Lighting Tips For Makeup Photography

We all have those days where we look in the mirror, then look again thinking “I look GOOD!” (followed by the expected selfie…of course). But have you ever taken a picture of some really amazing scenery, the landscape is breathtaking, but when you look back on the picture it is nothing like you experienced in person? How much more frustrating is it when the scenery is YOU? Especially after you just put on some killer makeup and perfected a much practiced technique?

In the makeup artistry profession, pictures are everything. No resume will ever be able to show what you can show in a picture. Your hard work is displayed as proof of your abilities, which means you need to be able to CAPTURE your abilities. Nothing is more frustrating than advertising as something seemingly less than you know you are.

One of the biggest components in capturing 100% on point pictures of your work, is lighting. You can have the most vibrant, creative, beautifully dynamic makeup out there — yet lighting can wash it out making you look two toned and deathly. Why struggle, when we have key tips to solve your makeup picture woes?

Here are our top 3 suggestions:

natural-lighting1. NATURAL LIGHT

Natural light beats out all light options. Not only is this the cheapest and easiest option, this type of lighting will by far give you the best results. Of course, different times of the day are better than others. Early morning and late afternoons give off the best lighting, as the sun comes from an angle instead of straight above midday – which tends to be too harsh of lighting and creates shadows around the eyes and nose. Even inside, natural light works wonders. Place yourself next to a window and play with the camera angles to see how your entire face will be beautifully illuminated with a soft glow.


Artificial lights indoors can be tricky and tend to give off a very harsh look. You can splurge and use a studio-lightingprofessional light, but if you do, you will want to use either an umbrella or a piece of white card board to
diffuse the harshness the light tends to make. However, you do not need to purchase a professional light. You can use the method of placing two lamps on either side of the subject, letting light shine from each direction, or you can also place a light right behind the camera allowing the camera to pick up exactly what you are seeing. Be aware that lamps will also provide a harsher light, but they do an amazing job at bringing out the colors you use on the face. AVOID USING FLASH – this shines a bright light as soon as you take the picture, which immediately washes out and casts shadows on your face.


Also known as “ring lights”. Have you ever seen a model in a magazine with a full ring of light around her eyeballs in a picture? The photographer is using a halo light – which is literally a ring of light around the camera, bathing the skin in an even layer of illumination. If you purchase a tool to help with your pictures – this is the one to make. The light from the ring flash is coming from the same plane as the lens, which eliminates shadows. This light also creates a halo effect around the subject, causing the picture to appear almost a little unreal because it is so clear and faultless. There is a version specifically for your phone you can purchase for an affordable price, that will allow you to snap the picture if you are out and about and happen to find that perfect spot to shoot. This type of photography would create unique and professional pictures for a portfolio. You can find more tips on Create a High Quality Makeup Portfolio in another recent blog from

Don’t settle for mediocre pictures when you have a beautiful and unique talent to show off. There is ALWAYS a way to capture what you are seeing — be encouraged! The rest of the world will see what you see.

If this article has gotten you super-excited about becoming a makeup artist, we invite you to learn about our professional makeup training program and get your free eBrochure and 1st free training video! We would love to add you to our family of successful Makeup.School graduates!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD E-brochure and Module 1

More help on becoming a makeup artist: BLOG & TIPS

Notice to all students. All coursework for Makeup.School must be completed on or before October 31, 2019. The course will not be available after November 1, 2019 as we are developing a new course.