Dear Bobbi: What Are Your Makeup Tips for Looking Better in Photos?

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Introducing "Dear Bobbi," our monthly advice column, in which makeup mogul Bobbi Brown will be answering your beauty and wellness questions. Have something you want to ask Bobbi? Send it to

Dear Bobbi,

I have a million and one weddings coming up this summer—which means a million and one photos will be taken and posted all over Instagram. At every angle. At any time. While I’m mid-laugh, preferably, but more than likely, mid-bite. How can I at least make sure that my makeup looks good throughout the night? Because I’ve definitely been burned by portrait mode before.

Photo Burned


Dear Photo Burned,

In a time when visual platforms like Instagram are the way we catch up with most people (pictures are truly worth 1,000 words nowadays), there is an added pressure for us all to look good in photos. Some of us rely on filters and retouching before even considering posting a photo. (In my opinion, this makes many pictures look unreal and portray an unattainable standard of beauty.) Nevertheless, whether you decide to use a filter or not, here are some of my best tips to help you look your best in photos so you can always feel confident.

1. Use Natural Light: Natural light is best for photos. If possible, take pictures near a window or outside.

2. Prep Skin: Use a moisturizer before your makeup but avoid heavy sunblocks and sunscreens. They can reflect too much light under the flash, resulting in an overexposed shot.

3. Use a Powder: Set concealer and foundation with a sheer, loose powder. Powder applied with a puff assures longevity and reduces unwanted shine.

4. Bronze Your Neck and Chest: Warm up the neck and chest with a dusting of bronzing powder. It will ensure that your face and body are balanced in tone and give you a nice glow in photos.

5. Use Two Shades of Blush: For a pretty flush that lasts, use two shades of blush. Start with a neutral shade and apply it on the apples of the cheeks, blending up into the hairline and then back down to soften. Finish with a pop of brighter blush on just the apples of the cheeks.

6. Line Your Lips: To make lip color last longer, line and fill in lips with a pencil before applying lipstick. The liner will define your lips and make them look fuller in pictures.

7. Define Brows: Brows are the frame for your face. Use a soft, matte eye shadow that matches your brow color to fill in any sparse areas and help shape them.

8. Don’t Forget Mascara: Mascara opens up and emphasizes your eyes. A dark black mascara will make them really stand out in photos.

9. Match Your Foundation and Concealer: When applying your foundation, tinted moisturizer or concealer, make sure they are the exact color of your skin. There is nothing worse than seeing a picture of someone who has a different color neck and face—or a too light concealer under their eyes.

10. Use Jewelry as Makeup: A pretty piece of jewelry can be used as an accessory to accentuate your features in a picture.

Now some things to avoid...

1. Don’t use self-tanner right before a big event. You want to test the product before the date.

2. Don’t apply too much eye makeup. You want your eyes to stand out in the picture, not your eye makeup.

3. Don’t use concealer on your eyelids. It will cause your eye makeup to crease as it wears.

4. Don’t wear frosty or metallic makeup on the face. It will reflect in camera flashes. 

The most important tip I can give you for looking your best in photos? Find the things you like most about yourself and play them up. 


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