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Using Makeup in Black and White Photography

February 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 177

As a photographer, you probably already know that when taking black and white photographs it is important to adjust the lightning and employ different lighting techniques than when taking full color photos. What you might not have discovered yet, is that when taking photographs of people in black and white, the natural shadows created by the contours of the face also react differently to lighting. This is why it is important to apply the correct makeup techniques. Using makeup in any type of portrait photography is used to enhance the natural features of the face or create an artistic statement or dramatic element. When the portrait is done in black and white, those same makeup techniques usually don't translate as well and can make the portrait look muddy or harsh.

Many photographers prefer their models to wear little to no make up when doing black and white portraits, while others like to play with the contours a little. If you're wanting the subject of your photograph or portraits to look subtle, the key is in evening out the skin tone as much as possible. Any dark areas or recessions in the skin will automatically appear darker when photographed in black and white. For an even look, you or the makeup artist will need to add highlighter to areas that are in shadow when light hits the face, such as under cheekbones or around the nose and under the bottom lip. Don't be afraid to "overhighlight," what might look ridiculous in person, might translate beautifully in the photo.

While looking at your model, he or she may not appear to have dark circles or bags under their eyes but when all your lighting is set up and the shot is taken in black and white, this will more than likely change. Instead of editing the photo later, you can avoid the darkness under the eyes by adding a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than their normal skin tone. It might not look normal, but it will photograph normal and make the subject appear more youthful and thoughtful. Also, unless you're trying to make a dramatic effect on purpose, do not apply any eyeliner around the eyes as it will be extra dramatic and create an overall darkness to the subject.

It is also a good idea to avoid any makeup products that contain large amounts of glitter or are extra shiny. This includes lip products, which often produce a shiny or glossy look. Often times when a subject is wearing a lip gloss or shiny, metallic lipstick it ends up looking wet in the photo, which some might misconstrue as saliva. Not a good look. You will want to use a mild color for the lips, nude or very light pinks will cause the lips to almost disappear in black and white photographs. You can still use light colors but you will need to be sure to use a lip liner to ensure the lips still show up in the photo. Reds or any other darker shade might make the lips look black in the photo, so keep that in mind when choosing a shade.

Eye shadow application can be tricky because the eyelid produces a shadow of its own in the crease of the eyelid. Your best bet is to contour the color going from lighter colors to darker colors. It is also best to use matte eye shadows because any shimmer can cause unwanted highlighting or catch the light in the wrong way.

If you're taking portrait shots, it can also help to be sure you use a solid background that contrasts with your subject. For instance if your subject has a dark skin tone you'll want to use a white or light colored background and if they have a light skin tone you will want to use a black or very dark colored background to really make the portrait pop.

Learn more about hair and makeup for photography at these pages: makeup artist long island and newborn photography long island.

Source: EzineArticles
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