Preparing for Your Session: The Importance of Professional Makeup

If you are not a daily makeup user you may be thinking that a professional hair and makeup artist is unnecessary for your portrait session.  Personally, I have always been a fan of the natural look so, I used to share this same mentality.  After all, if I want people to see me as authentic, I definitely don’t want people to think I am trying to be someone I’m not in my photographs. On the opposite spectrum, there are people who style their hair and apply full face makeup daily. If you lean toward this style, you may be confident enough in your skills to also consider a professional makeup artist not necessary.  So why, in my 8th year of owning a photo business did I start including professional hair and makeup as a standard part of my sessions?

A photograph is a two-dimensional record of our reality, only offering us height and width.  Depth is not a physical attribute to a photograph as it is when viewing our three-dimensional world with the human eye.  This means that a photograph is compressing the way we typically perceive an object or person. As such, our everyday hair and makeup may not translate successfully to camera as it does in face-to-face conversations.

While the camera is an incredible machine, particularly when it is professional level like the equipment used in our studio, it simply cannot record all of the highlights and shadows that our eyes can see. A professional makeup artist understands how to enhance your natural look so that you look your best when converting your image from 3-D to 2-D.

The impact of reflected light is the perfect example of this professional knowledge in action. Different photographic lighting situations can impact your appearance, from on-location outdoor shoots to inside the studio. Makeup artist Sabrina Hull explains this in her statement, “If your session is indoors using flash, your skin tone changes and you might need a shade that’s a touch darker or you’ll look washed out.” Because reflection of light affects all men and women, whether natural or glammed up, a makeup artist can help control this light reflection and compensate for too little or too much of it. Light reflecting at the wrong areas of your skin could create harsh lines and creases that can create the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles which you may not even see when looking with the human eye.  For example, did you know that the makeup trend of contouring can actually appear as bruising in photos?  Definitely not the time to try out a Kardashian makeup tutorial!  When your makeup is applied professionally,  you will reflect the right light back at the camera, helping you appear more dimensional without distortion or excess shine.  

If you’re afraid you’ll feel too made up and not look like yourself, be confident in knowing that a makeup guide is provided for you by the studio to choose just the right amount of makeup for the look you want.  This guide ranges from a natural look that simply controls light reflection all the way to the sultriest smoky eye.  The choice is yours!  So how do you want to be photographed?