How To Take Great Photos Of Your Work For Social Media
Social media is not going anywhere and we all have to get on board if we want to stay in the game. Your social media is an extension of your portfolio, and now many of your potential clients will see your portfolio and go right to your social media to get a fuller picture of your abilities and who you are as an artist. If you have a phone that is more than 5 years old you’ve got to get rid of it and step your game up. You won’t be able to compete in this space without the ability to take really great photos of what you are doing. If you want to hold on to your flip phone, not a problem - start looking at small compact cameras you can use to capture your work. Think of a new phone or camera as an advertising expense for your business, or just an extension of the supplies you will be purchasing to be able to do your job. I currently use an iPhoneX, a huge expense but so worth it for the quality of camera (both front and back facing).You don’t need to become a full fledged photographer (yet), but you need to be able to take a decent picture of your work and have a basic understanding of photography.
Another disclaimer before we get into it. Always ask your talent/client’s permission to take their photo and let them know where you will be posting. Do not be offended if they are not comfortable with it, or can’t. They don’t owe you anything. You need to get your photo quickly and discreetly or you need to work faster so you have some time allotted to snap some photos. Do not spend all day trying to capture photos for social, you still have a job to do. Most importantly try not to ask anyone else who is working on set to take a photo of you doing your job (unless you know with 100% certainty they are ok with it). Be thoughtful always, other people have work to do as well. Lastly be sure about your boundaries with social media on set. Some photographers do not like having their setups posted all over social, models may not be allowed to appear in photos where beauty brands are tagged if they have a contract with another beauty brand etc. When I get to set I always ask what is ok to post, just so we are all on the same page.
Now here’s how to nail your photos:
Clean your phone off before taking a photo. You would be surprised how many people do not do this. I always have lens wipes in my kit and am sure to wipe my phone down as part of my setting up process to be sure it’s ready to go to quickly snap a photo.
Natural light is the best light. The more light the better - more light will allow your camera to perform to the best of its abilities. If you can get your client/talent to stand facing a window to be photographed, this is ideal. If you are using a lighting system, be sure to purchase one that is daylight balanced so the light looks crisp and clean and your images are clear and bright. Glamcor and TML are my lighting systems of choice.
Focus (literally). Trying to get a great photo can be a lot of pressure especially since you still actually have to work and stay on time. Once you ask for permission to take a photo, be sure that the camera is focused on the subject before you start snapping away. I see a lot of photos on Instagram that are not in focus. Take some time to learn about the settings on your phone and how they affect the performance your phone’s camera. Doing this will also teach you a little bit about photography in general, which will be a huge help when you are on set doing your actual job. Try to take the photo closer to your talent/model instead of standing further back and cropping in when you post (but not too close to where their face is distorted). You want to show clear, focused, gorgeous photos of your work - when you zoom in and crop you loose quality and with phones these days there is really no excuse for a poor quality photo.
Don’t be afraid to ask your subject to move around while you take the photo. You can ask them to look down, up, tilt their head.. whatever you need to quickly get your shot. Play around with this when you have time to do it on set, or better yet during a creative photo shoot when you aren’t on the client’s dime. This is a much nicer experience for the person you are photographing. It beats saying nothing while swarming around their face like paparazzi.
Post quality over quantity. Only post your best work (this goes for your portfolio too). One or two photos that are in focus and show off the texture and finish of your makeup application are ideal. Five instagram posts showing the same look no matter how fab it is, is overkill. It will be more impactful if you continue to post only 1 or 2 great photos of your work. You want your social media to be full of a variety of beautiful images that are in focus.
Lose the filters. Have confidence in your work, and really show your followers and potential clients what you can do. As makeup artists we should all be committed to showing what makeup really looks like on skin in all its glory. Be proud to be an artist, be proud of your clients/models/talent and the work you do on them. Staying away from retouching and face tuning will also challenge you to get better at your craft instead of taking the easy way out.