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Recommended Tips & Tricks from the Experts


By Jennifer KalmanHow is the lighting where you apply your makeup?  Are you trying to apply your makeup in a bathroom or bedroom with one bright light above your head?  Is that one overhead light casting some pretty bad shadows on your facial features, making it difficult for you to judge how much color to apply to your eyes, lips and cheeks? Understanding proper lighting and using that lighting while applying your makeup makes a big difference in how your makeup looks.  The better your face is lit, the more even your makeup application will be, helping you to achieve a pretty and natural finish.  Be aware that if you are applying your makeup in a dimly-lit room, it is easy to overdo your application. So if possible, always try to apply your makeup in a well-lit area.  Here are some ideas to help.  It is very helpful to be by a window for natural light.   Natural light is the very best for checking your makeup blending skills as well as checking the intensity of the colors you’ve applied.  In natural light, it is easy to see if you need to add color in some areas or tone down the amount of color in other areas.  You can check your makeup application by looking in a mirror either next to a window or by going outside.  “I have had to prepare many poorly-lit areas for makeup application in my 18+ years as a makeup artist, even removing lamp shades to get better lighting on the face of my subject!  And no matter what the lighting was on-set, when possible I almost always took my subject outside to check his or his makeup in natural daylight,” says Jennifer Kalman, Commercial Makeup Artist and Founder of QDazzleProm  If your makeup application looks great in natural daylight, it will look great in most other settings, even in fluorescent office lights or soft evening lights. Once you’ve settled yourself near a good light for applying your makeup, here’s another helpful tip.  For best results during your makeup application, while holding your mirror to apply your makeup be sure to turn your face (and mirror) up toward the light source, whether your light source is a lightbulb or the the natural daylight outside a window.  By doing this, you can achieve an even coverage of light on your face while you apply your makeup so that no shadows will distort the amount of color you apply.  As an example with blush, if one side of your face is in a shadow and one side of your face is in the light, you might be tempted to apply more blush on the side in the shadow because there is little light on that side of your face and you’re unable to clearly see the amount of color you have already applied. Of course, sometimes it is not possible to apply or at least check your makeup with natural light.  In these cases, try to find the brightest indoor lighting possible.  Then use the above tip of turning your face and mirror toward the light source so that there are no shadows on your face while you apply your makeup. In conclusion, you will have the best results with your makeup application when you are aware of the lighting around you before applying your makeup. —– Jennifer Kalman is a Commercial Makeup Artist with over 18 years of on-set makeup experience and a long list of credentials.  She is also the founder of QDazzleProm , a makeup resource site, and her own high-pigment, camera-ready makeup color line.  Jennifer enjoys helping women improve their makeup skills through her online writings and teachings: ‘how-to’ makeup illustrations, tips, techniques and published articles.


By Jennifer Kalman (QDazzleProm. See below for more details.) Added January 19, 2009 QUESTION:  How do I select makeup colors that will look good for my photos and videos?  I want to look glamorous, but not overdone – do ‘photo-ready’ or ‘camera ready’ makeup colors look too heavy or fake? ANSWER:  Makeup colors that look best for photography and video are usually highly-pigmented, meaning they contain strong color pigments and are not sheer.  A highly-pigmented makeup color product will allow the user to apply a small amount to achieve a bit of color, or it can provide a darker, dramatic color when applied more heavily.  This allows a lot of flexibility for the user to achieve the look she wants.   Also, the strong color pigment in highly-pigmented makeup colors will hold up against the harsh lighting from cameras (no washed-out, ghostly makeup looks) and will show off the facial features beautifully.  Another benefit of highly-pigmented makeup colors is that they will last longer, through many hours on a photo set, stage or during personal appearances. ‘Photo-ready’ or ‘camera ready’ makeup does not have to look thick or false.  With highly-pigmented makeup colors, the user has control over how much color she applies, whether she prefers a soft, natural look or a glamorous, dramatic look.  The purpose of makeup is to enhance and show off your beauty, not cover it up! To provide a smooth canvas for your makeup colors, first carefully apply a foundation that matches your natural skintone and use an opaque concealer under the eyes to hide any discoloration or dark areas.  Your concealer shade should be the same as your foundation shade or 1/2-shade lighter than your foundation to brighten your eyes (avoid using white or extremely pale concealer shades – these are too harsh for camera).  Then finish those two steps with a translucent loose powder. Now you are ready to add your eye, lip and cheek colors.  Powder eye shadows and powder blushers are recommended for longer staying power.  For defining your lips, outline your lips with a lip pencil before applying gloss or lipstick.  As a helpful note, apply your eye makeup first, then do your lips.  Applying the cheek color last allows you to better judge how much color is required.  Do blend each product carefully, avoiding harsh lines, and check your work under a strong light or in daylight if possible.  If you’ve applied a bit too much color, use cotton swabs to blend out any harsh eye makeup lines or smooth away overly dark shading.  Avoid trying to correct mistakes with fingertips since the natural oils on the fingers can lead to messy, blotchy colors.  If your cheek color needs correcting, just use a bit of loose translucent powder over the blush to tone it down – and again, for best results, no hands on the face! It is recommended to do a ‘practice’ makeup session at home at least once before your photoshoot – practicing with your makeup can be like a ‘dress rehearsal’ of how you will look and will allow you to refine your application techniques.  If you choose to wear false eyelashes, definitely do a ‘try-on’ session at home prior to your photoshoot or personal appearance so you will feel comfortable applying them.  Eyelashes do feel different on the eyes and if you’ve never worn them, it make take a few minutes to get accustomed to them.  Plus, practicing your total makeup look will give you more confidence in your own makeup skills on the day of your photoshoot. Now you can showcase your beauty and let your confidence shine through for the camera! ———– Jennifer Kalman is a Commercial Makeup Artist with over 18 years of on-set makeup experience and a long list of credentials.  She is also the founder of QDazzleProm a makeup resource site, and her own high-pigment, camera-ready makeup color line.  Jennifer enjoys helping women improve their makeup skills through her online writings and teachings: ‘how-to’ makeup illustrations, tips, techniques and published articles.

Get a Pageant Perfect Headshot!

By Valerie Hays (Author of the Award-Winning Pageant Interview Pro e-zine. See below for more details.)   Every contestant dreams of having a fabulous headshot! Your contestant headshot is one of the first things the judges will see. A great headshot can give the impression that you’re a top contestant before they even see you. Here are some important tips to help you get a pageant perfect headshot. Wear clothes that flatter you. Your photo shoot wardrobe is the foundation of a great headshot. Generally speaking, most contestants look best in solid colors for their photo, with minimal jewelry. Make sure the style of your garment is not too busy or distracting; you want the focus to be on you, not what you’re wearing. Select colors that compliment your hair color and skin tone. If you’re not sure about which colors look best on you, try on some choices with a friend and get their feedback. When in doubt, take several choices with you to the photo session and the photographer, or their assistant, will be able to help you choose colors that will make you look your best. Taking time to plan your photo session wardrobe will build the necessary foundation for a fabulous headshot! Put your best face forward. Now that you’ve got your wardrobe selected, it’s time to make sure you have flawless hair and make-up for your shoot. When you book your photo shoot, ask if a hair and make-up artist is included in the sitting fee. If not, (it isn’t for most photographers) ask the photographer if they can recommend a hair and make-up artist for your photo shoot. If they don’t have someone that comes to the studio for the photo shoot, call your pageant director and ask if they can recommend anyone in your area. If a hair and make-up artist isn’t a real option for you, consider getting a make-up lesson prior to your photo shoot at the MAC counter of your local department store. (MAC make-up artists are often the best trained make-up artists at the department stores.) Then, get your hair done the morni ng of your photo shoot at your local salon. Let you hairstylist know that you’re having a photo shoot and that you need a special look. Take pictures from magazines so they know what you have in mind. Looking your best will make you feel confident and relaxed for your photo session!   Find your best angle. Often contestants mimic photos they’ve seen on the pageant website instead of making sure they’re finding their own best look. Getting the right angle when posing for the camera is critical for a winning headshot. To find the right angle for you, experiment with a digital camera at home so that you can quickly see which angles work and which ones don’t. If you see a photo you like, but it’s not quite “it”, take a few more shots based on that pose, adjusting your angles slightly until you get a photo that’s truly great. Knowing your best angles will make it easier to get the perfect headshot. (And don’t forget what you’ve learned about angles; use those same concepts when posing for snapshots at the pageant!)   Relax. Once you get to your photo shoot it’s time to relax and let them treat you like royalty. Hopefully you’ve selected a real professional who knows how to get the best pageant headshot. Take a deep breath, smile, and let your photo shoot support team do their stuff. They’re experts; let them take over and just revel in the moment. Make sure you have nothing else on your calendar (or have scheduled extra time for your shoot) so that you don’t feel rushed to get done. Listen to relaxing music on your iPod while you’re getting your hair and make-up done just like the top models. The more comfortable and relaxed you are for your photo shoot, the more your inner beauty will shine through!   Show emotion with your eyes. Nothing projects beauty and confidence like eyes that express your personality. Your eyes may be smiling, perhaps they’re sultry, or maybe they’re full of mischief. To get your eyes to express emotion, imagine you’re doing something that would result in the expression you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you’re smiling, think of doing something fun or something that makes your laugh. If you’re doing a sultry look, try to channel your inner “Angelina” and minimize your smile. For a playful, mischievous look, try to remember a moment when you were being a little bit of a devil. Remember, your pageant headshot will be the first visual image the judges have of you. Make sure you make the most of your pageant photo shoot! WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE? See the Articles/Tips page of Valerie’s website at Valerie Hayes, “The Pageant Interview Coach,” publishes the award-winning ‘Pageant Interview Pro!’ e-zine which is full of tips and techniques to get a top pageant score. If you’re ready to become a serious contestant and ace your pageant interview, get your FREE tips now at

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