Wedding Beauty: Makeup

Camera-Ready Makeup vs. Beauty Makeup vs. Transformative Makeup: What are they and where do you fall?

Photo by Serendipity Photography


Makeup is makeup is makeup, right?  Not anymore.  Gone are the days of experimenting with your mother’s mauve lipstick and relying on old department store freebies to get you through your regimen.  Here are the days of accessible personal media makeup artists, ready to be a resource and design your look for your special events, especially your wedding.  Or if your black-tie affair attire is collecting dust, you can simply get a point in the right direction for what you need (and more importantly, demystifying things so that you know what you don’t need) with a personal makeup lesson. The Twin Cities market for media artists is booming and there is a plethora of artists to choose from to take a new (and yes, we know, sometimes scary) journey into the world of makeup.  First things first:  you’re not alone.

For private clients (everyday folks that aren’t production or media clients), there are three categories of makeup that everyone falls into at one point or another—be it for a photoshoot, special event, or just learning about a fancier you for your day to day look—and those categories are camera-ready makeup, beauty makeup, and transformative makeup.

Camera-ready makeup is the most necessary, but often most underutilized, makeup application.  Camera-ready makeup and hair grooming is simply an application to put your best foot forward.  It’s makeup that doesn’t look like makeup (finally!).  Color theory is used to even out the shade (lightness or darkness) in the skin that can be uneven, as well as to balance out the color temperature of the skin (excessive redness, for example) so that you bring the face and neck back to a place of neutral.  Think skincare ad (and no, no one just wakes up looking that amazing).  Attention can be paid to bring a flush back into the cheek and add warmth all over so that it doesn’t just look like a pasty, mundane skin tone.  Imperfection is balanced and the face is then made to look flawless and fresh.

Photo by Serendipity Photography


Brows are groomed to take care of any rogue hairs and sparse areas may be filled in with color.  If the brows are thicker, then product is added to set them in place.  Depending on whether or not this application is due to be photographed, further structure can be given to the eyes and cheeks in neutrals in order to give definition.  Lips may simply have either chapstick or gloss applied so they don’t look dry.  Hair is treated with light styling and product to just give it a more finished off, yet still natural look.

This application is totally appropriate for both men and women.  It’s the application that makes you still feel like you look natural and like yourself…just the cleaned up version of yourself where the first thing you see is your eyes instead of any flaws in discoloration or structure.  You may see it offered as “Men’s Grooming” or “Camera-Ready Makeup.”

Beauty makeup is the most standard application most people think of when you say the word makeup.   Beauty makeup is your foundation, blush, bronzer, luminizer, eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, false lashes, lipstick…I digress.  Beauty makeup is the standard makeup for women wanting to go all-out glam for special events, photos, and a night on the town.  Beauty makeup often introduces more color in the eyes, cheeks, and lips as well as different finishes, like shimmer, frost, and glitter (in large or small doses based on personal preference).  Though camera-ready makeup can dip into using neutral colors, beauty makeup is really where you know there is makeup existing and you can see the color and product.

Photo by Brett Dorrian


Transformative makeup is transgendered beauty makeup.  The most common request is for a transformation from male to female either for a personal photoshoot (like a headshot, portrait, or boudoir shoot), for a look to attend or perform in an event, or simply for a personal makeup lesson to learn the artistry side of transformation makeup.

Transformative makeup is a lot like beauty makeup, but with more specialized prep and foundation techniques.  Most often, a silicone primer is used to further smooth the skin.  Brows can either be groomed or blocked out all together using wax (or in a pinch, you can use a glue stick.  Yes, that’s right—a glue stick.) and then drawn back on in a different shape with a pencil.  Further color neutralizing can be done to block out the beard.  Essentially, even if you shave, you may still be able to see dark hair under the skin.  Doing color correction on that area of the face can take care of that in a jiffy.  And if the makeup won’t stick to the razor burn spots after a fresh shave, simply apply a small amount of liquid bandaid first and you’re good to go.

After taking those prep and foundation adjustments into consideration, the rest of the eyes, lashes, cheeks, and lips shift back to being parallel with beauty makeup.  Focus is put simply on the design of things—like a smokey eye vs. a cat eye, nude lips or red lips, etc.  Gentle contouring can be done to round out features and pull focus to where you prefer it to be, but at the heart of it, it is about bringing color, texture, hair, and structure back to a place of neutral.  And then the sky is the limit.

Photo by Brett Dorrian

Makeup has an incredible way of transforming people in general.  And it’s not just about how your makeup photographs or what others see.  It’s about how you feel.  Makeup is empowering and gives people confidence—because you may see yourself in a way you haven’t before or perhaps haven’t in a long time.  And the focus is on the eyes and the person themselves—not the flaws.

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