Whether you’re prepping for a wedding, red carpet, or just a night out with your friends who really love taking pictures—it goes beyond a good matte powder or setting spray, according to the pros. We tapped professional makeup artists to get their best tips for making sure makeup is camera-ready, because they know a thing or two about photo shoots, of course—always. Get their tricks for instantly Instagram-ready makeup—no FaceTune necessary—below.
Moisturized Skin Is a Must
We’ll be the first to tell you here at Byrdie that good makeup starts with good skincare. And it should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: You should always make sure your skin is moisturized, year-round, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. But it’s extra important to have a moisturized base if you want your makeup to last—and look good on camera.
“Well-prepped skin with a good moisturizer will ensure your face is set for long-lasting makeup,” professional makeup artist Apollo Barragan tells Byrdie. He says Embryolisse is his absolute go-to for his clients before he gets started on the makeup portion.
Start by Priming Your Face
After your skincare routine, the next thing you need is a great primer.
“I’m always working on brides and bridal parties as well as random photo shoots for things, so I always need my clients to be camera-ready,” wedding and event makeup artist Lucas Dean tells Byrdie. Dean’s secret sauce actually involves mixing two primers together for a magical, all-in-one concoction—Makeup Forever’s Step 1 Primer Color & Redness Corrector and First Aid Beauty’s Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer.
By mixing the two, he says, you’ll get a redness-reducing, color-correcting, and ultra-hydrating mixture that’s the perfect base for camera-ready makeup. Sign us up.
The Perfect Setting Powder Is Essential
Of course, a shiny forehead in photos is unavoidable sometimes. (To sweat is human, as they say). But a great setting powder will go a long way in reducing any shininess that can—unfortunately—be exacerbated and highlighted by a camera’s flash.
“You just need a light amount of a great foundation powder,” Dean says. “When used lightly, it sets the skin but also adds that second little layer of coverage for longevity.” He recommends a satin-to-matte foundation powder for a natural-looking final product—Kett Cosmetics’ Fixx Powder Foundation Compact, to be exact. “It’s not too matte or drying, and has a gorgeous natural satin finish.”
It’s also important to note that certain powders can cause flashback, aka a white cast or glow that can appear in photos, caused by light-reflecting makeup or skincare. Matte, lightweight formulas are great for avoiding flashback—as opposed to dewy, heavier formulas—and so is picking the right color. (In other words, don’t settle for a powder that’s a shade or two too light, because it will show in photos. It’s worth it to find your perfect match).
Finish With a Great Setting Spray
In case you haven’t heard by now: As a makeup wearer, a good setting spray should be your best friend. Nothing will lock in your makeup longer for all-night wear, even through blinding camera flashes.
“My tip with applying setting spray is actually spraying it on a foundation brush, and then moving it gently over the skin,” Dean says. “It really sets everything and locks it in.” (And here I’ve been, just spraying it directly onto my face).
He recommends Make Up For Ever’s Mist & Fix Hydrating Setting Spray to get your final look locked, loaded, and ready for action.
Take a Picture With Flash Before Heading Out the Door
This one’s easy: Before you hit the red carpet (or your party with Instagram-story enthusiasts), test things out by taking a photo with flash. If you notice you used too much powder, simply sweep it off—or if you realize you need a little more, well, get that brush goin’.
Also, keep in mind that the camera flash can wash you out—so it might be a good idea to apply a little more here and there than usual to make sure you look as healthy and flushed as you do IRL. “A little extra bronzer, blush, or both definitely won’t hurt,” Barragan says.