10 Beauty Photography Tips You Need To Know For Social Media

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Written by Allison
Beauty photography is the key to a jazzy looking social profile, so we put together everything you’ll need to be ultra successful on camera.

Right now is the age of the selfie, and if you are a beauty buff, it is SO important to master your beauty photography skills. Have you noticed that photos of you get more likes than photos of literally anything else? People want to see your pretty face! So do you want to improve your selfie game? This is the post for you, cutie.

Natural Lighting

Natural light (the kind from the sun) is always best. When taking photos indoors, try to situate yourself close enough to a window to be well lit. You don’t want to be right next to the window unless it’s a cloudy day. If it’s a super bright day outside the lighting will be too harsh or can put random shadows on your face which you don’t want. If you are taking photos outside find yourself some shade! You won’t have to squint and you won’t get shadows if you’re in the shadow. Dimly lit photos look grainy or like you’re trying to hide something. Don’t do that.

READ MORE: 10 Secret Beauty Tips You’ll Love

Bounce Light

If you are taking photos by a window but the angle leaves half your face darker than the other, use a bounce light. Literally all you need is a white piece of paper or white poster board if you’re feeling fancy. Hold your phone/camera with the hand on the well lit side and the bounce light on the other. Hold up the bounce light and change the angle around until the other side of your face is just as well lit. Don’t you feel like a professional beauty photographer now?


Shot in natural lighting with a bounce light on the right side of the photo.

Headroom and Cropping

If you’re snapping really quickly and get a really good, clear photo but it ends up cutting off funny, it’s probably just better to retake it. A lot of space above the head is called headroom and you don’t really want it unless there is something cool going on up there. You can use literally any photo editing software to crop the photo to get rid of headroom. It’s one of those little things that makes a big difference in the quality of your photo.

Warm and cozy accessories for a blustery nyc day!

A post shared by Eva Chen (@evachen212) on


This could be a pet peeve more than anything else in the world of beauty photography, but you’re only going to look so cute in a car selfie. << Unless you are doing the quintessential Eva Chen in cab shoe pic. >> Try to find a wall to use as a background or take the picture wherever you can find that looks as good as you do! If you are going for one of those photos that specifically shows off your makeup artistry, a blank wall is best so all the attention is on you.

Beauty photography bad angle

Angles Matter

The rule of thumb is that upwards angles (like above) will make you look bigger and downwards angles will make you look smaller. But there are other things that come into play. Upwards angles can make things a little, ah, under-chin-y for your tastes. Downwards angles always tend to make things easier for showing off eyeshadow looks. Just keep in mind with either one to not go with too dramatic of an angle or it looks weird. Angles, like any celeb will tell you, are the cornerstone of the beauty photography game.

beauty photos eyeshadow wrong

beauty photos eyeshadow correct

Eyes Open for Best Shadow Pics

When taking photos of your awesome cut crease eyeshadow work, keep your eyes open. Not all the way, but just don’t close them all the way. Look at the top photo, eyes are closed all the way and even though I’m not trying to, there are weird lines on the eyes. Instead just look as downwards as you can without changing the angle of your head. This allows you to show off your whole eyeshadow look without eyelid wrinkles.

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Profile Pic

Super tired today but you’re hair is looking hot? Take a photo from profile (head turned to the side), looking down. You won’t see any eye baggage and you’ll show off your hair, outfit, and your perfect cheekbone highlight. Just don’t turn your head too far so that you end up facing away from the camera.


Eyeliner Wings Don’t Match?

Just don’t let them see the other one. A photo like this one still shows off your eyeshadow and liner handiwork but takes out any way from comparing it to the other eye. That way if one of your wings ends up way different than the other and you don’t have time to fix it, no one will know. You’ve got some tricks in your bag now, eh?

Get Close Up For Your Close Up

If you are showing off one particular part of your makeup or doing a grid photo that shows close up and full length, take the close up close. This is technically beauty photography 101 stuff, but since it’s not completely obvious, I’m reminding you. You could have the best phone camera on earth but comparing a photo of your face taken from arms length away with a super close up of your eye makeup cropped in from arms length away won’t be the best. Overcropped images like that turn out grainy or pixilated because the camera can’t pick up enough detail. Take your close up about a foot away from your face and then crop in for best results.

Kickstand + Timer

For your best phone pictures, get a kickstand and use your timer setting. A kickstand will let you prop up your phone in different places. Use your timer function so that you can take selfies without including half your arm! It might take you a minute longer but it’s worth it.

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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