Did you know that there is a way to do your hair and makeup specifically for photos? I guess I’ve always known that, but was not fully aware of why you did hair and makeup a certain way to be considered “camera ready.”
A little back story…when I was younger, I modeled for a few years in Philadelphia and spent countless hours in hair and makeup. In June of 1990, I was fortunate to have the experience of a lifetime (at that point anyway)…I was one of 10 girls brought to New York for the YM High School Cover Girl contest hosted by the now defunct YM Magazine and the makeup conglomerate Cover Girl.
We spent a week in New York City being pampered and primed to be the girl chosen for the cover of the November 1990 issue of YM. Upon arriving to my hotel room in the city, my new roommate for the week, Piper, and I were given an entire bag full of Cover Girl makeup! Oh, my stars! I was so beyond excited.
We spent the week having professional modeling photos taken in Soho. We went on a boat tour around Manhattan, saw The Grand Hotel on Broadway and ate at the infamous Tavern on the Green. I even saw Chrissie Hynde in the elevator of our hotel! It was such a memorable time, and I was fascinated by the hair and makeup artists that transformed this awkwardly too tall teen into a possible cover girl! I had a brand new respect for those artists that lasts to this day.
Needless to say, I’ve always been a bit makeup obsessed and am a sucker for a new shade of lipstick (I think there are currently like 5 different colors in my purse.) I have always admired how specific the makeup artists are when choosing certain colors or foundation, shimmer, blush or powder, lipstick color or eye liner. They truly are artists! Why? For the simple fact that they are trained and have an incredible talent for putting on makeup and styling hair! Even today, try as I might, I can’t replicate the work they create.
Fast forward to 2019, being a full-time professional photographer, I realize even more, how important hair and makeup is for photography. Again, I’m no expert, so I reached out to a few of the amazing artists I use. They are the reason we recommend using a professional. Why, you ask? For starters, professional hair and makeup artists often have high quality products that have a longer wear time and won't smudge. They also know how hair and makeup will photograph and apply makeup and style hair accordingly. And there’s more…
Why Use A Professional Hair & Makeup Artist?
Sydni Williams of Swept Away Styling, has been our hair and makeup artist for the past two years. On her website, she defines her work as “Enhancing your natural beauty” and we have to agree. Sydni does that best. Kate Schwindt Photography specializes in high school senior portraits and families. Sydni brings each woman’s style to the camera so she feels more comfortable, more confident and, sometimes, a little surprised how beautiful she looks and feels. These are just some of the reasons it’s so important to use a professional for your hair and makeup for photos.
Sure, a makeup artist is going to say it’s important to use a professional. That what they do. But here’s the deal. It’s the process combined with the end result, that’s why we recommend using a professional. The process of having a trained artist do your hair and makeup means that’s one less thing you’re worried about going into your photo session. And you feel a little pampered and special, which can help you be more confident and relaxed, allowing more of your true self to shine through. The end result? It will speak for itself, and as cliche as it sounds, your true beauty will truly be enhanced, so we see more of who you are, and less editing by the photographer.
One thing to remind you; you might feel a little vulnerable getting hair and makeup done professionally. That’s why I admire what Chelsea Elle, does with her clients. Though I haven’t used her personally, I’ve been at my studio when another photographer has a client getting hair and makeup done. Chelsea always asks them, “Have you ever had your hair and makeup professionally done before?” And I think that’s brilliant. Because no matter the answer, it will dictate how Chelsea proceeds. She is helping the client feel comfortable and are part of the process, not just having it done to them. I can’t wait to work with Chelsea some day!
Also, another artist we use, Kim of Kim J Beauty, said: “using a professionally trained makeup artist is a key component in getting photos that you love. And, for photographers, who has the time to erase blemishes on 50 images? Or edit out dark circles?”
We have to agree with Kim…making every effort to have things in place and professional BEFORE the session, means less manipulation on the back end. Translation, less overly edited photos. More YOU. Naturally enhanced. Again, this is for all types of photos, from high school senior portraits, family photos, headshots…even prom!
Everyday VS Camera Ready Hair & Makeup
But, you say, I do my hair and makeup great every day. But is that the same thing? Is there a difference between every day hair and makeup and being “camera ready?” Absolutely.
Believe us when we say, there is a difference between getting all dressed up to go out, and getting ready to have your portrait taken. Depending on the lighting and the angles, your everyday makeup will barley show up in photos. And your going out on the town makeup, might be too harsh. Here is why Sydni is so valuable to us. She listens to our clients, and highlights their features naturally, but with a little more conturing and bold lines, but with natural colors that don’t wash you out. It shouldn’t look like a BEFORE and AFTER photo that you are unrecognizable. Instead, you should look like yourself, just with your features highlighted for the camera.
And let’s not forget about hair. I can’t tell you how many people specifically schedule their headshots for the same day they get their haircut and styled. Because it’s so hard to replicate what you hairstylist does. Am I right?
Sometimes a client who doesn’t really care about makeup will definitely get hair done, because they see the value in hair that is styled for a photo versus their attempt at making it look good on their own.
So, what do you do when hiring a professional is not part of plan? Well, we created a Hair & Makeup Guide that we provide our clients who book with us and who don’t want to book a hair and makeup artist. (If you are interested in receiving this magazine electronically, simply email us at email@example.com and put Hair & Makeup Guide in the subject line!)
Below, we’ve included some hair and makeup tips provided by our experts!
PROFESSIONAL HAIR AND MAKEUP TIPS
At Kate Schwindt Photography, we are a strong proponent of hiring hair and makeup artists, but, when you choose to do your own, we want to arm you with some invaluable tips from the best of the best here in Colorado. Here are some nuggets of hair and makeup wisdom:
SKIN & SPF – Sunscreen higher than SPF 15 can cause a flashback in the pictures. Don’t use anything more than SPF 15 on your face prior to pictures. (Swept Away Styling)
HIGHLIGHTER – Don’t apply a shimmer highlighter to your forehead. It will make your skin look oily/shiny. (Swept Away Styling)
BROWS – A little definition goes a long ways! Fill your brows in with a color as close to your natural brow color as possible. (Swept Away Styling)
FOUNDATION – The type of makeup for photography is very different from everyday casual makeup- Water-based foundations are usually the best choice for high-definition cameras. (Kim J Beauty)
CONTOURING – With a photo only being two dimensional and the chance that lighting could wash out your most distinguishable features, it is important to have a makeup artist to contour your face. Now, when I say contour, I don’t mean harsh Kardashian-like. Try to create contours that give the best, three dimensional, version of you. (Kim J Beauty)
All of this being said…though I wasn’t chosen for the cover of YM in 1990, that week left an impression on me, something I’ve always been grateful for. I was made to feel special, not only for my uniqueness and “look”, but for who I was as a person. They didn’t try to change me, they did just enough to highlight my own beauty.
It took me many years to do that for myself, because, as a teen, I cared too deeply about how I looked being a reflection of who I was. Yes, with a little pampering, you can feel like a cover girl, but that isn’t all that’s important. Whenever I interact with, mentor or photograph a young woman, I do my best to help them know their true beauty, who they are on the inside, is absolutely what matters most. Professional hair and makeup is the icing on the cake. Enjoy it, but don’t let it define you.