It may have been cold here in Iwakuni, Japan today, (I saw snow outside my window!) but spring is right around the corner. This is a very popular time to take outdoor photos because in early April we are lucky to have blooming cherry blossoms near Kintai-kyo Bridge. These beautiful cherry blossoms make for a gorgeous backdrop for photos.
Applying makeup for outdoor photos is quite different than applying makeup for every day. Because of this, I have made up a list of my 10 favorite makeup tips to look your best when taking outdoor photos.
1. Apply your makeup in natural light. When doing your makeup for outdoor photos, it is best to sit in the same lighting that your photos will take place. Indoor lighting is very different than outdoor lighting, so try moving your vanity near a window. You want to make sure the colors translate well in the bright sunlight. Make sure your foundation blends in to your skin in the natural light. You should not be able to see where your makeup stops and your bare skin starts.
2. Even though you will be outdoors, forgo the spf. Wait, really? Yes, just this once. Spf is a must wear for every day. However, in photos it can reflect light and sometimes cast a white cast on the face. It is best to avoid it on days you are set to take photos. Same goes for wearing a mineral foundation, don't. I would recommend having one bottle of spf free foundation in your makeup wardrobe for special occasions. Even if it is just taking selfies with your friend’s camera, you definitely don’t want a ghost-like appearance. If you don’t want to purchase an entire foundation just for one day, most makeup counters can give you a one-time use sample in your color.
3. Skin is in and less is more. The bright sunlight in the middle of the day will show every little nook and cranny on one's face. People tend to think more is more with foundation, so they apply it very heavy in hopes to cover up all of their imperfections. The problem with that, is that when you are outdoors your heavy makeup will look heavier. Not only can it look cakey, it will age you and make you look older. No one wants to look older! Your best bet for outdoor makeup is to go with a more sheer to medium coverage foundation and spot conceal. Worried about not being able to get everything covered 100%? That’s what the little miracle worker called photo shop is there for! Your photographer will be much happier if she has to erase one teeny little imperfection, than she will be trying to make it so your makeup does not looked caked on.
4. But don’t forget the under eye concealer. We all hate dark circles, but sometimes no matter how much beauty sleep you get they are unavoidable. In photos they will show up, even if you think you have them covered. Sunlight is especially challenging because your lovely eyelashes, that you have probably coated with layers of mascara so they would stand out, are now working as little umbrellas casting shade over your eye areas. Make sure to keep it light and bright under your eyes. Do not go too light though, your concealer should be the same color as the rest of your face and be blended very well. Keep in mind that photos are not the time to use light reflective powders under the eyes. They can reflect too much in photos and make your under eyes appear white, which is almost as bad as them being too dark.
5. Forgo the heavy eyeliner. After the cold dark winter season, Spring makeup should feel fresh and light. One way to make your eyes appear bigger and brighter in outdoor photos is to keep eye makeup lighter. A dark dramatic smokey eye is gorgeous for evening, but for a fun daytime photo less is more. You want to look youthful and fresh for spring photos. Make sure to do "tight line" eyeliner. There are a few different ways to co this trick. The easiest way is to take a pencil and line the inside top waterline on your eyelid into the lashes. Most people do this on their bottom waterline, but this can pull your eve down and make it appear droopy if you do not have a balanced eyeliner on the top. This trick will also help to make your lashes look thicker and longer. It is a great technique to use not only in photos, but everyday. It helps define the eye in a quick and easy way that looks very natural.
6. Mattes are best. From your foundation, to your blush, to your shadow, matte is the way to go for photos. A bit of sheen on the cheeks for a dewy highlight can be beautiful, but now is the time to leave those glitter eye shadows in the drawer. Shimmery shadows and blush will reflect light, and sometimes in photos this does not read well. What may look like fresh glowey skin in person may look like oily, greasy skin in photos. Especially after some time out in the sun. Don’t forget to set your foundation with a mattyfing powder.
7. Don’t skimp on the blush.The thought of applying too much blush tends to scare a lot of people. We all have seen the 80 year old woman with the bright fuchsia rouge, and we are afraid we will end up walking out of the house like that. (For the record I. Can. Not. Wait. to be one of those 80 year old rocking fuchsia blush and hot pink lipstick). The only problem with going super neutral or light with your blush is that in photos you will look washed out. The camera does not pick up our features the same way as the naked eye does. If you think you have enough blush on do this test: grab your phone and snap a photo standing at least 4 feet away. If you look a bit tired or washed out, add a some more blush.
8. Same goes for lipstick. A lot of my clients tend to wear little more than chapstick daily. This is fine for every day, but you need to step it up for photos. I don’t recommend anything too light or nude for photos, because you do not want to appear washed out. For spring photos a nice pink or pinky coral lipstick flatters most skin tones. A lipstick with a pop of color will brighten your face, and look beautiful in photos. If you do not want to wear a lipstick use a pencil with gloss. Line your lips with a neutral pencil to give definition. You can fill in the lip with this same pencil, and then top with a sheer gloss. You will be left with a natural lip that is defined. If you are unsure of what color pencil will work best with you, try one to two shades darker than your natural lip color.
9. Lashes Lashes Lashes. I always recommend my clients wear false lashes in photos. They will help define your eyes, yet will appear very natural in photos. If you don't want to wear false lashes make sure to do a few extra coats of mascara. If you normally wear a brown or a brown/black, switch to a black mascara for photos. Even if you are fair it will provide more contrast and help make your eyes pop.
10. Don't forget your brows. When you skip filling in brows, you skip framing the most crucial aspect of your face: your eyes. You do not want hash, overly drawn in eyebrows, but you should fill them in enough so that they look full. If you do not have an eyebrow specific product, you should think about investing in one. In the mean time, use a matte shadow in a shade similar to your natural brow hair. I recommend going a shade slightly lighter, so that your brows look natural. Even if you have black hair, never use black on your brows. This can come off as very harsh, a dark brown will work best.
I hope this list is helpful when it comes time to do your makeup for your own outdoor photos.
I love this last precious moment of mother and son captured during last year's cherry blossom season.
Makeup in all photos done by myself, of course.