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***How to take better makeup pictures with your camera***

user79

New member
OK a lot of people have asked me in PM how I am able to take such clear pictures of my make-up. I thought I would compile a list of tips so that everyone can get great results.

1. Try to take your make-up pics in natural light conditions. Daylight is best to show off your make-up skills. I usually take my pictures indoors in the early afternoon when it is bright outside, but I avoid direct sunlight because this can wash out the colours and cast weird shadows. A brightly lit room will do fine.

Alternately, a halogen spotlight with a dark background can work well too, but it's a bit more difficult to set up. I'll show you what I mean.

Daylight without flash:


Nighttime with halogen spotlight, no flash:


2. Take your pictures against a calm background. Against a wall without any busy patterns or stuff in the back is best. A white wall works excellent for this. This puts the focus on YOU and doesn't distract the viewer's eye by checking out things behind you, like bathroom cabinets, etc.

Here's an example of a distracting background. Probably not the best example but you get what I mean.




OK let's move onto the camera settings! Most people probably have point&shoot digital cameras and I will try to post some general tips how to best maximize your camera's settings.

Tips when using flash.

- If you have some manual settings, change the camera's ISO level to as low as you can. An ISO of 100 or even a 50 if you have one is good. The higher the ISO setting, the more light your camera will "absorb" to the image. For example, if you are in a darker room and want to take a picture WITHOUT flash, you would set the ISO to 400 or 800 because the camera will take more light in. But when you are using flash, the flash provides a bright light to hit your subject, so a low ISO setting is adequate. You can usually change the ISO levels in the menu settings.

- If you have a FILL-IN FLASH option, use that. It will create a less bright flash than a normal flash, and it helps to "fill in" darker areas on the subject.

- If you have shutter priority setting, usually denoted by a "Tv" symbol on the settings dial, use it! (Sometimes also an "S" symbol.) It often looks like this on the settings dial.

This adjusts how fast or slow your pictures are exposed. So for example, a setting of 1/20 means the lens is open for a 20th of a second, 1/100 means 100th of a second, 1/200 means 200th of a second. When you're using flash, you want a SLOW shutter speed, something between the range of 1/15 to 1/45. Play around with the different shutter speed settings until you get a picture that you think accurately reflects the colours on yourself.

- Usually pictures that are "washed out" are the ones where the shutter speed is set too fast and the flash overexposes your skin tone and makeup. That, and the ISO setting is too high.

- Use a red-eye reduction function to prevent red eyes on pictures. This is usually a beam of light or a small flash before the main flash that will close your pupils.

Here's an example of a well-exposed picture using flash and adjusting the shutter priority settings. As you can see, it isn't obvious that I am using flash, it looks natural. This picture is taken indoors, in daylight.




TO SUM UP: When using flash, use a low ISO setting and a slow shutter speed.


So, if you don't use flash, make sure your face is getting hit by enough light (maybe stand next to a window) and use a faster shutter speed to avoid camera-shake. This is what makes pictures a bit blurry! Flash often prevents blurriness as long as you are holding the camera calmly.

Tips for using the macro setting on your camera for close-ups.

- This is what the macro setting usually looks like on your settings dial:


- Use this setting when you want to take a very up-close picture of your eyes or lips, for example. The macro setting is a way to tell your camera to adjust the focus to a very up close subject, and your camera's automatic focus should be able to get it right. To take a good macro pic, you usually need adequate light settings and it may be hard to get a good focus in dim light. So again, daylight is usually best, in a well-lit room.

Here's a picture where I used the macro setting to take a picture of my eye very close up.





Tips for White Balance.

This setting is usually found in the menu of your camera, it looks something like this:


This adjusts the colours on your picture and helps to prevent the yellow-ish tinge a lot of indoor pictures have. You can either select Automatic white balance which is usually the most practical, or you can select the different programs depending on the light condition, like Cloudy, Sunny, Tungsten, Halogen, etc. Play around and see what looks best and the most natural. You can also do Custom White Balance where you take a picture of something pure white in the propper light conditions and set that as your white balance, but I don't recommend this for most people as you have to set it for every shot you take and it can be hard to master.

Center-weighted evaluation

This option tells your camera to focus on subjects that are in the middle of the viewfinder, instead of random objects that the camera selects. The camera will automatically focus on things that are in the center. If you want to focus on something that is on the side of a frame, click the exposure button half-way to focus on the subject, and - continuing to hold the button - move the camera so the subject is where you want it to be, then press the exposure button the rest of the way. This means your subject is now on the side of the picture, but still in focus.

This is what the center-weighted icon looks like, you can usually change it on the menu screen.



Hopefully this has helped everybody a little bit to understand their cameras better and will give you the results you like. I always edit my pictures in Adobe Photoshop after, by adjusting Levels and sharpening a bit, but even if you don't do that, you should be able to get pretty good results once you master how to use your camera. It's not usually the camera's fault that the pictures don't turn out how you like, it's usually that people don't understand the settings and how to use them propperly.

Any more questions, just ask and I'll try to give you an answer.

Happy snapping!
 

**Juh_net**

New member
Wow I was always wondering how you guys take such great pictures and why when I take them I look like I have no make up on.... Thanks alot!
 

hundove

New member
Thanks so much, MissChievous!
I REALLY needed this tutorial as I'm having problems taking pics.
I have a question: how do you take your own pics, without anyone taking them for you?
If you use the self-timer, how do you make the foucs on you and not on the background? How do you make the ofcus on you AND the background?
THX!!
 

user79

New member
Quote:
Originally Posted by hundove
Thanks so much, MissChievous!
I REALLY needed this tutorial as I'm having problems taking pics.
I have a question: how do you take your own pics, without anyone taking them for you?
If you use the self-timer, how do you make the foucs on you and not on the background? How do you make the ofcus on you AND the background?
THX!!



- All my make-up pics I take the pictures myself by just stretching out my arm as far as I can and cropping the image in Photoshop later. It's just the easiest way for me to get pics.

- Self-timer on yourself is almost impossible unless you have a manual focus camera. There's just no way you can focus a point&shoot camera manually, unfortunately, which is what you need to do to get a good self-timer photo if there's no subject to measure first. What pro photographers do is set up a "dummy" at the place where they will be standing/sitting, then go behind the camera and focus on the dummy, then press the shutter. Then they run back around and go in the place of the dummy. That's pretty much the only foolproof way of focusing a camera correctly. You can do it by measuring the distance as well, but it's more arbitrary. But again, these options are not really available on a p&s anyway. If you want to invest, you can also buy a tripod and a cable release, which is a cord that connects to your camera so you can sit on a chair, set up the camera, and use the cable from where you're sitting to release the shutter. However, this type of gear is expensive and not really necessary for the amateur.

The only way you could do it is with a dummy method. Or get someone to sit in the chair where you will be sitting, press the shutter, and then exchange places. The major issue is that the p&s camera needs to have a subject to focus on, and if there is no subject in place when you are behind the camera on the self-timer, the camera will lock in on the background, not you. That's why pictures like that are sometimes blurry. Self-timer mode is better when you're taking a group photo and everyone wants to be on the picture, that way 1 person can adjust the camera to focus on the people, then join the others on the pic.

If you want the focus to be on you AND the background, you need to adjust the aperture, which takes into consideration the depth of field. A higher aperture number will increase the depth of field, making the focus point wider. You can do this by using the Aperture priority mode and setting that on maximum (ie a high number). The smaller the number, the narrower the point of focus and smaller depth of field.

However, p&s cameras are all limited with the usefulness of these functions, but you can try your luck.
 

lara

New member
Excellent! I just bought a Canon A620, which is leagues ahead of my old dinosaur A20 (!), so I'm learning how to use a camera all over again - this is going to be very helpful.

Thanks doll!
 

lovelyrose

New member
Thanks for the great tips.

You had mentioned you have a Canon powershot...i have the same one too...SD450...I was wondering if this one has a "Tv" function like u had mentioned in your tips....I don't see this button anywhere on my camera.
 

hundove

New member
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissChievous
- All my make-up pics I take the pictures myself by just stretching out my arm as far as I can and cropping the image in Photoshop later. It's just the easiest way for me to get pics.
..........
However, p&s cameras are all limited with the usefulness of these functions, but you can try your luck.


Thanks, Misschievous! you're awesome


Do you use the closeup mode to take your own pics since you'll be too close to the camera?

best wishes
 

mspixieears

New member
You are an absolute legend! My Canon digital camera is fairly old and comes from Japan so the manual is no help at all and you've basically just explained all I need to know (or found out through the taking of goddamn awful photos!). Thank you so much!
 
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