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How to Apply Makeup for Photography: For Women With Medium Skin

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Read Time: 7 min

In this photography makeup tutorial, we're going to learn how to apply a natural makeup look for a woman with medium skin.

Our model today has a skin type that's a bit on the drier side, so we are going to prep and prime her skin with the three steps of an exfoliator, a moisturizer, and a primer.

1. Exfoliate

There are different types of exfoliators. If you were to use an exfoliator in a cleanser, you'd want to do that first and rinse it off with warm water. Using a soft pad is just the easiest and least irritating way to exfoliate the skin.

exfoliate the skin.exfoliate the skin.exfoliate the skin.

2. Moisturizer

I'm using a flat brush for the moisturizer as well as the primer, because we don't need to do a lot of buffing. With the first few preparation steps, you really want to apply the product so that it's being pressed into the skin, not so much buffed in or blended as a longer-haired brush would do.


3. Primer

Using the same brush, I'll finish the skin prep by applying our basic primer.

4. Foundation

For this look, I am going to use a blending brush. This one is actually an airbrush foundation brush because of the dome-shaped bristles, as well as the shorter length of the hairs. This is going to buff the product really nicely into our model's skin. 

blending brushblending brushblending brush

I'll make sure to blend the foundation just underneath the chin and into the neck. That way, it doesn't look like a mask that you're wearing—it looks like your natural skin.

For any areas that need a bit of additional coverage, you have a couple of options. You could take your brush and stipple, or kind of lightly pat the product in. This will naturally build the coverage in any little problem areas that might be a bit redder or might have any blemishes.

If that's not giving you enough coverage, you could go through with a skin-tone concealer and build up that coverage even more.

5. Concealer & Colour Corrector

As I let the foundation set into the skin, I am going to apply our concealer and corrector. Our model has a very soft blue/purple underneath the eye—nothing dramatic, so we don't have to apply too much of a colour corrector.

I'm lightly blending down into the cheek and around the cheekbone. Because our model's skin doesn't need too much correcting, you can really blend this out. For the times that you're using a heavier colour corrector, you'll really want to keep that specifically in the areas that you want to colour correct, doing less blending out.

Concealer & Colour CorrectorConcealer & Colour CorrectorConcealer & Colour Corrector

Now I'm taking just a little bit of the skin-tone colour foundation that we used, and very lightly bringing it up onto the undereye concealer. This way, the colour blends nicely. Again, just work in thin layers.

bringing foundation up onto the undereye concealerbringing foundation up onto the undereye concealerbringing foundation up onto the undereye concealer

Next, we'll want to set the undereye area so that we don't get any creasing or fallout product from any eyeshadow that might turn the undereye area muddy.

Just lightly pat the undereye with your ring finger. Use your ring finger because that applies the least amount of pressure and smooths out any texture that could have been caused by the undereye concealer. 

6. Eye Primer

Before we continue with the complexion, I am going to prime the eyes. I'm going to apply a translucent eye primer with my finger, and just very lightly blend it out.

 apply a translucent eye primer  apply a translucent eye primer  apply a translucent eye primer

7. Complexion

For a natural look, we want to chisel out the model's features and apply our product a little bit heavier than we would for our everyday makeup.

Starting right by the middle of the ear, blend the product down just about parallel to the nose. That's going to help shape the face a bit more. I'm using a brush that has long bristles to help apply the product really softly.

Don't forget to apply down the neck a little bit, or at least underneath the jawline.

shape the faceshape the faceshape the face

Throughout this makeup look, I will most likely be going back through with the excess product on my foundation brush just to smoothen and soften all of the colours that I'm layering.

So now to add a little bit of highlight to the complexion, I'm using a matte highlighter that has no sheen to it. It's just a slightly softer or lighter colour than her complexion.

using a matte highlighterusing a matte highlighterusing a matte highlighter

To add a bit more dimension to the complexion, I'll apply some of the highlighter in the centre of the face, right down the T-zone area.

8. Blush

For a natural look, it's best to keep your blush colour to where you'd naturally get flushed, keeping it on the apple of the cheek and blending it up the cheekbone.

applying blushapplying blushapplying blush

9. Brows

I typically suggest doing the brows first, mainly because it will give you a nice guide for shaping the eyeshadows, but you can interchange them. Our model has a really nice shape to the brows already, so I'm just going to use a powder to very lightly fill them in. 

When I start using a powder, I like to begin by placing the product in the centre of the brow. This is because if you pick up a lot of product and you deposit it in the centre first, the product is going to deposit the most amount of product.

applying powder to the browapplying powder to the browapplying powder to the brow

We don't want to end up with a really big chunk of product in the inner area of the brow, so I start in the middle and then work my way in and out. This is going to allow for a more natural brow look.

If you know that you're going to be having a really long day and you need to extend the wear of your brows, you have the option of using a clear brow wax first to apply right over the brows. This gives the powder something to adhere to and stick to for longer throughout the day.

10. Contouring

Now we're going to contour the eyes. Our model has a really great lid space and a natural contour, so we're going to enhance that.

I'm going to start off with a neutral shade all over the lid, and then I'm going to blend a deeper colour to give a more recessed look to the crease.

contour the eyescontour the eyescontour the eyes

When doing natural eye makeup, it's very important to blend. Using those natural-haired, fluffier, longer-haired bristles is very important, and be sure to really have the patience to blend back and forth.

Now, when you blend, you also want to blend with a purpose. You don't want to just blend everything together, otherwise you'll have a muddy look to your shadow. You really want to keep colours specific to where you want to place them, and then only blend the harder edges.

We aren't going to touch underneath her eye much because she has a really beautiful shape, and I'd like to give her a slightly heavier lid.

11. Eyeliner

For this look with eyeliner, we are not going to use a pencil—instead, we are going to use a liquid. I've made this decision because a liquid is going to allow for a cleaner, smoother line.  

applying eyelinerapplying eyelinerapplying eyeliner

When you're working with a liquid, short little strokes are going to give you the cleanest line.

12. Mascara

Finishing off this natural eye look with black mascara is going to enhance her eye shape. For the easiest application, get your model to tilt their head back and then look down towards the floor.

applying mascaraapplying mascaraapplying mascara

13. Lips

To finish off this natural look, we're going to apply a natural-coloured lipstick. I am first going to start off with a neutral lip liner, just lightly filling in the lip.

Next, I'll apply a semi-matte chapstick to hydrate the lips and ensure the lips look nice and smooth throughout the shoot.

apply a natural-coloured lipstickapply a natural-coloured lipstickapply a natural-coloured lipstick

14. Mattifying Powder

Last but not least, I'll make sure to use a mattifying translucent powder to take away any shine. I'm using the 'super matte loose powder' from the line Make Up For Ever.

use a mattifying translucent powderuse a mattifying translucent powderuse a mattifying translucent powder

And here is the before & after of a natural beauty look on a model with medium skin!

before & after shotbefore & after shotbefore & after shot

In the next tutorial in this series, you're going learn about the benefits of using a makeup artist for your shoots, and what to look for in a makeup artist.

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