Makeup Tips for Black & White Photography
Apply makeup that's sure to look great in wedding photos
By Gwen Wark
Whether film or digital, black and white photography can add a classic and timeless touch to wedding photographs. Traditional light wedding gowns and dark tuxedos make for crisp photos full of contrast, but planning for black and white photographs requires a little more care than just the clothing. Certain rules should be observed when applying cosmetics to ensure that the skin tones of the subjects remain true when the photo is processed. Without care, the subject runs the risk of looking like a silent film actor. Follow a few simple steps applying wedding day makeup to make sure black and white photographs appear rich and varied in their tone.
The base of any wedding makeup is the foundation. Certain foundations are particularly bad for photographs. Formulas that contain reflective particles, such as mica, can lead to an extreme reflection of light from a flash, causing unflattering shine and contrast in the photos. Use a concealer to mask any obvious blemishes and then apply foundation sparingly. Mineral-based foundation powders should be avoided because they are highly reflective, and foundations with sunscreen can have a similar effect.
Deep, bright colors of eyeliner and eyeshadow may be heightened into a frightening "panda eyes" effect when converted to black and white. While these looks may be dramatic, they should be avoided. Neutral colors can add definition without being too deeply contrasting. Sticking to earth tones such as soft brown and gray create flattering looks and photograph well in black and white.
As with eyes, vibrant lip color will photograph overly dark when viewed in black and white. Hues such as deep reds and pinks will often appear nearly black in a finished image, which can be distracting and wash out the subject. Sticking to milder hues and more natural tones will photograph in a more subdued manner. As with foundation, reflective lip color that contains metallic particles, sunscreen or mica can be reflective in all of the wrong places. Viewing a finished makeup session through red sunglasses or a No. 25 red photographic filter will give a good idea of how the contrast will adjust when the subject is photographed in black and white.
Remember that shades of red, blue, and purple show up extremely dark -- or even black -- in black and white photos. Only use a dark red lipstick if you want a bold and dramatic look. Use makeup that is lighter than your skintone when trying to emphasize parts of your face. You can do this by blending powder, concealer, or foundation using your fingers or a sponge.
About the Author
Gwen Wark is a freelance writer and a contributor to DexKnows.
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