5 Tips For Choosing Your Best Hair & Make-Up

HAIR + MAKE-UP; THE STRUGGLE IS REAL 

SO REAL in fact that this blog post took me 2 weeks to write!! 

Now, this may come to be a bit of a shock but- I don't have the 'beauty gene.' Meaning that I didn't get the genetic hard-wiring for natural abilities to create beautiful Victoria Secret hair or the patience to do a perfect cat-eye. Which you may now be quietly asking, does anyone? Well yeah! We all know someone who is naturally awesome at these type of things or they were trained by their older sister. Me? I have an older brother and I wasn't exactly holding my breath that he would teach me.

I was a major tomboy for the large sum of my childhood, the type of tomboy who wore baggy pants from the boys section at the department store, a rocker tee and a backwards cap on top of long unbrushed hair. I didn't start wearing makeup until I was around 14 (which was grade 9 since I was younger than everyone.) It wasn't until high-school that I started to really care about looking pretty mainly because I figured that boys weren't really in to my laid-back approach.

Once I managed to get my first boyfriend in grade 11, I really played in to my girlish ways that layed dormant for so long and started to really take to more feminine pieces in my wardrobe. I even managed to brush my long mane and try simple hair-do's like straightening my hair (my hair is naturally wavy) or throwing it up in a half-pony tail. That was a level-up in my mind. I envied the girls who could curl their hair and do other cool things; remember this was pre-pinterest days. Facebook was only available to those who were from an american college/univerity. I feel a little bit old saying that... 

Ever since the conception of Pinterest, those naturally talented ladies and gents who are incredibly awesome at hair and makeup are educating all of those who aren't beauty-inclined like myself. Thank goodness for tutorials! I'm hoping by the time I am 30 I can finially fish-tail a braid, that gives me 3 years- wish me luck. Anyway let's get to the nitty-gritty for all of you who struggle like me!
 


HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR HAIR + MAKE-UP 

First off you have some choices! Two actually: 

  1. You Can Hire A Professional
  2. Do-It-Yourself 

Now most people opt-out for number one because of monetary reasons, fair enough. It would however be the most hands-off and stress-free solution. So if every-time you think of doing your own hair and makeup and end up in cold sweats and nightmares, I think its time to let the professionals do their thing while you enjoy the fruits of their labour. I am all for 'quality over quantity.' Quantity being the hours of time learning and shopping for the supplies all while sipping your favourite starbucks beverage while someone elses arms get tired while styling your hair. Win? I totally think so. 
 
For this blog post though, we are assuming you are going the DIY route. So for those of you who are plunging in to the unknown of what to do for your photo-shoot when it comes to hair and makeup, this one is for you! Here are the top 5 things I did to really help me narrow down the best choices so I felt prepared and beautiful (feeling like a babe) to boost confidence and allow me to show up for my shoot like a boss lady.

 
1. ASK YOUR GURU 

Hair: First off, go to the person who knows your head well enough to tell you what's going to look the best. I asked my hair goddess Amanda (@amanda.elisabetta) from Vanity Vault to tell me what type of face-type I have. I was convinced I was oval but turns out I am a 'heart' shape if not a 'oblong.' Who knew! This helped me when it comes to makeup application (yay contouring) AND it helped me narrow down a hair-style that works best for my face (which you can google my friends!)  I have a whole board dedicated to easy tutorials to help me switch up my look. I even had my hair-stylist teach me tricks on how to curl my hair with a flat-iron. It took me almost 2 years to master it and some days I still can't figure out why one side of my head refuses to curl but hey, I managed to do it and my recent shoot my hair looks bomb. 

Makeup: Ask your go-to girlfriend who seems to know everything about makeup or go to one of those helpful ladies at your nearest mall (I like Sephora) to help you figure out the best colours for your skin-tone (blush) and eye colour (shadow), also they can help you compliment your outfit if you know what you are wearing in advance! 

2. FLASH BACK

Hair: Peruse through those photos of yourself and take notice of when you feel like you look the best. I quickly noticed that since my hair is so long, I hated how moppy my head looked with my hair straight. My hair is fine although I have a lot of hair so straightening my hair looks a little drab, a little too 70's. I noticed in photos that when my hair was curled it had more volume and made me feel like my large apple cheeks look a little less pronounced. Although I liked my hair half-up and I usually rock that type of style at weddings, I wanted to minimize my size profile.

Makeup: Grab a friend and photograph your different makeup looks and see which one you like the best. You will be shocked to see how different colours photograph. Do make sure you are in proper full natural light for this! *Try not to selfie because your photographer is unlikely to be doing the same angles as you or be that close to your face. 

3. CONTEXT IS KEY

Where is your shoot taking place? Are you inside or outside? Is there a theme? What are you wearing? Is this business or pleasure? What do you want the end result to look like? I feel like this is obvious but you want to make sure your hair and make-up stay within context of what you are wearing and what type of shoot you are taking part in.  If you are wearing lululemon pants and a sweater, I probably wouldn't go full out with a gorgeous up-do and a smokey-eye. If you are outside in the woods, going for a natural outdoorsy feel, I probably wouldn't go crazy with coloured makeup, I would keep it a little more au'natural. Keep it all in context in the over-all look you are looking for and think about the context of the shoot you are working within with all the pieces! 

4. TUTORIALS ARE YOUR BEST-FRIEND

This is my favourite part!! I love scowering through pinterest and youtube. 

Hair: Try out different hair-styles through out the weeks before your shoot. See which ones are easy to do, which ones feel impossible or feel like too much to bother with, and notice how you feel in each style and the reactions from those around you. People will take notice if you are doing something different than you have ever done. Keep note though of CONTEXT (number 3) and making sure you feel like yourself. 

Makeup: Just like hair, I would try out different looks. Make a board on Pinterest of looks you like for your shoot and then start trying out tutorials to re-create them. Make sure you get a photograph of each look (see number 2.) I truly live by Cher's (from the 90's movie Clueless) that photos are the best way to see how something looks. Notice if your eyes get swallowed up by the makeup, if the contouring looks too heavy, or if the lip-stain is too bold. 

*My go-to girl for tutorials >> Maskcara
*My personal "dolled up" pinterest board for inspiration

5. BE YOUR BEAUTIFUL SELF

Lastly be yourself and feel like yourself. Whether this photshoot is for you or for your personal business, you want to look like YOU. Don't go too over-board but have fun with it! In my shoot, I did my usual makeup routine except I wore eye-shadow and made sure to cover my dark under-eyes. I curled my hair because I always curl my hair and want people to know what I usually look like so if I go to a client meeting people will know who I am and how to find me in a public space. Nothing is worse than trying to find someone you never met before and they look nothing like their pictures on their website/instagram. 


QUICK  DO's   +   DON'Ts

My every-day look / photo by Landon Anholt

My every-day look / photo by Landon Anholt

My dolled-up look / photo by Natalie Westerbeek

My dolled-up look / photo by Natalie Westerbeek

DON'T

  • Go over-board. Heavy make-up is hard to fix in post (editing).
  • Try anything new the day of your shoot. Leave that HAC and cat-eye you have been wanting to learn for another day when you have mastered it. ( I tried to learn contouring the day of my shoot and that was super stressful, I had to start all over and leave it for another day/ another shoot.) 
  • Get a new hair-cut or style the day before your shoot just in case you aren't happy with the end product. You want to feel your absolute best for your session!
  • Try a new product on your skin without testing it. I have had clients use a new mascara and then the day of the shoot they end up in hives from an allergic reaction. Not fun!! 
  • Wear anything that could potentially stain your clothing or your significant other (if they are there). Lipstains are awesome but make sure you have a wicked sealer on it so if you do a clothing change it isn't all over your duds. 
  • Stress!! Have fun with this :) 

DO

  • Wear more eye-makeup than usual! We don't want your gorgeous eyes to get lost in the light so adding a bit of shadow will allow them to pop! 
  • Wear some colour on your lips and cheeks so you don't look washed out. 
  • Wear primer so your make-up lasts the entire shoot. (especially on those hot summer days)
  • Bring powder and anything you need for touch-ups. (ex: under eye-concealer) 
  • BE YOURSELF!! If you don't want to wear falsies (false eyelashes) then don't! If you want to keep the makeup fairly minimal then please do. 
  • Couples: use lip stain instead of lipstick so your main-squeeze doesn't end up sharing the lip colour! ;)
  • Play up your favourite features! I really like my eyes so I made sure to wear golden brown shadow to really make the blue pop! 
  • Stay away from trends! (example: vampire lips) You want your photos to be timeless so you get longevity out of them. 

CALL TO ACTION!

1. What do you think? Are these tips helpful? Are there any tips you would like to add?
2. Do you struggle with hair and makeup as much as I do? Who are your favourite people to turn to for tutorials? I would love to hear!
3. Please leave a comment and feel free to share with friends if you got anything from this blog post.

To you and your beautiful self,

 


Jamie Hyatt

Jamie Hyatt Photography, Calgary, Canada

Wedding & Interior Design Photographer in Calgary, Alberta.