On Camera

Makeup tips for photo + video shoots

6 essentials for doing your own camera-friendly makeup.

Watch the episode here ☝🏼 or read the full transcript below 👇🏼


Do you have a photoshoot coming up and you just really want to save some money for once by doing your own makeup? I totally get it. Getting makeup artists for photoshoots can be really expensive and one of the other issues is that you often end up not really looking like yourself in the end. So stay tuned because I am going to give you the full scoop on how to do your own camera-friendly makeup for your next photoshoot coming right up. And by the way, if you are someone who is trying to build your own personal brand, whether as a freelancer creative self-employed person or small business owner, then you’re in the right place. Make sure you hit that subscribe button and the bell next to it so you don’t miss out on any future videos on personal branding, marketing and success mindset.

I’m really excited to talk to you today about camera-friendly makeup. As some of you might know, I am an ex-makeup artist. I do have online makeup courses that I’ve created and I’m pretty just obsessed in general about headshot and personal branding photoshoots. I just think they’re amazing. They’re so good for building a business and building a personal brand online. And so I just really want to give you guys as many resources I can at to help. Now make sure you stay right to the end of the video because I have a bit of a gift for you to help you plan your next photoshoot. But in the meantime, let’s get straight down to business.

So when you’re doing your own makeup for camera, it’s really important to get the foundation right. So step number one is that I want you to use the lightest coverage foundation possible to avoid that looking cakey. So what tends to happen is that when you’re getting your photos taken or you’re getting on video and you’re feeling insecure about your face, and you want to look your best, we think let’s just wear more foundation. Let’s wear the heaviest foundation that we have. Let’s hide all of our imperfections so that we feel more confident. But unfortunately, especially when it comes to photography and natural light photography, so anytime they’re not using studio lighting, if you’re going to be outside, what happens is that if you wear too much makeup, you end up looking really cakey and unnatural and it kind of defeats the entire purpose of having these beautiful natural looking shots.

how to do natural makeup for photoshoots

If you can use the lightest coverage foundation possible, so just pick the one that is going to even out your skin tone as much as you need to without covering up extra things like freckles and blemishes, what you can then do is use concealer and spot, treat the areas that you’re struggling with. And so what I do is that I use a matte concealer. So you know those little pop concealers that have no shimmer in them? I use those for covering anything that’s raised and red. So it’s going to help them look more two dimensional. Whereas for things like dark circles under the eyes, I use an illuminating concealer. So I’ll use a liquid one, sometimes with light-reflecting particles, which under the eyes is beautiful because the light bounces off it and it helps you look a lot fresher. But if you use the light reflecting concealer on anything raised, it ends up being like a spotlight for that spot. So it’s kind of it defeats the purpose. It ends up drawing more attention there. So that is point number one.

Number two is that I want you to use your setting powder wisely. Now, when I say wisely, I mean that people tend to be all or nothing with setting powder. So you either don’t use it at all, which can cause issues like having your makeup look shiny, having it slide around your face or even just wear off before the end of the day. The flip side of setting powder is just using way too much, so covering your face in it because you’re super paranoid about your makeup sliding or looking too shiny. So you just pack it on, which then defeats the entire purpose because it looks unnatural and cakey, once again.

The key here is to know your own skin and to use setting powder where you know you’re going to need it. If you are someone that is very oily or you get sweaty and you know that you’re going to get shiny during the day, then you’re going to need to use some setting powder. But that said, I still want you to use a really light touch. You may not need it over your entire face. Usually we tend to get the shiniest in the T-zone, so putting a heap of setting powder on the cheeks is actually pointless. You don’t need to.

One thing I recommend is that if you have a little bit of setting powder, especially if this is a loose powder, which is one that’s really risky to use too much, pick up just the tiniest bit, but then you’re going to tap off almost all of it. Trust me, there is still plenty of powder on here and then you can just pat it down where you need it. You can do the exact same thing with a beauty blender, so you kind of just pat it down on the powder and then place it down on those areas that the makeup tends to slide. I put extra care into setting the makeup around my eyes. I find that just getting older, you do get a lot more lines under your eyes and the makeup can slide a bit, but if you use too much, you can end up looking really scaly and horrible under your eyes as well. So there’s this fine line that you need to follow.

Using a beauty blender is a really good idea. I find that if you put down your foundation first and a bit of concealer and pat it out with a beauty blender, it’s going to be nice and smooth. Then you need to go in and just gently press down the powder. Speaking of pressing, don’t drag the brush up and down, up and down. You’re going to create streaks. You can actually lift off the foundation and end up with missing patches and things. So you want to just literally place it down and pat it like that. And generally if you can touch your skin afterwards and it doesn’t feel tacky, it means it’s set. So then don’t use any more.

Point number three is that I want you to use blush. Blush is one of my favorite products. It’s honestly, it brings so much youth and shape to the face. You cannot skip it. It’s really important in photos because whether you’re using natural light or studio light, the light will wash you out and you’ll find that you end up looking a little bit flat without it. So I want you to use a blush that’s really nude and natural. So it could be a pale pink. It could be kind of an apricot color, a peachy color, depending on your undertones. Go with something that suits you. I wouldn’t recommend necessarily using one that has shimmer in it. I much prefer a matte blush for photoshoots. Then if it’s got a hint of shimmer, it’s okay. But whatever you do, do not skip the blush.

Question of the day. Do you normally do your own makeup for photoshoots or do you get a makeup artist or do you not use makeup at all? I’d love to know. Just leave me a comment down below and we can chat about it.

All right. So point number four is that I want you to blend, blend, blend. Now blending can be done all over the face, including things like your cheeks, blending your foundation down into your neck. But the number one place I’m talking about right now is your eyes. So when you do your eyeshadow, if you do not blend out where the dark meets the light, it can look really unnatural. You can edit with this kind of sharp line. And that is ultimately the biggest giveaway for me when I see someone who’s not experienced at doing their own makeup.

So if you can learn to blend out your eye shadow properly, which can be done with a nice fluffy brush and just going back and forth, back and forth with no color on it, just kind of blending out that line, it’s going to make a huge difference. It’s going to mean your makeup looks more professional, looks more natural, looks more flattering, and you’re going to look more youthful, because as soon as you add in really harsh lines to the face that you kind of ages you, which I don’t know about you, but that’s the last thing that I want to do when I’m getting my photo taken.

I also just want you to look really closely in a mirror. I’m talking really closely and make sure you don’t have any lumps of mascara or anything like that, because while the photographer can touch things up in post, in the edit. That’s not what they want to spend their time doing. It’s just like it’s best to give them a nice canvas. They’re happy to remove things like a nasty little zit that’s come up that you couldn’t help. But fixing makeup imperfections is definitely not something they’re going to want to do and they’re going to secretly hate you for it.

Number five is that you can add extra dimension to your face by using a contour powder. Now I know the word contour can freak a lot of people out and I totally get it, because if you look on Instagram these days, if you look at the Kardashians, contouring is really getting a bad name. If you use contouring well though, which I’m using it at the moment, I think I’ve done it pretty well. It’s pretty natural. It’s miraculous what it can do for your face.

When you get photographed or even if you’re in video, we can become very two dimensional. Our faces become, become kind of flat looking. And if you’re not someone that has naturally incredible cheekbones and jaw line, a very angular face, becoming flat means we start to feel kind of round, which is generally not something any of us really want to deal with. And I know that from a lot of my makeup students and my video students is that that’s the thing that when they look on camera, they’re like, “Oh my gosh, my chin. I don’t have the jaw. I look flat.”

So one of the ways that I fixed this is by using a really light, and when I say light, I mean it’s only a few shades darker than my skin tone. So it’s going to be different for everyone. Matte bronzer. So matte meaning it’s flat. There’s no shimmer. There’s no sparkle in it. And I just use my little angled contour brush and I’m just putting it where I’m in that little gap under my cheekbone and brushing it in. You don’t want to bring it down too long or it’s going to actually kind of create a weird shape face that we’re not meant to have. And I use excess just under my jaw line as well. And all this does is just bring back the natural shape face that you have that you would have lost otherwise because you’ve got the lights just glaring in your face.

So, point number six is that I want you to really choose a natural-looking lip color. This is somewhere that I think a lot of people go wrong because they think oh, I’m going to get my photos taken or I’m going on video, therefore I need to put on my lips. I think it’s a kind of an old school thing where if we’re doing our makeup, if we’re… it’s like we’re going to church or we’re going to a wedding, we’re going to wear a much darker or brighter lip color than we would normally wear day to day.

And unless you’re someone that’s really going for I statement lip, so you really want to have that hot pink or apricot or red because that’s your brand, then you don’t want to go any brighter than you would day to day because really these photos, if it’s a head shot shoot, if it’s a brand photoshoot, the idea is that you should look like you. So if you go and have a special lipstick that’s set aside just for photos and no one would see you in that normally day to day, then you’re already not being authentic in your brand shoot.

If you have someone who doesn’t normally wear anything on their lips, I would step it up a notch and go some sort of gloss that’s tinted. You don’t want your lips to disappear completely and you want them to look shiny and luscious and lovely. If someone who does wear lipstick day to day use that color or go and invest in one that’s a little bit nicer if you’re worried yours isn’t the greatest and just apply it really carefully. So use a nice nude lip pencil to line your lips so that it doesn’t end up bleeding. You could always finish it off a little bit of gloss over the top of the lipstick if your lipstick’s matte and you just want it to pop a little bit more.

But again, if your day to day look focuses on your eyes and not your lips, then do that for the photoshoot. Don’t go changing your routine just because you’re on camera, doing what feels right for you, but doing it better than you normally would. So if you normally spend five minutes doing your makeup and it’s not very neat, maybe set aside half an hour. Also practice during the week, in the lead up so that you really confident on what your routine will be. If you notice that any of your makeup has gone yuck, like if your mascara is dried out and clumpy, go and replace it. You’re going to have to put it in a little bit of effort here. You can’t just replace the makeup artist with nothing.

So when you’re practicing, take a few selfies, see what your makeup is actually looking like on camera, not just in the mirror, because again, you can feel super confident when you look in the mirror and then get a photo back and be like, hold on, what, that does not look like me. At least, that’s happened to me before.

Now before I go. If you are wanting to look more professional and on-brand, whether you’re on camera, on video, or even at a networking event, I’ve created a cute little guide for you. So I’ve created six different personal brand for makeup looks. So signature looks that you can use to look on-brand no matter what you’re doing with a step by step guide as to what products you’ll need and how they should be applied. So if you want a copy of that, I’ve included a link down below.

If you liked this video and found it helpful, please just give it a thumbs up. Make sure you’re subscribed for future videos and maybe share this with a friend that also struggles with makeup. They will thank you for it. And I thank you for being here and watching and I can’t wait to see you next time. Bye for now.



Kat is a copywriter, brand & messaging strategist personal branding coach and the founder of The Personal Branding Project whose mission is to help you go from best-kept secret to in-demand brand.


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