, photogenic makeup look, from prepping your skin to choosing the right products and tools. So grab your makeup bag and let’s get started!


The right Products are Essential

Getting the appropriate products is the very first thing to think about even before you begin applying makeup.

We advise choosing powder-based makeup over liquid makeup if you’re a beginner or don’t wear makeup frequently because the former blends more easily. The very last thing you would like is to show your face with harsh makeup contours.

Another thing to remember is to only buy high-quality makeup products, even if they cost a little more. Products from cheap brands may cause skin irritations.

Use good Light to apply your Makeup

If you put on your makeup in a room with a lot of natural light, you’ll be able to see what you’re doing on your whole face. This is better than have an overhead or tabletop light, which can make some parts of your face look darker.

It will really help you see where you need to blend in your makeup and where you might want to put concealer on blemishes.

Find a big, bright glass window and face it as you put on your makeup to let lots of natural light shine on your face.

Apply your makeup with the same light that is used for the photoshoot. This is the best way to apply a perfect makeup which is the same time adapted to the light situation.

Before you start your Photo Makeup

Even before a photo shoot, there should be no doubts about the location and the lighting. Depending on which light source is used, the way colors look in the photos will be very different.

This is very true when it comes to makeup. For example, sunlight makes colors, makeup mistakes, and small skin flaws stand out more than studio lighting.

So, makeup should never be too strong for photos taken during the day. We have written about how to outdoor portrait photography and the best hair styles to look good in photos!

If, on the other hand, the shoot is in a studio with artificial light sources, the makeup can also be stronger because the light eats up colors.

Apply Camera-ready Makeup in 6 STEPS

So grab your makeup bag and let’s get started! With a little bit of practice and the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning makeup looks that are perfect for photos.

STEP 1: Apply a Primer to your Skin

What is a makeup primer?

Simply put, primer is what its name suggests: It’s a pre-makeup product that you use after your skin care routine to create the perfect surface for holding onto whatever makeup is applied next.

They are applied beneath mascara, eye makeup, foundation and other cosmetics to produce a smooth skin effect that improves makeup coverage and lengthens the time that it remains on.

Nearly all of them cover large pores, eliminate undesirable texture, and lighten discoloration. It is best to use a primer, which is best for your skin.

How to evenly apply foundation primer?

Simply use your fingertips to apply a little of your primer on the rear of your hand, blending it in from the nose to the outer side.

Your skin will appear more radiant and even-toned after it has been thoroughly blended, and your foundation will adhere better.

After applying the primer, allow a few minutes before applying your foundation to give it time to absorb and smooth the surface.

STEP 2: The Foundation as Base 

What is a makeup foundation?

Making the skin on the face appear even and flawless is the main goal of foundation makeup, as well known as base. The purpose of foundation makeup is to cover up skin flaws and provide a smooth surface on which to apply other cosmetics.

For different skin types, foundation can be made in a variety of mixtures, such as liquid, cream, and powder. The proper foundation makeup to use depends on the skin’s color, texture, and desired level of coverage.


How to apply a makeup foundation?

Use only necessary amounts of foundation, whether you apply it with a foundation brush, sponge or even with your fingers. Start in the middle of the face, on the cheeks’ apples, and gradually blend outward.

The region all around mouth, that is vulnerable to yellow tones and shadows, is another important feature of the face. so that the foundation has the most realistic appearance possible.

For a photo, the foundation can include neck and décolleté. Because  foundation covered areas reflect light differently than the uncovered areas.

In professional photo shoots, models are sometimes made up from head to toe to hide flaws like bruises and veins and to make sure their skin is the same color all over. A spray gun is used to spread the makeup over a large area.

STEP 3: Shading and Highlighting

Since photos are two-dimensional, the shape of the face needs to be brought out and shadows, dark lines, and wrinkles need to be smoothed out.

Lighten with lighter concealer makeup or so-called highlighter powder, which is put on the naturally lighter parts of the face, like around the eyes and in expression lines.

The color of your concealer or highlighter shouldn’t be more than two shades lighter than your skin.


Also, keep in mind that concealer has more pigments than regular foundation and, as the picture on the left shows, reflects flash light in a different way.

  • Bronzer, blush, or even darker makeup can be used to make contours stand out. Most of the time, bronzing or contouring powder is used to make a look that looks natural, lightly tanned, or chiseled.
  • The best places to contour are under the cheekbones, on top of the chin, on the sides of the forehead/brow, and just below the face on the neck. You can also put bronzer on the sides of your nose to make it look narrower.
  • Blush is used on the cheekbones along with bronzer to make the face look healthy and fresh. The area around the cheeks and temples is often contoured with two or even three colors.
  • The darkest color is often put under the cheekbones to make them stand out more. A lighter blush is often used to highlight the temples, sometimes with glitter, and a rosy blush is used to make the cheeks look young and fresh.
  • To get rid of forehead lines, use a brush dusted with light pink powder to lightly brush the forehead.

STEP 4: Matte Powder to reduce Reflections

Matte powder is essential for flawless photography makeup Because oil on the skin reflects light so strongly, it needs to be as matte as possible. Unless the shine is on purpose, of course.

To get rid of shine, put a thin layer of loose, clear powder on your face. But you should never let the powder settle in small wrinkles or folds because it will make them look even worse. In this case, you should focus on the T-zone and use very little on dry areas like around the eyes.

It is also true that powder reflects light, especially flash light, differently than HaMisslungenes Foto Make-up that hasn’t been powdered. In any case, you shouldn’t put thick powder over “precautionary” somewhere and leave out other places.

Powder should be used (very lightly) on the neck, chest, and possibly the shoulders and back to make sure that light is reflected evenly.

STEP 5: Make your Eyes Shine

If your eyes are small or set far apart, you shouldn’t use a lot of eye makeup or draw hard lines with eyeliner.

Smokey eyes look good on everyone. If you don’t want the eyes to be the main focus, use not too dark earthy and smoky tones that are carefully blended together and outwards.

You should only put black kajal on the inside of your eyelids, if you have big eyes. This makes the eye look smaller but highlights the shape of the eye beautifully.

When you use pink tones, you should know that the camera will make them look more red. The effect can also be seen in the picture of me on the left. If you don’t want that, use eye shadow that is yellowish beige.

The right eye shadow color

With the right eyeshadow, you can bring out the color of your eyes.

  • Choose a warmer color if you have blue eyes. This warms up the iris, which is blue. It can be champagne, golden brown, or peach.
  • Brown eyes can go with almost anything. Here, you can use any color you want. But the color stands out best with pink or violet tones.
  • Use earthy browns or soft pinks to bring out green eyes.

Putting on eye shadow

Use three different strengths of color. This gives your eyes more depth and makes them look like they have more to say. First, use the middle tone to cover the whole eyelid down to the brow arch.

Only use the dark color on the outside of the eyelid. Now, put the light shade in the inner corner of your eye.

Blur the lines between the different shades to make a smooth transition. A soft brush works better than applicators and sponges for this.

You can also use a primer on your eyes. It makes the colors stand out even more. It can be used as a base for eyeshadow to make it last longer.

Put on fake eyelashes

Putting on false eyelashes is another way to make your eyes stand out in photos. It’s a great way to show off both the shape and size of your eyes. Make sure the fake eyelashes are of high quality, though.

Cheap eyelashes look fake and heavy very quickly. Some of the time, a few individual eyelashes are all that’s needed to make the eyes look better. Spread them out around your eyes.

Heavily made-up eyes and lips look enormously fast “too much” on snapshots.

STEP 6:  Lipstick and Color

Lipstick makes all lips look better by giving them shape. For a natural look, just use lipstick that is two shades darker than your natural lip color and apply it carefully with a brush. With darker colors, a contour pencil can help you make lines that are perfect.

Then, put a lighter shade of lipstick or gloss in the middle of your lips. This makes the mouth look more flexible and full. You can get great photo effects by using different colored lipsticks and glosses, which, by the way.

Best makeup Tips for pictures

1. Photo makeup: no glittery

Even though shimmery makeup can be tempting, you should be careful when you use it. Makeup that sparkles reflects the sources of light in your shoot. So, it can quickly take attention away from what the picture is really about.

So, try to make the photo as matte as possible and only set a few highlights. But none of these should cancel out the other.

2. Photo makeup: Lighting during your photoshoot

Keep in mind that the makeup will also look different depending on how well the photoshoot is lit. Details and texture can be smoothed out with very soft light, while details and texture can be brought out with hard or directional light. Read our guide on candlelight portraits and portraits with common light sources.

This means that if you want to use more directional lighting, like side light, you need to make sure the foundation and concealer cover well enough to keep the subject’s skin looking smooth, even though the lighting will bring out any texture from flaws or wrinkles in the skin. Read also how to snap self portraits.

3. Refresh your Photogenic makeup

At the very least, keep the concealer, powder, lip color, and lip gloss close by during the photoshoot in case you need to touch up. No matter what time of year it is or how hot or cold the studio is, photo makeup will wear off or smudge during the shoot.

Then, small flaws will show up, especially in close-ups. So, take short breaks during your shoot to refresh your photo makeup. This will keep the quality of your photos at a high level. Then give your best features a new look. Make sure the lines are clean and the transitions are smooth.

4. Photo makeup for men

It’s important for men, too, to make their skin look even and hide small flaws. Men, on the other hand, should never look made up in pictures. As usual, it is best to first use camouflage to even out the eye area and any problem spots.

But a foundation often looks too strong on men, especially since their skin may be a little rougher. After a certain age, skin that is too soft and smooth can make a person look too feminine.

As the art of makeup mostly effects women, you can read our article about tips to photograph men!

It is better to use a primer instead of a foundation for this reason. This usually comes in a jar and is milky white to pale pink. It is used all over the face.

The primer isn’t as obvious as foundation, so it looks a lot more natural. Silicone, on the other hand, makes the skin look smoother, smooths out small wrinkles, and hides pores. After putting on the primer, you can use a mattifying powder as you normally would.

Once you post your portrait, don’t forget to add Portrait Photography Quotes for Instagram!

5. Capture portraits in black and white

If you’re having a black-and-white photo shoot, you should know that they don’t look as good on the skin as color shots do. In this case, the photo makeup needs stronger contours and a bigger focus on the lips, cheeks, and eyes.

Scars, skin problems, and wrinkles are also much more noticeable in black-and-white photos than in color photos. So, it’s best to use a strong makeup that covers well and doesn’t make your skin dry. 

6. How do you get a good photo?

What looks perfect, relaxed, and casual in a photo might not have been like that in real life. So, if you want a good picture, you should put in some work and get ready. Check out this helpful guide about do’s and don’ts of portrait photography.

First, you’ll need a good pose. A pose should look as natural and unplanned as possible, but even stars usually practice good poses for a long time. It takes some practice to keep your back straight, your shoulders down, and your chin up just a little bit.

You should do it in front of a big mirror. Because if you move your body well, you can make it look like you weigh 5 kg less. Face expression is very important, especially for portraits.

Even here, nothing is left to chance. Because each face is unique. For one, a discreet smile works better than a broad grin. Read all about how to photograph faces.

The mirror is your best friend here, too. Try out different poses and do them over and over again until they feel natural. Faces that are stiff and tense should be avoided at all costs. Keep in mind, if your model is wearing glasses, you have to care about this, and learn about how to take photos of people wearing glasses.

7. Look good on camera

Since there are so many model casting shows on TV, everyone should know that standing somewhere and saying “cheese” doesn’t make for a good photo.

After a whole day of shooting, there are often only a few “usable” pictures left, even though professionals are using a lot of gear and taking pictures of almost perfect models. 

Anyone who tries to do this at home will soon give up. We live in a time when phones and the Internet are common. People look at more and more pictures of us that end up online.

These pictures are almost like our digital identities, and many people look at them. So you have to make a good first impression! Now you are looking good on the photo, also add a captions for portrait photography to you image before posting.

Tools to bring your portrait photography to life

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I wear foundation for a professional photoshoot?

Whether or not to wear foundation for a professional photoshoot is a personal decision that depends on your individual skin type and the look you’re going for.

If you have clear, even-toned skin and are comfortable going without foundation, you may choose to skip it altogether and let your natural skin show through in the photos.

On the other hand, if you have uneven skin tone, blemishes, or other imperfections that you want to cover up, foundation can be a useful tool for creating a smooth, even canvas for the rest of your makeup.

Just be sure to choose a formula that is suitable for your skin type and applies smoothly and evenly for a natural-looking finish.

It’s also a good idea to do a test run and take some test shots to see how your foundation looks in different lighting conditions and make any necessary adjustments before the actual photo shoot. This will help you achieve a natural, camera-ready look that you’re happy with.

Should I put more makeup on my face for photos?

It’s important to keep in mind that photography can often exaggerate the appearance of makeup, so it’s generally a good idea to use a lighter hand when applying makeup for photos. This will help ensure that your makeup looks natural and well-balanced in the final image.

That being said, the amount of makeup you choose to wear will depend on your personal preference and the specific look you’re going for. If you’re comfortable with a more dramatic or bold makeup look, you can certainly build up the coverage or intensity of your products as desired.

Just be mindful of the tips I mentioned earlier, such as avoiding heavy products, using matte finishes, and considering your skin tone and undertone.

Ultimately, the key is to find a balance that works for you and makes you feel confident and comfortable in front of the camera. It’s also a good idea to take some test shots and make any necessary adjustments to your makeup before the actual photo shoot.

This will help you get a sense of how your makeup looks in different lighting conditions and ensure that you’re happy with the final result.

What type of makeup looks best in photos?

When choosing makeup for photo shoots make sure your makeup is well-blended and looks natural.

Use matte products where possible. Shiny or glossy products can reflect light and create unwanted highlights or distractions in photos.

Consider your skin tone and undertone. Choose makeup colors that complement your skin and make you look vibrant and healthy.

Pay attention to lighting. Different lighting situations may require different makeup techniques, so be prepared to adjust your makeup as needed.

Don’t forget about your eyebrows. Well-groomed eyebrows can frame your face and enhance your overall look in photos.

Does makeup matter for a photoshoot?

The most important thing to remember about makeup for a photoshoot is that makeup and color will never look as bright on camera as they do in real life.

Because of this, it is very important to put on more makeup for photos than you would to go out and look nice.

Why should I use a primer for my photo makeup?

If you want to achieve a smoother, more radiant-looking complexion, a primer is a must-have in your makeup bag. In addition to making your makeup glow, primers have numerous advantages for your skin. Due to the fact that it combines skincare and makeup, it is the perfect tool for maintaining hydrated, flawless skin.

The use of a face primer benefits both skincare and makeup. As a result, it’s the perfect place to start for your skincare routine that can treat and enhance your skin!

What does a make-up artist do at a photo shoot?

Makeup is an art form, and it’s an important part of any photo shoot. The makeup artist can change the way the model looks by using their artistic skills. With their help, the look of the picture can be taken to a higher level.

In a headshot, should you wear makeup?

You want your makeup to look natural for headshots. You can wear “light” makeup as long as it looks natural and is put on evenly.

A natural look is more important than being “light.” Even though both can be done at the same time, it is important to make sure they are both done evenly.

In pictures, do fake eyelashes look good?

If you put on fake eyelashes correctly and buy the right kind for your eyes, they will look natural in photos. If your natural eyelashes are already long, adding fake ones that are the same length will make them look fuller and make your eyes stand out even more.



Makeup tips for the camera cover a wide range of corrective methods that can generate spectacular effects or just a more natural appearance.

The secret to outstanding photo makeup is to remember that photos are two-dimensional, therefore certain regions must be intentionally shadowed and other areas artificially lighted.

Not sure, read more about makeup:
Makeup tips and ideas – latest make Up looks and products
18 makeup essentials that have changed our lives
Makeup steps: How to apply makeup step by step
What’s the difference between my makeup and pro makeup?
Top 5 tips to get your makeup perfect for your photo shoot
The best make-Up brushes you won’t believe
Foundation 101
How I organize my makeup drawer
Makeup Trends 2016. 2017, 2018
Best in Beauty Awards 2022


Keep reading: Tips for Selfie and Beauty Photography with Ring Light »

Tools to bring your portrait photography to life:

How do  you make Perfect Makeup for Photos – let us know in the comments!

By Furoore team member Daniel
Daniel has been supporting the editorial team as a content creator since the end of 2021 and is mainly responsible for portrait photography and related practical topics around cameras, lenses as well as accessories.

Turn your snapshots into awesome portraits.



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