Photo Ready Boudoir Makeup

February 24, 2021

When I started out in the industry as a model, I was comfortable doing my own makeup, but I quickly realized that what we may apply for every day looks doesn’t always translate on camera as well as we would hope. 

As I transitioned into applying makeup for boudoir photo sessions that used studio lighting or natural light, I have found a wonderful arsenal of tricks that are perfect for photographers, models, and makeup artists alike. Here are seven easy tips I have found helpful you can try during your next session to ensure a makeup look stays put and comes across on camera beautifully. 

Lauren Gray

Wild Fyre Co. | Kansas City, MO

Photos by Laura Straub | lastphoto.kc- Kansas City, MO
MUA: Lauren Gray | Wild Fyre Co
Model: Shawn Renee


Skin preparation will always be number one! Think of it as starting on a perfect canvas. Make sure to start with a freshly washed face. Apply skin care products from thinnest to thickest. Start with a toner, followed by a serum, and finish off with a moisturizer. If you choose products that compliment the skin type, you can achieve a flawless base. An oily or combination type may benefit from a lightweight moisturizer and an oil reducing or mattifying primer. Dry skin needs extra moisture to stay plump, so make sure to use a hydrating serum, and moisturizer. Facial oils may benefit dry skin, as well. Luminizing primers are available for dull skin and pore refining primers can help create a less textured canvas for larger pores or acne. There are endless possibilities to create a proper skin prep routine, but don’t get overwhelmed! At minimum, make sure the skin is clean and moisturized. 


Go heavier than normal. It may look a bit foreign in person if you aren’t used to it, but the colors will be bolder and pick up better on camera! False lashes can add a touch of drama and allow bolder makeup to seem a bit more proportional. Try going one to two shades darker on your eyeshadow colors and your lip color and see the difference it makes in changing up a normal look!


You can turn any eyeshadow color into a waterproof eyeliner or foiled eyeshadow by using a liquid mixing medium on a brush and dipping into your favorite shimmer or matte shadow. It will give your shimmers a metallic sheen, as well as staying power ability. This technique truly compliments a cut crease or lid shade. If you like to get creative, use this method to create a new lip color or graphic liner. 


Always use an eyeshadow primer! Aim to use a high quality primer that has 12+ hour staying power when possible. This helps prevent eyeshadow from creasing due to oil and sweat, as well as give your pigments an even base to grip and build on top of. When choosing a high quality eye primer, you can ensure makeup will stay put through sweat, heat, and lights. 


Use a small amount of matching foundation on a small, flat brush to clean up the lip line after applying lipstick. Sometimes lipstick application can give you bleeding lines and uneven shapes. You can use the foundation brush to create your desired shape and get rid of any color in unwanted areas. This technique also works to clean up sharp edges and wings with eyeshadow and eye liner. 


Use a matte shade of blush and contour. In most situations, you can obtain a fresh complexion through a good skin prep, so a matte shade blends with foundation nicely and creates a natural look. A shimmer blush or powder tends to make the face look shiny, oily, or reflect light strangely in photographs and under studio lights. Using a shimmer highlight to accentuate the highest points of the cheekbones will give the face a beautiful glow. By controlling where the shimmer shade is applied, you can anticipate where the light will hit the face and achieve a balanced image. 


Don’t forget to seal your look with a setting spray! This will keep makeup set in place for a longer period of time, and the right brand can even sweat proof and waterproof the makeup right in. Once the final spray is dry, I like to add a bit of waterproof finishing powder on top to matte down any shine the spray may leave behind. When choosing a finishing powder, look for one that is translucent and doesn’t have a white undertone. The flash will cause white based powders to give a dusty, white tone onto the face. 

There you have it! Seven things you can do to ensure your gorgeous makeup translates on camera, and the wear extends long beyond the session itself. Try one of these tips on yourself or your clients next time you have a session booked, or experiment and take some selfies! Makeup is an art, and having the right combination can level up your artistry tremendously.