If you’re heading back to school this fall, chances are you’ll have to make some timely decisions before you start. Some will be important, like what classes you’re going to take, whether you’ll join band again (all I have to say is BAND GEEKS 4 LIFE!) or whether you can finagle a ride home from a car-owning friend because you don’t have the wherewithal to brave the school bus. (The buses at my school were exactly like Thunderdome! Freshman year in high school, a mean girl almost poured a can of soda on my hair; thankfully, my friend stopped her.)
Other decisions, like figuring out what makeup to wear on picture day, seem like small potatoes by comparison, and yeah, in the grand scheme of your entire school experience, picking a lip color (bold or neutral?) seems pretty lame, but do you really want to look back at your picture in the yearbook and cringe? GIRL, I’ve done this, and trust me, it’ll be hilarious in about 20 years, but for the timebeing, it kind of sucks.
So! Here are some things to help you take your most brilliant pic on picture day. This step-by-step tutorial will walk you through a back-to-school picture day look that everyone, even makeup beginners, can handle. When you’re done, you’ll still look like yourself, just a little more polished, and the results should look great on camera.
And even if you aren’t heading back to school this month, you can still do this look. It’s a good one for all kinds of picture occasions, like I.D. pics, or perhaps if you’re doing a headshot, or if you’re going to an event and you want to look sharp but not completely over the top.
If you’re ready, let’s start!
1. Find a window
When you’re putting on makeup for pictures, it’s really, REALLY important to have good light, and natural light, like from a large window, is fantastic for this. It’s big, bright and diffused, so find a window, and set up shop next to it (but sit in the shade, not direct sunlight).
2. Apply primer
You’ll want your skin to look smooth and your foundation to appear even, so start by applying a primer all over your face and on your lids.
If you haven’t used makeup primer before, it works a little like paint primer by filling in the tiny gaps and lines on the surface of your skin so that products layered on top of it look smooth and even.
It also has the added bonus of helping your makeup last longer, and since you’ll probably also be doing a number of other things on picture day, like picking up your schedule or getting books, you’ll want your makeup to stick around.
Don’t worry if you usually skip primer in your regular makeup routine. If you don’t want to buy one just for picture day, head to a beauty store or counter, and ask for a sample.