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10 Tips for Better Beauty Photography: From Poses to Lighting

A gorgeous beauty shot of a couple posing on the beach

Beauty images will open doorways into editorial and business work.

However it may be a bit of intimidating whenever you’re beginning out.

These 11 ideas will allow you to take nice editorial high quality magnificence images.

A gorgeous beauty shot of a couple posing on the beach

1. Rent Make-up and Hair Stylists

It goes with out saying that magnificence photographs take an entire staff for them to come to life.

Make-up and hair styling are a number of the most necessary parts subsequent to lighting.

Even in case you are going for a extra pure look, it’s essential to have a make-up artist and hair stylist.

Many are prepared to work with photographers on a TFP foundation. This implies ‘time-for-photos’. 

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing against a white background

Different make-up artists and hair stylists might cost you. For those who admire their work, it’s value hiring them.

You’ll get a tremendous look for your mannequin. This, in flip, will minimise the period of time you’ll spend retouching the mannequin after in submit.

If you work with a magnificence group, ensure that to give them sufficient time to get the mannequin or fashions prepared.

It’s necessary to talk precisely what look you need and have examples prepared. 

Close up beauty portrait of a blonde model - magazine photography

It’s also possible to let the sweetness workforce add their private touches.

Giving them a bit of management over the artistic course of will make them need to work with you sooner or later.

2. Use Idea Playing cards

Beauty images may be experimental. In case you’re working with a shopper, you’ll need to put together with storyboards or idea playing cards.

This can make the entire shoot go easily.

Have a basic mock-up of the seems to be, concepts, textures, colour scheme, and posing. Everybody concerned will “see” the shoot in a extra visible approach and be on the identical web page. 

And having everybody targeted on the precise look could make the whole lot run smoother.

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing against a white background

Retaining a temper board also can assist to convey the sweetness shoot collectively. Attempt having totally different parts of inspiration or “feel”.

Everybody can get an concept of what the photographs are supposed to seem like. 

This implies the mannequin will know what to do, and the shopper what outcomes to anticipate.

three. Rent a Artistic Director

It may be useful to have a artistic director on board.

They will ensure that the photoshoot goes in accordance you and your shopper’s plan. 

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing playfully against a white background

Having enjoyable and taking photographs which are extra experimental through the shoot will give your shoppers extra selection.

A artistic director will even guarantee there’s no time wasted.

Some artistic administrators, like magnificence groups, are prepared to work on a TFP foundation. Others will need to be paid. 

four. Which Fashions Ought to You Work With

There’s a notable distinction between actual working fashions and people wanting to put their foot within the door. 

Actual fashions typically solely work with well-known photographers. Or with photographers who’re prepared to check shoot concepts or ideas the fashions take into consideration.

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing against a white background

New fashions are extra prepared to work for free to develop their portfolios. This will additionally construct new working relationships for future tasks. 

Having stated that, fashions who’ve been working for a while might be extra useful throughout a shoot. They understand how their physique strains and actions could make a photograph extra fascinating. And provides the shopper what they’re wanting for.

They’re additionally extra skilled in getting sure facial expressions or poses.

A beauty portrait of a female model posing against a white background

This doesn’t imply that much less skilled fashions aren’t nice in entrance of the digital camera.

Attempt working with every type, sizes, and dealing and new fashions. You’ll get extra expertise photographing totally different our bodies, facial textures, and different variations.

You may as well ask an in depth pal to mannequin for you. This can permit you to experiment with magnificence type photographs. And also you’ll achieve extra practise earlier than working with extra skilled fashions.

5. How to Select the Proper Lighting for Beauty Photographs

You should use shadows and extra directional lighting in magnificence images. This is determined by the story you need to inform.

Coloured lighting may also make the photographs pop. Do this in case you’re doing one thing extra fashion-forward or excessive trend.

The most effective factor about lighting is that you simply don’t all the time want a studio to create beautiful magnificence photographs. You should use direct daylight to create directional mild relying on the time of day you shoot.

Additionally, utilizing totally different coloured boards may give shade casts. They usually can mirror the colours that you’re wanting to add to the photographs.

A high fashion style beauty portrait of a female model

Utilizing studio strobes may give off extra lighting and create a excessive trend fashion.

Utilizing off-camera flashes or strobes could make it simpler to photograph on location. You should use totally different translucent paper or material to add colour. 

Utilizing reflectors and bounce playing cards can even assist mirror mild. These will create a extra uniform conventional magnificence lighting setup.

Setting your off-camera flash or strobe to create extra directional mild. This could add an fascinating fashion to your magnificence pictures.

It’ll additionally broaden your magnificence/editorial portfolio.

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing in low lighting

Utilizing off digital camera flashes or just one mild supply can supply shadows however nonetheless spotlight the face. This turns into the focus of the photograph.

In the event you’re utilizing backgrounds, concentrate on the place the fall-off of the sunshine occurs. Then you possibly can add or take away mild from the background in accordance to what you need to obtain.

Extra fall-off will make your background extra seen. Much less fall-off will do the other and make the background much less seen.

Ensure you take some exams photographs to see how it will have an effect on your general composition.

Beauty shoots are prepped forward of time with artistic administrators or storyboarding. This consists of lighting. 

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing against a white background

Totally different angles may give totally different appears to the photograph. Attempt totally different poses and see which one the shopper likes greatest.

Experimenting with totally different mild sources may also add results to the sweetness pictures. Attempt string lighting like Christmas lights, sparklers, lighters, or strobe DJ lighting.

These may give fascinating lighting results. Use them on their very own or along with off digital camera lighting.

6. Use Mild Modifiers to Manipulate the Temper

Mild modifiers embrace softboxes, grids, bounce playing cards, reflectors, or umbrellas. You’ll be able to even use black flags to create extra shadows.

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing in different lighting

Totally different lighting may give totally different seems to be to the identical magnificence idea.

Mild modifiers are particularly useful in a studio. They may give you extra dispersed mild, making a small mild supply greater. Or you can also make the sunshine softer and extra even.

You may also use a snoot to sharpen and make the sunshine extra directional.

Mild modifiers spotlight what’s most essential through the shoot. Be it the make-up, hair, or skincare merchandise.

Expressive beauty portrait of a female model - hairdressing photography example

Experiment with totally different mild modifiers. That method you’ll get a singular look for your magnificence pictures.

7. Which Props Ought to You Use for Beauty Images

The wonderful thing about magnificence pictures is that you simply usually don’t want a lot area. 

Beauty images is concentrated totally on the face and shoulders and up. Full physique photographs usually are not needed. 

Once more, this does rely upon what you and your shopper are aiming for.

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing against a stone wall

It’s all the time nice to have helpful images props to assist make the shoot go smoother wherever the session takes place.

For magnificence shoots, you’ll want the next:

  • Stool or backless chair to have the mannequin sit on;
  • Tape to put marks on the ground for fashions, lights, assistants, and so forth.;
  • Style tape for all issues wardrobe associated;
  • Station or desk for magnificence staff to arrange and unfold out;
  • Music on a transportable speaker to set an excellent tone for the shoot;
  • Tripod with the intention to set your digital camera down or hold it in place for sure shoots;
  • Laptop computer, or viewing screens like iPad or pill. Particularly useful if the shopper shall be attending the session. Additionally nice to control your publicity and general look of the pictures;
  • Snacks and water for everybody concerned to hold the power up if the shoot runs lengthy.

You might not want all of those for each magnificence shoot. However it’s good to have them available. 

eight. Retouching Beauty Photographs

Retouching is inevitable in any magnificence session. However it’s turning into extra widespread for shoppers to keep away from over-processed pictures.

Should you’re not up for modifying your pictures your self, you’ll be able to outsource this. There are lots of retouching providers that may comply with all of your specs and have a great flip round time.

Sensual beauty photography diptych of close up portraits of a female model

When you’re modifying your magnificence pictures your self, be careful for over-processing. The pores and skin wants to be carried out with a excessive consideration to element. It wants to look pure and never pretend. 

Relying on what your shopper has requested, you’ll have to alter facial options. Adobe Photoshop is your go-to program right here. 

Converse to your shopper in the course of the planning course of about retouching and what they like. What they like, don’t like, what’s on model, and what they need the ultimate photographs to appear to be.

Figuring out what your shopper expects can prevent time in the long term. You gained’t have to re-do any of the post-processing.

Ensure to present totally different examples of various retouching types. They’ll have a greater concept of what the ultimate photographs can appear to be.

9. Which Lens Is Greatest for Beauty Photographs

Your lens can imply the distinction between an okay photograph and a fantastic one.

For magnificence photographs, an extended lens is greatest. It compresses the background and brings out the face. 

A lens longer than 100mm is ideal.

A female model posing in a straw hat for a beauty photo shoot

Retaining your aperture small, f/eight or larger, will just remember to get all the particulars of the face in focus.

That is extremely essential particularly for those who’re photographing a selected product on the face. It additionally helps to have the small print of the pores and skin in focus for higher retouching in post-processing.

Protecting the angle of the lens slightly bit under degree may give the mannequin extra of a excessive trend really feel. However photographing them straight on can create a extra highly effective stare.

Capturing down at a mannequin makes them look demure. It might soften the pose and feeling of the photograph.

A beauty photography diptych of a female model posing playfully against different background

Attempt photographing the mannequin at totally different angles so that you’ve extra choices when selecting the best photograph for your portfolio or shopper.

If the mannequin is utilizing a curated wardrobe for the shoot, get some full-length pictures too. These may help inform the story or just add to the portfolios of everybody concerned.

10. What to Embrace in Your Contract/Mannequin Launch

Even in case you are doing a magnificence shoot solely for your personal portfolio, it is extremely necessary to have the fashions signal a mannequin launch or contract. These ought to define all the specifics of the photograph shoot.

Element what they’ll obtain. If they’re going to get pictures, embrace whether or not print or digital, retouched or not retouched, what number of, and the anticipated flip round time.

Brighta nd airy beauty shot of a female model posing on a beach

Not all magnificence photoshoots have to occur in a studio. Typically utilizing places can add to the story the shopper is making an attempt to inform.

Define your phrases and circumstances relating to copyright and permissions. This could prevent from future disputes. And nobody is left confused as to what they’re going to get out of the collaboration.

Give all events concerned a replica of the contract in order that they’ve entry to the phrases and circumstances of the photograph shoot.

Close up beauty portrait of a blonde model posing against a stone wall

This will prevent from a authorized lawsuit later within the occasion that one individual was not glad with the result. 

There are lots of contracts and mannequin launch codecs on the market on the web. The best choice is to work with a lawyer to create a authorized doc that fits your wants.


Beauty images can open many doorways for you within the editorial and business niches.

The subsequent time you have got a magnificence shoot, refer again to the following pointers to get the most effective photographs attainable.

A observe from Josh, ExpertPhotography’s Photographer-In-Chief:

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Jackie Lamas

Jackie Lamas is a vacation spot wedding ceremony and portrait photographer based mostly on the gorgeous seashores of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She earned her diploma in images from California State College, Fullerton. Jackie has over 10 years of expertise as knowledgeable photographer and instructor. When she’s not on the seashore, you’ll find her writing on her weblog and spending time together with her child and husband. See extra of her work on Instagram, at