Picture of Makeup Photography Tips & Tricks

To the makeup bloggers and enthusiasts of the internet, I'm sure you'll agree that there's nothing more frustrating than poorly taken/arranged photos. Especially if you'd like to recreate a look but can't achieve the same colors you saw in the original photo because the photo was not true to the makeup in reality.

Don't be that person!

Here are some tips and tricks to help you not be that person and take the best possible photos of your makeup to share with the world!

You can do it! I believe in you!

Let's get started :)

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Step 1: Lighting

Picture of Lighting
photo 1.jpeg

Lighting can be detrimental to makeup photos. It's important to find the best lighting that will portray the color of your makeup and complexion as accurately as possible. First, it's important to understand different types of lighting.

Incandescent lighting will make any photo you take seem a bit warmer (More orangey and tan, as seen in the first photo.) than you appear in reality. Gives you perpetual Asian-glow realness! Incandescent lighting can work well for makeup photos taken in bathrooms, provided you have a source of incandescent lighting from multiple angles. (From front and above, from left and right, etc.) Incandescent lighting comes from your typical, household, lightbulb.

Florescent lighting has the opposite effect of incandescent lighting, and will make your photos appear cooler (More pale and washed out, as seen in the second photo.) than you appear in reality. Ideal lighting for that pale, never-seen-the-light-of-day, vampire look. There are few instances where florescent lighting is the most optimal lighting. I have yet to find one myself. Florescent lighting comes from the lights you normally see in office or warehouse ceilings.

The natural lighting of the sun can often give you the best results in the right circumstances. However, it does have a tendency to make blemishes and oiliness more prominent so if you do utilize natural sunlight, try to ensure your face is in a source of shade while facing the direction of the sun. (Note: Staring directly into the sun will make you psychic so you should definitely do that.)

Mixed Lighting:
Mixed lighting can have strange consequences. It's best to find a single source or type of light to take your photos with. In most cases of mixed lighting, you will get the worst of both worlds. (See 3rd photo for example.)

When/if it can be avoided, flash is not your friend unless you're fancy enough to have a defuser. If you don't know what that is, then great! You don't have to worry about it :) Just avoid flash when possible when taking photos for the purposes of sharing a makeup look. Flash in a dark room will almost always result in red-eyes. Not cute.

Shadows from the features of your own face are typically undesired in makeup photos, as seen in the 4th photo. In the case of contouring, the magic of the makeup is the illusion of shadow. Real shadows can hide the contour and won't give you credit on the hard work you put into creating the illusion. You can avoid shadows by facing a single source of light or having two sources of the same type of light, on either side of your face, at eye level.

Mirrors can actually be a source of light! Hence why bathroom photos often turn out well and are some of the best places to take makeup photos within a household. A large bathroom mirror can provide an even source of light that covers your entire face! Fun fact: I take most my photos with bathroom mirror light.

It is best to face a single source of light. Ensure there is no light facing toward your camera from behind you. This will cause a glare and your camera lens won't be able to capture your complexion or makeup colors accurately.

SparkySolar5 months ago

This is so nice,-

Thank you;


merinurumese8 months ago


Stephyyisms (author)  merinurumese8 months ago

Not a problem! Thank you for checking out my Instructable!

patsheldon8 months ago

interesting read. You have certainly applied your photography classes into a good instructable :) I will always use this knowledge now! Thank you

Stephyyisms (author)  patsheldon8 months ago

No problem! I'm glad you found it helpful :)

Stephyyisms (author)  starbuckslover9 months ago

Love your name, StarbucksLover! Haha!

Thanks for the comment!

Natalina9 months ago

Cool makeup! I love the rainbow eyes. Seeing all the different lighting options with the same makeup is really interesting to see side by side. Thanks for posting!

Stephyyisms (author)  Natalina9 months ago

Thanks, Natalina! Let me know if there's a look in here you'd like me to do an Instructable for.

Thanks for commenting<3

mikeasaurus9 months ago

Great tips, and Step 3 about arrangement is applicable to anyone looking to improve their photo impact

Stephyyisms (author)  mikeasaurus9 months ago

I'm glad you found my tips helpful! I took Photography in college and dabble photography as a hobby so I try to apply what I learned there to my makeup obsession :)

lebowski9 months ago

Nicely done!

Stephyyisms (author)  lebowski9 months ago

Thank you, Lebowski!!!


This is so good! This instructable should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to do makeup blogging!