5 Photo-Finish Eye Makeup Tips to Look Your Best on Camera

How to look your best on camera

A picture is worth 1,000 words, but with this easy tutorial about the best methods for applying makeup for photos, you’ll look like a million bucks. This guide by professional makeup artist Shannon Knox focuses on the eyes and brows to really define, highlight, and make them pop on camera. The final result is a natural and casual – but very pretty – look. It is versatile enough to be used for any camera-ready instance – from a professional headshot to your dating profile to your next Facebook profile picture!

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Start with a Fresh Face

To look your best on camera, make sure to apply primer and a natural foundation to your face. If you need tips on how to best use foundation, check out this video tutorial to help guide you. Once you have your face covered, you’ll want to add an eye primer to ensure the eyeshadow you apply has a clean surface to adhere to, resulting in brighter, cleaner colors. For a great eye primer, we recommend Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer or Lancome La Base Pro Oil Free Longwear Makeup Primer. If you don’t have primer, then a neutral, matte eyeshadow that matches your skin will do in a pinch.

Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer
Photo Finish Control Mattifying Primer, $39
La Base Pro Oil-Free Longwear Makeup Primer
La Base Pro Oil-Free Longwear Makeup Primer, $42

Define Your Eyes With Eyeliner

When applying makeup for photos, you’ll want to use eyeliner to define your eyes. However, make sure you aren’t too heavy-handed, or the final look will be much more dramatic than you would like. Apply dark eyeliner, like Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner or KVD’s Tattoo liner. To get the best results, Shannon recommends applying it just to the upper lashes to make them look fuller. And don’t worry about it being perfect because you will smudge it out. 

Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, $23
Tattoo Liner Vegan Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Tattoo Liner Vegan Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, $23

Add Just Two Colors for Eyes That Pop

Many people think shimmer is just for the younger generation, but they are wrong! When applied correctly, shimmer can really add depth to your eyes. However, when doing your makeup for photos, be aware that a bright flash might pick up shimmer, so use it sparingly, or you may risk flashbacks and other unflattering effects. For this tutorial, we used just a touch of shimmer in the middle of the lids.

The second color comes from the same palette as the shimmer; we like the Too Faced Palette or the Urban Decay Palette. For the second color, Shannon uses a deep plum that compliments the model’s skin tone, and she then blends the two colors using a windshield wiper motion. There really is no such thing as too much blending when it comes to makeup!

Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eyeshadow Palette
Born This Way The Natural Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, $49
Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette
Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette, $54

Get A Little Bit of Drama With Mascara

One of the key components to making your eyes pop on camera is giving a little love to your lashes. Start by curling your eyelashes to give them a little lift. Boosting them with a curler can also allow you to use less mascara. Before you actually apply any mascara, though, you’ll want to add a little bit of eyeliner right at the lower lash line for more definition.

If you find that you’ve gone outside the lines with your liner, don’t worry about it – a q-tip will clean it right up. Remember that, as with most things, it’s better to start slow because it’s always easier to add more than take away later. After applying your liner, you can add your mascara to your upper and lower lashes. If you prefer, you can skip to your brows and do your mascara as the final step.

LashFood Ultra Rich Volumizing Mascara
LashFood Ultra Rich Volumizing Mascara, $20
Climax Extreme Mascara
Climax Extreme Mascara, $24

Shape Your Face by Shaping Your Brows

As we age, we may begin to lose color in our brows, so giving them a little attention is key! Start by using a brow pencil to add a bit of color. Shannon recommends the Nars Brow Perfector or the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pencil. It comes in several colors, so you can choose the one that best compliments you. You’ll then want to use a spoolie to comb your brows and blend the color you just added. Both of our featured brow pencils have a built-in spoolie to make application a breeze. 

Brow Perfector
Brow Perfector, $17.99
Brow Wiz Ultra-Slim Retractable Detail Pencil With Spoolie
Brow Wiz Ultra-Slim Retractable Pencil, $23


Add a little lip color if you want, and your look is complete! Your eyes will pop, and you are guaranteed to look stunning in all of your photos!

Want to see how the model looks on camera? Watch our Best Jeans for Women Video

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