Makeup Tutorial: Portrait Makeup


Melanie Kay requested a makeup tutorial on what to wear when getting your portrait taken.  I think the natural look is a great way to go with maybe a boost of color here and there (choose one: eye, lip, cheek).  Since I’ve already done the makeup tutorial for natural makeup, I did a step beyond natural here.

Tips for portrait makeup:

~Don’t try anything new to you on the day of the photo! Why? possible allergic reactions, what if you hate it and that was your plan?, some makeup takes practice

~Do a trial run of your makeup before the session, especially if it’s new!

~If you require heat for your hair-do, do that first and then your makeup, so that it doesn’t melt.

~If you are portraiting outside in the heat, bring powder, mirror and other makup, touch-up often!  Also bring plenty of water with a STRAW so that you can stay hydrated and not mess up your lips.

~Ask your photographer if he/she photoshops the pictures, this can save any flubs that happen.

~Accentuate your best features.  If you have amazing lips, make it about those and bring the eye down. If you want your eyes to stand out (this is a portrait after all), accentuate the eyes.

~A sidenote: I personally am NOT a fan of wearing matching clothes.  Color coordination is fun, but be creative about that. Don’t do shades of one color or everyone wearing denim/khakis.  It takes a lot of planning but the end result is worth it.  You are spending a lot of money on this, hiring a professional, and if it’s a big family photo, traveling distances to be together to capture it, so do the homework!

Examples of well-styled family photos:

Design Mom (of course)

I love perusing this blog for inspiration.

This photographer always has fun examples, the front page of the FAMILY PORTRAITS gallery has someone I link to often!

And for what NOT to do, check out this blog.

I worked really hard on the styling of this photo taken by Rachel Gundersen:

I didn’t approve every single outfit in this photo, but I do think it came together very well in the end.  I made my family send me photos of themselves in their outfits and I communicated a lot through snapfish.  I am pretty sure I bothered a lot of them, but I didn’t care, I was on a mission. I also suggested a dressed up or dressed down look depending on people’s individual comfort and personality.

Stay tuned for a tutorial on smiling for your portrait!

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5 responses to “Makeup Tutorial: Portrait Makeup

  1. That was awesome! Thank you for taking the time to do it. I really like the whole post.

  2. Okay – this is coming at a great time. We are getting fam potraits done in two weeks!!!! It was scheduled rather quickly and I don’t have a TON of time to shop for outfits. Have you done a post for picking clothes for a fam portrait. I am thinking Adam and I will pick what we want for the two of us, and then I’ll coordinated (NOT matchy matchy) the kids. I keep thinking of your last fam portrait in NYC and how great you guys looked. I think we are going to the beach for ours. I’m gonna check out these sites you linked.

  3. so helpful. thanks!

  4. Pingback: What to Wear ~ Portrait Makeup | Melanie Kay Photography

  5. You are so gorgeous! The tut was really helpful because I am stuck back in the …….times of my youth…… to put makeup on and it has changed some; different colors, more great products/tools and a more natural look.
    Thanks so much!

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