We may be a bit biased, but of course we feel like photography is one of the most important decisions for a bride and groom to make for their wedding! In reality, so many decisions are important and for each couple and what paramounts is different. This may come as a surprise to our readers, maybe not, but considering who you choose for your makeup artist may need to be at the top of your priority list. One big reason is the effect it can have on your timeline if makeup runs late. More importantly, I (Kristin) know that every bride wants to look retouched… in real life… on her wedding day.
So today I’m going to talk you through what a professional photographer is looking for in wedding day makeup. Some of our brides want a more natural look while some are perfectly willing to go dramatic. Yet there are key elements to color, shadows and highlights that mimic what we’re trying to accomplish with light. When these two factors are on point (light and make up), the finished portrait is exquisite. Ok… so what are these elements? The first… shadows.
Our first bride is Changyi who was honestly very worried about her makeup. She mentioned that she was a bit self conscious of the shape of her face. Our makeup artist shared with her that she studies the features of her brides faces and knows where and how to bring out her best features. Whether you have a round face or narrow, a key component of wedding day makeup is shadowing below the cheekbone. Notice how defined Changyi’s cheeks are. It’s subtle, but key. Whether we’re using off camera lighting or natural light, we’re looking for those beautiful shadows below the neck and cheekbone. Now this is just my opinion, but I prefer a rosy brown for this shadow. When it’s pink, it’s often lost in our cameras and when it’s too brown, it looks like you’ve been punched in the face. Yikes!
Study the album spread above. Now you’re noticing Jenn’s perfectly rosy brown shadow under her cheek aren’t you? Now, study her jaw line. See the beautiful shadow that goes all the way from her ear to her chin? Don’t we all want that perfectly slim neck! Well, there’s contouring there and this is one of the MOST missed details we notice. The same color used to contour your cheekbones should be used below your neck to give beautiful definition. There have been weddings where I wished I carried bronzer with me and when the make up artist wasn’t looking I would apply to my bride myself!
Another key component of wedding day makeup is color. Seems obvious, but there are colors you should use and colors you may want to avoid. While shimmery eyeliner and eye shadow are fun for going out, they are not the most flattering when you’re being photographed. The shimmer in eye shadow can actually reflect light and makes your skin look speckled or dirty. The white or colored eye liner washes out your eyes instead of accentuating them. Even you’re hoping for a dramatic look, we recommend you sticking to a neutral color palette but just taking it up a notch. A smoky eye is perfectly fine, and we always love a dramatic lip. But the key is to keep the color around your eyes neutral and with a matte finish so we see your eyes first, not your makeup.
Often times our brides will look at their makeup when it’s finished in a hand held mirror. They are still in their t-shirt and who knows if the light is pretty where they’re sitting. So they see their face super close up and have a mild panic attack… just wait! Before you cry to your makeup artist to tone it down, wait until your gown is on and we put you in beautiful light. Then, make a decision. It often puts our brides at ease to see what their face looks like in our cameras. When you’re a distance away and, not to mention, in a gown, the makeup must be substantial in order for our cameras to see it.
Natural from a distance looks bold up close…
Notice our stunning bride Megan shown above. She is exquisitely natural and still looks like herself. I’ve heard many times that my brides worry about wedding day makeup because they want to look like themselves on their wedding day. Of course you should look like yourself! But just the most beautiful version of yourself! Close up, Megan has a dark red lip, but notice from a distance how soft it looks. She has false lashes and contouring and all key elements of wedding day makeup.
Ok, now let’s talk about brows. No matter how dark or light or perfect you think your eyebrows are… in order to have a complete look, your makeup artist should color them in. Whether slightly or not, it finishes the look. Notice above Emily’s brows are already dark and you may not think necessary to color, but they are and are done so with precision. They don’t look thick or fuller than normal, nor do they change the structure of her face, which brides often worry about. Rather, they define her eyes and anchor her cheekbones.
So you may have guessed by now who’s techniques we’ve been referring to in this post. While we work with many amazing makeup artists, the famous Kara Winslow is a makeup artist we trust 100% to deliver a beautiful service while staying on time… always. Kara understands how to make our brides look their best while also understanding what we want as a photographer. We have worked countless weddings with Kara and never once has she been late or taken longer than she said she would. For my brides, I know you have so many decisions to make and sometimes that’s overwhelming. But I promise you you will not regret investing in a professional makeup artist and Kara is our first recommendation. Twice a year, Kara and Footstone host a Makeup Workshop where we talk about these elements in more detail and can talk specifically with you about how your make up could look based on your individual features. Stay tuned for that or email us if you want to be added to the email list. Thank you Kara for being so wonderful and taking such good care of our brides!