Model Makeup and Preparation Tips for Photo Shoot

There are, what are in my opinion, 3 steps to preparation as a model; Days in advance planning, skin prep, and application. I have found 3 separate articles/blog posts that I think are very effective in communicating each phase.


Phase 1. Planning.


Aesthetic & Cosmetic Preparation

Be sure to take care of all hair removal prior to a shoot, but leave at least 2-3 days between when you wax/shave any sensitive areas (such as your bikini line) and your shoot date. This time is necessary to allow for any irritation to disappear before your shoot.

Take care of your nails. Be sure that your nails are neat and well maintained. Short nails are preferred. A natural, non-colored, or French manicure look is preferable. If you plan on posing barefoot, be sure your feet and toes are in good condition.

If you plan on showing your smile, be sure that your teeth are ready for prime-time. If your teeth are discolored, you may want to consider having them cleaned/whitened.

72 Hours Before Your Photo Shoot

Be sure you have worked out all the necessary details about your shoot. You should know where you’re supposed to go, the easiest & fastest way to get there, and what you need to do to prepare for your shoot.

Be sure that you know how to get to the studio or location where you are shooting. If you are working with a make-up artist, please be sure that they are aware of these directions as well.

You should also have a good idea of what items you are going to bring to your shoot.

If bringing a make-up artist, you will want to talk with your photographer about having your make-up ready prior to your appointment start time.

Article from:

Phase 2. Skin Prep

Depending on the client, makeup look and event I am doing makeup for. I generally always use: Cover FX cleanser (no water necessary), Say Yes Makeup remover wipes or Sephora collection wipes, Witch Hazel to tone or Caudalie Elixir, Evian Water Spray, then Benefit Its Potent Eye Cream, Embryolisse Le Creme Concentre, or Murad Oil Control Mattiffier, either Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Primer or a combo of either: Cover FX Brightening Primer, Anti-Acne Primer, Smashbox Original. For eyes I use Lorac Behind the Scenes eye shadow primer or Urban Decay. (If I do have them exfoliate lips- I use Smashbox, for face: Lorac Exfoliator)

Blogpost from: Maria Ortega Makeup:

Phase 3. Application


Makeup for Black and White Film

Dark tones appear to recede:

Used darker colors to accent bone structure, where natural shadows occur, such as the hollows of cheeks, temples, eye sockets. Do not use color on apples or planes of cheeks. Use only under the cheekbone, and blend well. Do not use color on eyelids or brow bones. Use only in crease of eyes, and around lash line. Blend well.

Light tones appear to come forward:
Use highlight to accent where the light hits, like tops of cheeks, bridge of nose, brow bone (under row arch), center of forehead. Use a light toned concealer under eyes only on inside corners, and blend well. Using under entire under eye makes the face appear wider at the eye area, and lowers the cheekbones.

Beware of harsh lines:
Blending is especially important in black and white. Remember that you will see only tonal values, not colors. Liquid and pencil liners are too harsh. Use dark shadows instead. Do not use lip liners unless your lips are very unbalanced.

Beware of textures:
Textures are more visible in black and white, since there is no color to distract the eye. Iridescent powders must be blended carefully, and used sparingly. The same applies for glosses and wet-look makeup. Keep lips matte, or highlight only the bow and center of lips.

Tonal values:
Use colors that are easy to judge how light or dark they will appear in black and white. Charcoals and browns are good choices for eyes, true reds for lips. Apply little to no tint to brows, as they will appear heavier, and draw the eye area down.
Match foundation to upper chest area, so face is not visibly lighter than rest of skin. Blend from face to neck, wetting sponge with water as you blend from jaw line to chest.

Principles of Makeup for Color Film

Studio lights and strobes:

Studio lighting flattens features, so contouring is very important. Accent bone structure, and blend into color. Flashes and strobes cause powdered skin to reflect light. Un-powdered skin absorbs light, which can cause powdered areas to look several shades lighter than bare skin. Powder neck, collarbone, and chest to achieve consistent skin tone. Strong lighting washes golden tones from skin. Use warmer colors on cheeks and lips and for contouring. Mauves tend to look muddy, so use truer pinks and wines.

Color balance:

To achieve uniform skin tone, use the color wheel to balance tones you want to appear neutral. The opposite shade on the color wheel cancels the shade you wish to eliminate.

1: Green: cancels red tones from broken capillaries, pimples, bites
2: Yellow: cancels purple tones from under eye circles, bruises
3: Orange: cancels blue tones in under eye circles, bruises


Use makeup appropriate for the content you are shooting. Keep in mind what the focus will be, and how far you will be from the camera. Contour a little more heavily for full-length shots than for headshots. This is only a guide, but may help to get a greater variety of looks into your book. Feel free to experiment!

1: Fashion: deep cheek contour, basic lips and eyes.
2: Glamour, Swimwear, Lingerie: light cheek contour, accent lips (deep color) or eyes (smokey)
3: Beauty, Hairstyle, Swimwear: medium cheek contour, trendy eyes, medium lips.
4: Fine art: Neutral colors, accent on bone structure.
5: Lifestyle, Fitness: High color cheeks, neutral eyes, bright lips

Model Makeup Bag Basics


Liquid or crème; matching chest
Creme or stick; 2 shades darker than chest




Translucent loose
Highlighting (Revlon skinlights are good)
Pressed, matching chest


Lash curler
Lash comb
Large, soft powder brush
Wedge shaped sponges (for blending)
Circle or teardrop sponges (for foundation and powder)
Large eye shadow brush
Flat and pointy eye shadow sponge applicators
Small, slightly stiff blush brush
Eyeliner brush


Black liner
Basic brown liner (no golden tone)
White liner
Brownish flesh tone lip liner


Ecru (slightly yellow toned) powder
Golden brown powder
Basic brown powder
Charcoal powder
Raisin powder
1 set of fashion colors (no mauves!)


Golden brown (for contouring)
Peach-toned pink
True red
Hot pink


Basic true red
Brown (not beige) neutral
Wine or raisin
Neutral (not bubble gum!) pink gloss
Bronze gloss


Black mascara
Water mist bottle
Anti-redness eye drops
Large powder puff
Cornstarch-based powder
As many lipsticks as you can carry!

With these colors and tools, you can create many different looks by playing with combinations and color placement and shapes for variety.

Gayle Elizabeth

By | 2013-02-10T10:50:49+00:00 January 12th, 2013|Tips, Tutorials|0 Comments