April 24, 2018

The Art of Make-up Photography

Make-up photography is one of my favorite subjects.

You have the opportunity to -

- capture an artist at work,

– witness the birth of a swan, and

– intense, yet relaxed, interaction between people.

Composition is of the utmost importance to get a good make-up photo. In this photo I focussed on the eyes of both the make-up artist (Eloise) and the bride (Nanette).

By placing the eyes in strong positions you can immediately see and feel the concentration of Eloise while the eyes of Nanette actually shows her effort to obey Eloise’s every command because she knows the importance of perfect make-up.

The hand and arm in the middle bridges the distance between the two subjects and reflects their interaction. The positioning of the hand is just as important. I waited till I got a flowing movement that is in line between the two subject’s eyes, thus accentuating the invisible diagonal line between the two subject’s eyes.

Exif Data:

Camera: Nikon D2X; Lens: VR 18-200mm; Focal length: 40mm; Focus Mode: AF-S; AF-Area Mode: Single; VR: On; Aperture: F 5.6; Shutter Speed: 1/125s; Metering: Matrix; ISO: 100; Flash Used: SB-900; Flash Setting: Front Curtain i-TTL-BL with Nikon Diffusion Dome.

Wedding Dress Photography


Wedding Dress Photography:

This was quite interesting. I Googled ‘Wedding Dress Photography’ and couldn’t find a single article or blog entry on wedding dress photography. Nowhere is there any advice to be found for the bride-to-be on what to look for regarding the dress when she is looking at a photographer’s wedding portfolio. Neither is there any advice to the photographer on how to successfully photograph wedding dresses.

Everybody is climbing on the ‘trash the dress’ bandwagon but nobody is paying any attention to dress photography on the wedding day.

The wedding dress is normally one of the single most expensive items in the wedding budget. Hours and hours of research goes into finding the right dress with the finest detail that will compliment the bride. After that some more hours will be spent in finding the right designer followed by hours of fitting and worrying about on the edge deadlines and final adjustments.

Then comes the Big Day and the princess will be out there in her fairytale dress embroidered with the finest detail overwhelming the groom and the guests with her radiant beauty and the dress, oh, the dress is complimenting her finest detail and features.

The photographer is snapping away, the bride is posing and everybody is so excited about the end result – the album.

And then comes the pictures.

What do you see – a white dress with no detail whatsoever on most of the images. No sign of the detail that complimented the beautiful princess on her wedding day. Just white blobs. And then these photographers will remind you on their website and in their brochures that, after the wedding, only the photos are left to remind you of this wonderful day – and you cannot even appreciate the detail on that single, sometimes most expensive, item that you cherished so much.

A good photographer who knows how to handle exposure will show the detail on the dress – image after image after image. Non-negotiable.

I also find that some photographers will give you all the detail on your dress but then the background and surroundings is either over- or under-exposed. You are part of the surroundings and that is part of your wedding day. Therefore it is also important that not only the dress, but also the background, must be correctly exposed.

He or she will not only give you the detail on the dress.

And that is why it is so important, and I cannot stress that enough, to look at complete weddings when you meet up with a photographer and not just his or her best work. Ask them to show you one or two complete wedding albums. Only after you have seen that and you are happy with what you have seen, can you know for sure that this photographer knows what he is doing and will not let you down.


Make-up Scene

Make-up For The Perfect Wedding Day:

Every bride-to-be knows that make-up plays a vital part on the perfect wedding day.  But I’ve found that, even so, they quickly forget that every wink, blush, smile and kiss is permanently recorded, either digitally or on film.

Yes, all you beautiful brides-to-be out there – make-up is not just a vital part, it is THE vital part of your perfect day!  Your bridal make-up has to be picture perfect, needs to be picture perfect!  Now you will never hear me even indicate that a bride might need to cover some imperfections, so let me put it differently:  you need to highlight your best features and your beauty!  The problem with highlighting your best features is that it should always appear natural, subtle and, most important, just plain pretty.

You have to take your venue into consideration (more about foundation with sunscreen later), as well as the time of your wedding.  You’ll have to adjust your makeup for morning, afternoon and evening and absolutely for indoor or outdoor lighting.  I know there are so many details to take into consideration when planning the perfect wedding.  There’s the princess dress, the romantic song and the endless-tier cake – but please never forget the most important detail – the perfect face!

Quick Wedding Makeup Tips

  • We all know a picture is worth a thousand words.  So the advice I give my brides is to start with a picture.  (Or as many pictures as you want).  Get those bridal magazines, a great cup of tea (nothing wrong with a glass of chardonnay), and pick the pictures that capture the look of your dream bridal face!  Collate them together for reference when you meet-up with your make-up artist.
  • Use a professional! I know some brides want to, or have to do it themselves, but I would urge you to cut three tiers from that ultimate wedding cake and spend it on a make-up artist!  You will never let an amateur take your pictures (I mean, you are reading this on my site) – so please make that booking, and make sure that you have a free makeover weeks before the wedding to measure the success!
  • Ok, now I will speak about “foundation”.  One: make sure it is a lightweight (did I mention lightweight) foundation.  The heavier foundations look absolutely obvious and deflect your beauty.  Also – don’t forget the sunscreen.  Not all foundations contain sunscreen, so depending on your venue and time of wedding – make sure the sunscreen is there for the outside photography.  The last thing you want is a sun-burnt face on your honeymoon.
  • Eye makeup:  I don’t have that much to say but this: WATERPROOF.  There are so many new looks: “smoky”, “nude” and “clean” are the ones that I come across the most, but none of that means anything if it streaks or smears!  Tears of joy are always present (and yes, sometimes just plain tears… so be warned!). Tears can also smear the rest of your make-up. So the buzz-word there will also be WATERPROOF.
  • As for your lipstick – My advise against bold or dark colors.  I can always strengthen the tone afterwards, but an overpowering mouth distracts from the perfect face.  Soft and delicate colors should do the trick! Balance is the word.
  • Avoid glitter. I may look fabulous when you look at it, but the moment it gets light of any nature it starts to fulfill its purpose – glitter – and that can be very distracting on your photos.
  • Lastly (and most importantly): Blush, blush, blush. Shape and shadow your face with blush, even if it’s not what you do normally. Blush will define your features without pomp and attention, and ensures that you have a healthy glow throughout the day.

After all is said and done – My dream for your wedding is that our photos should surpass your dreams.  Wedding pictures are shared and passed on through generations.  You’ve all seen those pictures of friends and family that become the center of all jokes.  You don’t want to be that couple!  Your goal is to have timeless beauty in every picture.  So even if you never wear makeup, it is still important to use a little on your wedding day.