All of my creative interest has been focused on being the Professional Makeup Artist on set for Photography or Film-Making. I have been blessed to provide makeup for fashion editorials in printed magazines, backstage at multiple fashion weeks, feature story portraits, celebrity appearances/special events and feature film productions. In Louisville, that means that I am creating makeup looks that the local publications, The Voice of Louisville and Modern Louisville, need for their fashion editorials and their feature stories. For every new editorial, I join a team of professionals that work together to create a final image that is to go to print in each issue.
When I'm on set, I challenge myself to provide a final product that is as clean as possible. This is the standard that the elite artists working and thriving in the industry are held to. I believe that makeup isn't to need many alterations once it's finished. Whether it's for a commissioned client or simply the look you're wanting to wear for the day, makeup is art. I would never put a filter over a photographer's final image and personally find it hard to put a filter over the makeup that I do. Sidenote: Let me also say that I do have a lot of fun playing with photo editors. Adjusting the saturation and exposure, sharpening or adding more contrast. One could easily spend 30 minutes editing one selfie. It's a lot of fun to create a different feel for one of your photos but I am mainly referring to the over-editing of skin. It is extremely easy to spot a photo that has been extremely edited and I think that it affects the client, whether they are future clients or present, in a negative way.
Makeup for photography can be extremely challenging and requires a lot of practice but investing in proper training and a kit stocked with professional products anyone can become a really great artist. This doesn't happen overnight and you aren't a professional makeup artist in the beginning phases but there isn't anything wrong with that, we all have to begin somewhere. Even during this past year, my 6th year out of cosmetology school, I have spent more time practicing and learning new techniques on all different skin types to get a better foundation finish. There are a couple of steps I take when completing a full face of makeup and I'm going to outline them below. They are simply guidelines I follow that always set me up for success and give a look that's great straight out of camera.
1. Complete the Eyes First: I'm always working in a strict time frame and tend to be more talkative with my clients so there is usually zero time for mistakes or cleanup. Heavy shadow looks can open up the window for lots of frustrating fallout to slip underneath the eye. You can always place tape or a shadow shield for super easy application and protection. I usually just go for it and wipe away the fallout before I go in with concealer or foundation. When the eye shadow falls on to a face that has already been covered with a concealer or foundation but is not set with a powder, you would have to spend time cleaning that up or correcting any change in color or brightness in that area. Doing the eyes first gives me the freedom to move quickly without worrying about the integrity of the skins finish.
2. Work With the Proper Tools: There are SO MANY different types of brushes and companies that produce great tools for makeup artists. My favorite has been Morphe Brushes, MAC, NYX, Real Techniques, Sonya Kashuk and so many more that I'm leaving out. Brushes can definitely have more than one use but each different part of the face will require a certain brush for the best finish or precision application. For example: in the photo below I used an angled brush from Morphe Brushes to give Alex's brow a sharp edge and high arch. On her eyes, I used a MAC #217 brush to blend out the edges of the lighter shade of shadow to her brow and underneath for a softer coverage. The darker brown shadow was applied with Morphe's G15 packing brush on the top lid and the same angle brush that was used for the brows was used again on the bottom lid. That angled brush is perfect for applying a precise thin line of liner or shadow that traces along the lower lid. I could have used a fluffy brush to apply the second shadow as well but it would have given me a softer finish and a more translucent shadow finish where as I was wanting a full coverage smokey eye.
There are a million brushes that can give a great finish for your foundation but each different style of brush will give you a different coverage. On Alex, I used a stippling brush to deposit my foundation all over and then finished with cosmetics sponge to blend out any spots that needed it . Real Techniques has a sponge that is really fantastic and it's only $5. I really love the look that finishing foundation with a sponge will give on the skin. First: I spray Fix+ from MAC to dampen the sponge. This helps the product go on more smoothly instead of drying out (you can use a little water for the same effect.). The sponge soaks up any excess product that sits on the skin as well as meshing any existing foundation into the skin. It gives an airbrush finish to traditional style makeup. Each artist will have their favorite brushes for certain tasks but they are almost always very similar in bristle diameter and shape.
3. Work With a Lighter Touch: Unless the look you are trying to achieve is on the blunt side, the key to softer edges, blended shadows and a gradient effects on the cheeks is working with little pressure on your brushes. If you have deposited all of the color/product you want on the eyes, cheeks or wherever on the face you then go in after with a cleaner loose bristled or "Fluffy" brush to sweep and blend the color around. If you're using a heavy touch when practicing this technique the color will be pulled around more severely compared to an even displacement. It takes a little more time to go in a blend out your shadows or blush color but the effect is much more polished.
After outlining these simple practices, they seem so elementary and practicing these techniques alone will not guarantee a flawless makeup application. There still needs to be some knowledge of the color wheel and peoples existing skin tones as well as understanding skin and the steps you should take to properly prep it. I will touch on some of those topics in a future blog but to keep it simple these are three techniques that you can start practicing when depositing color products on the skin. I choose the colors for my eye shadow before starting and I base them on what will make the eye color and skin tone look the most flattering. I usually select two colors for blush so that I can create a soft gradient from between the deepest part of cheek bone upwards to the temple and right under the eye.
If you have any questions or would like for me to elaborate more on any of the techniques discussed in this blog please leave me a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to elaborate but unfortunately, no one wants to read a blog that's centuries long. Keeping it short and sweet!
This photo below of model, Alex Hepfinger, was taken from my iphone. The final photo below it was taken by photographer, Jacob Roberts.