When I started photographing women entrepreneurs, three years ago, one of the main questions I’d get asked over and over again was whether my clients needed to wear makeup for their photoshoot, and if the answer was yes, how much should they wear.
Up until that time, I hadn’t realized how much the pervading imagery around what a “professional looking woman” was supposed to look like involved a whole lot of makeup. Most Pinterest images involved elaborate before and after shots where a woman would be transformed from the average mum we meet during school meetings into a diva worthy of a Vogue cover shot. The Makeup Guides I could find showed how different styles looked in 20 year old girls with a beauty worthy of a runway- even without makeup.
Needless to say, most of my clients had trouble believing me when I told them that no, they didn’t need to wear makeup for their branding photoshoot. That a branding photoshoot is more about authenticity than glamour (unless glamour is what your brand stands for, or your archetype favors elaborate looks, such as the Ruler of the Lover). That what makes you shine in images is a light, a passion, an energy that comes from within and connects to your ideal clients.
And, for those who wanted to wear makeup, they had a terribly difficult time seeing themselves in examples of perfect-looking 20 years old. So I decided to take matters into my hands, and create the resource I had fruitlessly been looking for elsewhere.
In the name of science, I used myself as lab rat and hired my favorite Cyprus makeup artist, Maria Kalogirou, to create 5 progressive looks that could help my clients, and you dear reader, decide whether you want to wear makeup for your next photoshoot, and if so, exactly how much.
The beauty of the system is that, being progressive, you don’t need make a final decision from the beginning. You just need to start, and then see how comfortable you feel as it progresses. You can stop after each step, take a mirror and say ” I’d like to move to the next one”, or “This is it, this is the perfect look for me, I don’t want anymore than this”.
I set the camera in Maria’s salon, and left it on a tripod while she worked. Whenever she would finish each step, I’d stand up and shot an image or two, then go back to the seat for her to continue. I also took photos with my cellphone in between, which you’ll see in this post too.
The images have not been digitally retouched: You can see my face exactly as it looked without makeup, and with it in its different stages. This is important because I want you to notice the difference each product added makes. Only then can you make a decision with any degree of certainty.
The triad below shows :
- My face without any makeup at all
- My face with a minimal look (bare minimum makeup)
- My face with a soft, yet a tad more sophisticated look.
These two first looks are the ones most of my clients choose for themselves, so I wanted to show you what they involve in detail. As you can see there’s quite a difference between the photo of my bare face and the first look. The skin tone is even, there’s no redness, my eyebrows look bigger and my eyes pop.
- The Minimal Look
The total time it took to accomplish the first look was 20 minutes, and this is what it involved:
Maria begun by cleaning my skin and applying moisturizer. She then added liquid foundation in my skin tone, used two colors of powder for contouring (adding shadows and light to different areas of my face), and concealer to hide imperfections and the dark circles under my eyes.
The next step was adding eye primer (the eye shadow lasted perfectly 12 hours thanks to it), and then adding definition to my eyebrows.
Finally, she added a light mauve eye shadow (the one shown in the photo below, on the right), a very thin line of liquid eye liner, and one coat of black mascara. She finished it off with pink blush in my cheeks.
Here’s a close up of the first look and what it involved:
If you are not comfortable wearing too much makeup, yet want something light that can still highlight your best features, this may be the style for you. This is also a great style for those whose branding archetype tend to have more natural looks, such as Explorers, Girls next door, Caregivers, and even some Innocents and Heroines.
2. The Soft Look
After we shot the first look, Maria continued building on the look above by adding grey eye shadow to the outer corner of my eye lid and under my eye. She added very, very little, so much so that it took only 3 minutes to go from one look to the other, yet you can see (if you can get past my silly camera-triggered- with- remote- control face 😉 how they look quite different.
I believe this is still a day look, that can be worn comfortably with everyday clothes, and which can easily suit archetypes such as The Sage, The Ruler , The Magician, The Lover or The Creator.
Now we move to the three more dramatic looks:
3. The Day to Night Look
4. The Grey Smokey Eye look
5. The Black Smokey Eye look
In all three looks, the only thing that changed was the level and color of eye shadow used. Nothing else was touched on my face. On the final look, we could have used fake eyelashes, but I can’t stand them (they make me cry), so we didn’t. We could also have added a bit of nude lip gloss, but opted not to so as not to distract the focus from where we wanted it to be: the eyes.
3. The Day to Night Look
For this look, Maria added a bit more grey eye shadow in the same area as in the look before, basically deepening it. The transition took, once again, no longer than 5 minutes.
This look works very well both during the day and at night. It clearly defines the eyes, yet is not so strong that cannot be worn with lipstick. This is the style I personally use when going for a party, and I complement it sometimes with my favorite red lipstick, YSL Rouge Volupté Shine number 4. This look can be worn easily by the same archetypes as the look before.
Here’s a closeup of the 3rd look, with what it involved:
4. The Grey Smokey Eye Look
With the 4th and 5th look, we enter into more dramatic territory.
I must confess this was the first time I tried the smokey eye look. I guess we can say I’m a bit late to the party, but I had this unfounded idea that I wouldn’t look good with them. I believed, like most of my clients, that they were “too much”, “not for me”, “too dark”, “too much like someone had punched me in the face”.
Well, I was wrong. I wouldn’t wear them everyday, nor probably for a branding photoshoot (I think looks 1 to 3 would be more brand-aligned for me personally) but for a special occasion, or a fantasy photoshoot? Yes, totally, count me in.
Soooo…Grey Smokey Eye came first, and it was a more natural transition from the look before.
In order to create it, Maria filled my upper eye lid with Dark Grey eye-shadow, blending it with a bit of black eye-shadow. She also deepened and strengthened the line under my eye and added a deeper line of eye liner on my upper lid too.
Here’s a close-up of this look:
And here’s a close-lid view of looks 3 and 4, so you can see the difference more clearly:
This look would look beautiful in fantasy shoots (think fairy tale style, like Mayi Carles’ The End of Boring) and also for those of you with branding archetypes of Creators, Magicians, Lovers, some Rulers, some Outlaws (it can scream “Rebel”with the right clothes), and some Jesters.
Getting from look 3 to 4 took 10 minutes.
And finally…drum roll please:
5. The Black Smokey Eye
This look is as dramatic as they get. And, confession time, it was kind of scary for me, who only wear one thick line of eye-liner on my upper lid and mascara, to go. It was also the longest it took: 20 minutes to move from look 4 to 5- and a whole lot of black eye-shadow!
Here you can see the transition (I asked Maria to work on one eye at a time so I could show you the difference between both smokey eyes):
To move from grey smokey eye to black smokey eye, Maria blended a ton of black and dark grey eye shadow, making sure to add only grey in the area where the eyes meet the nose, to avoid the “someone punched me in the face” look, which no one wants, amiright? She also added two more coats of mascara and an additional coat of black eye liner.
As you can see from the photos, This look completely covers the upper lid and creates a thick line around the lower part of the eye too, completely encircling it.
This look works amazingly for fantasy shots, such as the witchy self-portraits I did for The End of Boring below. It would also work beautifully for Outlaws…imagine these eyes, ripped jeans and a black leather jacket? Lovers could also pull it off in sensual shots (with a long, black or deep red satin dress, for example). It could even work for innocents, for as long as they were focusing on the fairy tale aspect of the brand (it wouldn’t work with every day clothes for them).
You can see a close up of this look here, with a detail of what it included:
Finally, here are all 5 looks side by side:
Which one would you choose for yourself? Which one feels more like you?
Have you ever tried Smokey Eye? Would you try it, if you haven’t yet?
Let me know in the comments below! And if you want to share and pin all 5 looks, here’s an image to help you do so:
Do you have dark skin with warm undertones? We have a makeup guide for you too, created by makeup artist Izmir Henry!
Check it out here:
PS: I’m now booking photoshoots in Europe and the Middle East for 2019 I. Check my packages here: https://marcelamacias.com/shine
You want to have a consistent brand so you can be recognized the minute your photos pop in someone’s news feed.
But you just can’t decide what style is right for your brand.
How do you choose when there are so many possibilities?
In today’s video I’ll show you 4 ways you can use to choose TODAY the right style for your brand- and make your brand instantly recognizable, without the headache.
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript
You’re here because you’re one smart business lady, and smart business ladies make conscious decisions about every aspect of their business. Especially so when it comes to your branding- and your images are part of your branding.
So how do you choose a style that works well for you? A style that’s easy to differentiate and with which you’re sufficiently comfortable with to be able to keep using it for years to come?
Here are 4 simple ways you can do so:
The simplest way of all. Color is very memorable and produces instant reactions in our viewers. Colors increase brand recognition by 80%, which is why brands like Tiffanys have their own trademark pantone color.
Denise picked up Turquoise, her favorite color, and even though she re-branded and redesigned several times, she remained consistent in her colors. The tonality and shade of turquoise changed very subtly over the years, but the main color stayed. And, for those who know her, turquoise is DENISE.
Bushra chose by default her brand colors: they were the default colors of her wordpress theme, and orange is her favorite color. But she used them in everything: her website: the clothes she wore on her professional portraits, even decals she pasted on her wall to use as background for her videos. After a few months whenever people saw orange, they thought of Bushra. A fan even sent her a photo from Ikea, sitting on top of Bushra’s Orange circle rugs.
THAT is the power of color.
So how do you choose the right colors for you? You may begin by selected colors you love, but if you want the full science behind colors in branding, I recommend Brand Color Breakthrough by Karolina Chic. Karolina is a color expert and in only two hours she can guide you to make the best decision.
I discovered this method when reading the books How to Style Your Brand and Brand Brilliance by Fionna Humberstone (both books I absolutely recommend).
This system takes the color system above to the next level. It is based on color psychology and uses the seasons in nature, and the emotions conveyed by them to create a cohesive look that transmits to your customers what you want to transmit.
The beauty of this system is that, with it, you won’t only know what colors to use, but also what type of photos are good for you, what fonts correlate great with your brand season, what graphics fit your brand style and what effect all that will have on your customers.
Fionna has three wonderful free resources in her blog to understand the seasons, including sample seasonal color palettes. You can check them out here:
She also has a course on Color Psychology for Creatives, if you want to dig deeper into this method:
Wait what?! Astrology?!
Yes, you heard correctly. This system is for the woos out there.
My client, Luisa Silva, from LuisaBazi.com uses Chinese Astrology, and the energetic patterns of your birth chart in order to see which colors, style and even content medium is better for you, which elements should be present in your photos and which ones shouldn’t, and the best dates to start projects, launch products and overall do anything that matters.
My system of choice and the principal one I use with my clients. Why? Because it involves two of my passions: psychology, mythology and the world of symbols, and it’s the system used by big brands like Coca Cola.
This system is based on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, who believed (as I do) that there exists a collective unconscious, a series of symbols and meaning shared by all of humanity, and that within this collective unconscious, existed archetypes, which were universal images and patterns that define how we see, feel and approach the world around us.
In the 1960s, Jung Archetypes were translated into branding, and the main 12 branding archetypes were born. These define, not just the colors we use, but more importantly, our mission, our strengths and weaknesses and all our communication.
They define the ESSENCE of your brand – and its soul.
They make it relatable and understandable, because they tap into things we have intuitively known all our lives. They give it meaning , and, because of it, they make it powerful.
And they do so because they relate to the fulfillment of 4 basic human desired and motivations:
Stability, Mastery, Independence and Belonging.
The 12 branding archetypes are:
The Innocent, The Explorer, The Sage yearn for – and promise- paradise and independence
The Magician, The Hero, The Outlaw, look to leave their mark in the world through self mastery
The Lover, the Regular Guy and the Jester look for and promise belonging.
The Caregiver, The Creator and the Ruler searched for and provide stability.
You have seen them at work in the powerful tales of our time.
The Hero lives in Luke Skywalker’s journey to free the galaxy from the Oppressive Empire and in Frodo’s quest to destroy the One Ring. It lives in Rey, whose innate command of The Force and her big heart and love for her friends, sets her on her own heroine journey.
The Magician lives in Yoda, and Merlin who guide Hero and Ruler to discover their power- starting from within.
The Ruler lives in King Arthur who unified the tribes and provided stability to the Kingdom. It lives
Now come closer, because I have a gift for you.
You can take it going to marcelamacias.com/quiz
When I found my archetypes (The Magician and The Innocent) it was like finding the key to my soul. Go take the quiz, and then come back and tell which are yours!
If you liked this video and want more like it, subscribe to my channel and share it with your friends. Remember to download the checklist of questions that comes with this post on the link below, so you can go through all this before your next photo shoot.
Have a lovely day and I’ll see you soon with more videos to help you grow your business beyond your wildest dreams