This is one of the topics that I get asked over and over again. As we all know, a picture says thousand words! Especially now that Instagram is the most used platform in the beauty industry. It’s extremely important that we post quality content because whatever we post is how viewers will think of us. I can’t tell you how many talented artists I know that have Zero clue on how to capture the shot properly to represent their work. Here are 10 tips that will help you have a better understanding on how to get a better photo with your iPhone!
1. Details During Applications
The foundation of a good makeup photo is YOUR actual makeup. If something does not look good in person, then I can promise you it won’t look good in photos. Simple as that. It is very important that you train yourself to see when something is not right before you even pick up your camera. In the early days of my career, you have no idea how many times I thought my makeup was beautiful. I went home, to look at the photos I took, the brows was not brushed into place, the corner of a lash was not glued down, baby hair across my client eyeballs, and the worst is the foundation shade does not match the chest. Yes we all make mistakes, and we can only learn from it. So keeping a keen eye during your applications can save your photos.
2. Understand Your iPhone
Most of us usually just pick up our phone and just snap away. It’s incredible how our phone pretty much calculates everything for us to take a picture but here are some tips and tricks that I learned over the year that can definitely improve the quality of your photos.
-Turn your screen brightness to the highest setting (this will help you see if a photo is exposed properly).
-Tap to Focus. Every time you take a shot, you should tap on the subject’s face for the camera to focus
instead of letting the phone decide for you what it wants to be in focus.
-Tap for Exposure, after you tap on your subject to focus, you can tap on the square again and slide your finger up and down to adjust proper exposure. Your phone usually will do it’s best to calculate proper exposure but from experience, sometimes it’s too bright and sometimes it’s too dark.
-Your back camera will always be 10x better than your front selfie camera.
3. Look For Light
This is probably one of the most important tips I can give you. You need to understand that natural light will always be better than any other light sources. This could be a topic on its own so I am going to keep it as simple for you as I can. Whenever you arrive on location for your client, always try to find a window nearby because that way you will already have a spot in mind for you to take photos after the application. One important thing to remember is when you are using natural sunlight, you have to make sure all other light sources is turned off. If you are in a hotel room with a window, turn off the ceiling light and lamps. Usually if I don’t find a window, I don’t even bother with getting a shot because I know it won’t showcase my work how it supposed to.
Just because you like a certain angle of yourself, does not mean your client feels the same. Always ask them which side they prefer to be photographed on, how they usually take selfies, etc. That way you can have a better understanding of what they prefer and not waste your time snapping 100 photos that they are going to hate. Trust me, you’ll be surprised how many times I think a shot is beautiful, but they hate how their nose looks, eyes, chin and even hair look. I’m sure you feel the same when someone else take a photo of you and think it looks so good and when they show it to you, you actually HATE it but bite your tongue and say anything.
5. You Are NOT a Photo Retoucher
This photo retouching thing is getting out of hand. I have no issue with photo retouching, but I do not support makeup artist just downloading free app on their phone thinking they are a professional photo retoucher. Just listen to me, DON’T DO IT. That’s a specialty job, and people are getting paid a lot of money to do it and you are not one of them. Most of the time, these free facetune apps destroy your work more than improving it. You can probably get away with it if your audience is mostly everyday consumer but if you plan on working with a big team of creatives, photographers can instantly spot it and they will never hire you. If you honestly have interest in retouching, go sign up for a class. Invest in this new knowledge but do it the right way!
6. Different Types Of Lighting
This is another one of those topics that I can spend a whole day talking about so to keep it easy to digest, I am going to focus on 3 different types of light, Natural/Window, Ring Light & Softbox. I already told you guys I will always choose natural light over any other light source, but I understand we won’t have that during the evening. A lot of make-up artist use a ring light as an alternative option but 99% of the time they use it incorrectly. Remember the size of your light source will determine how close you need to be to get the best quality of light. A ring light usually will have a higher contrast so it’s great to showcase colors and texture. A ring light is not for full body or half body shots. It’s ideal for head shots! You should be standing no more than 2 feet away and again there should always be only ONE light source. If you are using a ring light, make sure everything else in the room is off. Softbox basically replicate a window light because of its rectangular shape and it’s the softest light out of the three. Therefore, it will tone down texture on the skin. Last reminder, always turn off all other light sources!
DO NOT USE THE CAMERA ZOOM! AGAIN, DO NOT USE IT! If you want a close up shot, you can always take the photo and crop it in closer after. Whenever you zoom, you will sacrifice the quality of your camera. Always keep your subject in the center of the frame, because your camera lens is a wide-angle lens so when you put it really close to someone’s face, it can warp it and make your forehead look like ET! Keep your clients face away from edge of your phone! You can always reposition it after!
8. Background Choice
Keep it plain, you are not trying to do an editorial shoot with your client, you trying to show case your makeup. Avoid, taking photos with a toilet in the background, find a plain wall, if someone is behind your subject, kindly ask them to move so you can get your shot.
This is literally my worst nightmare, when someone post a blurry photo. I accepted the fact some people can’t visually see when something is out of focus. I will give you tip! After you take a shot of your client, zoom in as close as you can to the pupil, if the eye is out of focus, the photo is out of focus. Practice this on your own, review some of your old photos and see if you can see the differences. Another tip is to keep your hand steady, if you shake your phone while taking the photos, most of the time it will be out of focus.
10. Clean Your Lens
I wish someone told me this, I actually just learned this a year ago! Every time you put your phone in your pocket or handbag, you might leave fingerprints on the lens itself which can cause the photo to be extremely soft. Some people might like that effect but not me. Please wipe your lens before you take any makeup photos of your clients. Trust me you will thank me later!
Well, hopefully you enjoyed this read and helps you improve your photo skills. It will take a bit of practice but eventually your content will start to improve if you follow these 10 tips! Honestly, it’s incredible what our phone can do, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on camera equipment. Everything can be done with our iPhones in this day in age!
I want to shout out to Ken Martinez who is an amazing MUA for helping me edit this article so I sound good!