Thursday 17 January 2013

Makeup Tips for an Engagement (or Bridal) Photoshoot

I have often been asked what makeup I wear for my wedding and what sort of makeup look best on brides for engagement and wedding day shoots. I really hope this post is somewhat helpful to those who are looking for hints on how to look their most beautiful self for engagement portraits. With the exception of the hairstyle, I think that these tips can be useful for bridal makeup too.

I guess the most important thing to note here is that makeup is absolutely essential for these shoots unless you have flawless skin. I made the mistake of NOT wearing any AT ALL except for eyelashes and while my eyes looked pretty, my skin did not. The camera picked up every.single.flaw and it was such a bad decision on my part that I am still kicking myself for it.

The following recommendations are based on creating a radiant, fresh faced and in-love look. I don't think an engagement shoot is the best occasion to be adventurous with makeup.


Now, the perfect foundation for your engagement portrait may not be your favourite everyday foundation. I suppose this depends on the level of coverage your skin usually needs though. I prefer a more sheer, dewy foundation for every day. For a portrait session, I recommend that you find a foundation that provides flawless coverage and a gorgeous luminous quality to the skin. You want to look like you are glowing from within :)

My foundation recommendations are listed below, please note that these are foundations I have tested and loved. You may find something you already have in your stash that fits the bill just as well...

- Chanel Mat Lumiere : this is medium coverage, and I don't need as much concealer for my spots (I get them regularly, unfortunately). It is very long lasting, oil free, and gives my skin a very understated, subtle glow. The finish is velvety and a setting powder is not recommended. It will make your skin look too matte/dry and therefore, unnatural. It looks brilliant in photographs on its own, and probably more suited to elegant and urban-type engagement shoots.

- Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation : I find this to be a great sheer - medium (buildable) foundation that makes your skin look better. More fresh, more even toned, while still looking very very natural. This foundation is perfect for a more fun or outdoorsy photoshoot, or when you just want to look like yourself. Also oil-free and supposedly non-comedogenic (don't quote me on that though!).

- Laura Mercier Silk Creme : Its no secret that I love love this foundation very much. It never makes my skin break out (oil free), and when applied as part of Laura's Flawless Skin method, it is fail-proof. It is a creamy, easily spread foundation that offers high coverage. What I love most is that it matches my skin perfectly and it is a very dewy foundation. Translucent powder is necessary to set and while I find that this foundation transfers quite easily, it is worth the trouble for the amazing result it gives. I wore this foundation to the latest photoshoot I did with dearest hubby.

Foundation Base (optional)  

The best foundation base, if you choose to wear one, is Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer. It is simply the best to ensure perfect application of your base and extend its longevity. If you wear a good moisturiser, I absolutely think that you can skip this step. 


This may be personal preference, but I think the eye makeup should be kept to a minimal. Perhaps some shading on the crease and a brightening colour on the lid. I do recommend that you wear eyelashes and some subtle eyelining to enhance your eyes. Refrain from creating a harsh line on your undereye by dotting a gray eyeliner pencil on your lower lashline. Lastly, I think it goes without saying that good curled lashes and mascara are a must!


Enhance your arch slightly by placing light feathery strokes to fill it in and continue with the rest of your brows if necessary. Do not go overboard. If you want an example of overdone eyebrows, think Megan Fox. I don't know why but I hate her arch combined with the thickness and darkness of it. Sorry, Megan! For the record, I did not do my eyebrows at all for my shoot because I did not want to look too polished.


My favourite topic! The blush is very important in creating that radiance that we want. There are a few products that you can use to create radiant cheeks.

- Cream/Liquid/Gel Blush : I find that non-powder blush looks the most natural on the skin when blended properly. The only thing is that if you have spots on your cheeks, you will be required to spot conceal after cream blush application. If you are like me, you will not want to do this. Simplify your makeup routine and go for a powder blush. My favourite shades are Illamasqua Rude, Edward Bess Island Rose, and Becca Beach Tint in Watermelon.

- Powder Blush : Choose the best, least powdery blush you have in your stash. It needs to lay on the skin (well, foundation) naturally. Some of my favourites are Chanel Tweed Rose, Chanel Joues Contraste in Fleur de Lotus, Le Metier de Beaute Blush Kaleidoscope, Burberry Blushes (all of them are gorgeous!), Illamasqua Blushes and last but not least, Shu Uemura Glow Ons.

Remember that the camera washes out any colours so apply a touch more blush than necessary. 


Keep the lips simple and fresh. I don't think you can go wrong with the lipstick shade as long as you choose something that is close to your natural lip colour. A brightening lip colour that would be perfect for all seasons,like Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense in La Favourite, would be my pick. For my own shoot, I used LMdB's Aurora Lip Kit, because that was my traveling lip kit of choice.


A small amount of highlighting couldn't hurt, can it? I don't think its strictly necessary, but if you have any dark shadows on your face that may be picked up during the shoot, it might be best to conceal and highlight.

Personally, I love YSL Touche Eclat in #3, but makeup guru Lisa Eldridge swears by Clinique Airbrush Concealer. I believe the two products are quite similar, in that they provide sufficient coverage for undereye darkness and any dark shadows on the face while highlighting, which lifts your features, creating a more youthful appearance. A small amount of highlight powder to the high points on your cheeks would also create the same effect.

Final Notes and Advice

I only have a few more sentences in me to finish off this long blog post. This topic is something I researched thoroughly prior to my own wedding and I hope I helped someone today.

- Remember to have fun! This is what will come across on the photos when you finally get to enjoy it some weeks later...
- Hydrate your skin from inside and out. Drink plenty of water!
- Before you leave your home for the shoot, do a final check of your makeup. Touch up to make sure that everything is as perfect as possible. Your makeup will only get worse unless you plan on touching up throughout the day.

I will leave you with some images from my shoot in Canada. Hope you like it, and more importantly, I hope you like the makeup! ;)


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