I don't often get the chance to shoot people really dressed up so prom is something different that I always look forward to. I love every part of the process- from the promposals, to the getting ready, to the pre-party and the main event...all of it. This year I was able to take some pre-prom pictures of a few of my Team 19 members. So fun!
I am not a makeup expert by any means, but makeup is kind of a big deal when it comes to photography so I make a point of paying attention to what the experts have to say.
Towards that end I came across a fun article written by Tynan Sinks (a contributing writer at Allure) about the best drug store makeup buys. His suggestions were surprising to me so I thought I would share his picks with you.
1. L'Oreal True Match Foundation. He described this foundation as light, natural with a soft touch and some SPF. (Because of the SPF, I would NOT recommend this for photoshoots- but we can talk more about this later.)
2. Wet n Wild Photo Focus Foundation. I did not know this but Wet n Wild is a cruelty-free brand (Yay!). He described their formula as luxurious with finish that dries matte.
3. NYX HD Photogenic Concelaer. He says this is creamy, hydrating and "should be in everyone's makeup bag."
4. Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer. The downside of this product is that it's $15, which is expensive for a drug store product but he said that it's hard to find a high end bronzer that beats it. So there you go.
6. Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush. It has a unique putty texture that's great for blending.
7. Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder. This was originally a limited edition item but people went berserk over it so they brought it back. "As good as anything at Sephora's" is how he described it. And it's only around $5! Now you know how I feel about highlighters for photoshoots (see here) but for everyday, I know you all want this.
Maybelline's Color Sensational Lipstick is his pick for lips. Maybelline is "the MAC of the drugstore," he writes.
Maybelline's Volum' Express Mega Plush Mascara. About this he writes it's "the most underrated mascara in the drugstore." It's a gel-mousse that is light weight yet high impact. High impact is what I'm all about. I LOVE shooting eyelashes and think that even for everyday wear, mascara is worth the effort.
Tools of the Trade
Now this one isn't from Tynan but instead is my pick. Just recently the high end brand Japonesque started to carry their line of implements at Target. This is really great news because they offer really high quality products but now at a totally affordable price point. So if you are in the market for a new pair of tweezers or an eyelash curler, check them out!
Marissa is, quite possibly, the most disciplined and conscientious person I know. Not only is she vegan, but she also makes sure that the clothes she buys are ethically sourced and the products she uses are cruelty-free. Because of Marissa I now have connections with local makeup artists who use exclusively organic products.
Marissa cares very strongly about animal welfare but she's not just talk; she volunteers at Valley Humane Society taking care of cats and kittens.
She's also a member of a on-campus group called SAIC that gives a voice to students and strives to make positive changes at the high school.
Marissa went to a summer camp that focused on teaching teens how to become activists in their communities. I love that she brought this t-shirt to her session because I feel like it's a true reflection of who she is.
I'm so glad that I got to meet Marissa because it reminded me how my every day purchasing decisions can actually have an impact toward positive change.
When planning Maddy's photoshoot we talked about sparkle and shine and a 1940s glamour vibe. Maddy happened to have a short sequined dress that she had picked up at the Free People store in Walnut Creek and a long shimmery skirt that her aunt had given her so she built her looks around those two pieces.
I normally recommend wearing a neutral nail polish color for photoshoots. But I have to admit that this shade of grey/blue that Maddy chose actually compliments both of her looks really well.
It's important, when choosing your outfits, to make sure that they won't become see-through if they are backlit. This comes up a lot with white tops & dresses. I *love* shooting white tops and dresses, so don't rule them out! Just make sure to check this before your shoot. Isn't it beautiful how the outer layer of Maddy's skirt looks with the sun shining through...
Also, give yourself permission to go with makeup that might be a touch more dramatic than your normal wear. I wouldn't consider Maddy's lipstick "dark" but it really does pop in the pictures, as compared to, say, just a tinted lip gloss.
Now this next section is a complete departure from my normal work, and was just for fun. After Maddy's shoot we were losing light fast but I asked her if she'd be willing to wade into the water and she was totally game for it. Most of my sessions I shoot with natural light but because this was basically at night I got out my lighting equipment and we played around for a bit.
Something about those ripples in the water...
I don't wear makeup on a regular basis because it all makes me break out. (Don't get me started on this-- I've tried all types of brands. Really.) But if I'm having my picture taken you better believe I do. So let's talk foundation for your senior portrait: there are some serious do's and don't here, some obvious, some less so.
1. I'm guilty of this-- if you haven't bought your foundation recently there is a pretty high likelihood that it doesn't match your current skin color. Have you been out in the sun all summer? Foundation from the spring is going to make your face crazy pale compared to your neck. And your summer foundation is going to make you look orange come January. Mark my words.
2. Also guilty here-- you only have a few spots that need coverage so you think "I'll just dab a little on those spots." No. Just don't. This is worse than nothing and totally draws attention to those places. All or nothing. Which brings me to nothing...
3. If you have naturally clear skin (*cough* Katherine Marotto *cough*) I would prefer to photograph you with no foundation on at all. Ok? I said it. Nothing. Why? I shoot super high res and can see the texture of the makeup. I do have photoshop techniques to smooth it out, but the texture of clear skin is the obvious winner here.
4. Not foundation but related: highlighters. I *love* the look of highlighter IRL. But I've noticed that in camera they can actually shift the color tint of your skin where they are applied. For example they can shift you yellow. They also can add shimmer which sometimes reads as shine in photos. Highlighters should come with warning labels. Be careful!
What to do with all this? Well, if you are intensely into makeup and are planning out your look for your shoot and know what you want to do, then more power to you. Otherwise, here are a few ideas.
A week or two before your shoot, go to the makeup counter and buy a new foundation. Or, at the very least, get a sample of a foundation that is your correct skin color.
Better yet, make the day of the shoot a day to get pampered. Make an appointment with a professional makeup artist. Pin a bunch of pictures of people with your skin tone and hair color and bring them to your appointment to get the exact look you are going for. If you would like recommendations on who to go to, or would like to see examples of past seniors I have shot who have done this, send me a message through the Contact tab.
To round out your day of pampering, you could also go with your mom to get your nails done. Think about hitting up a dry bar for a professional blow out. This way you won't have to worry about looking too pale or orange, or shiny, or yellow, or frizzy...you will feel fantastic when it's time for your session and will be *R E A D Y T O R O C K I T*.
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.