As part of my process with my media training clients, I always get into makeup and hair. I don't need to explain the importance of your neck-up look.
For those of you in big markets, you've got makeup artists, which as many of you know can be a mixed blessing. Others of you do your own makeup. I've sampled some advertising images that many of you women readers are seeing in current magazines, and I want to throw them up with comments to try to share my thinking about developing your on-camera look.
I should mention that aside from my TV news and production background, during which time I once had the interesting experience of having more than 25 news makeup artists reporting to me, I have done fashion photography professionally in Manhattan, and am an advanced Photoshop user and moderately skillful retoucher. The images you're going to see are scanned from a magazine, which because magazines are printed in tiny color droplets, requires a descreening process to even out the photos. I've made the images very close to the originals, but in some you'll see lines, or hints of the text on the reverse side of the page. So just ignore that, and let's concentrate on the makeup looks. I've rated the makeup jobs WOW, YUK, or WOW with reservations.
I'll have one or two hints along the way (yes, hints! and I'm not Bobbi Brown!) so let's go....
Let's start with a WOW:
This is a Mercedes ad. Now first of all, remember that all these photos have been retouched--all the zits have been removed, lines, every imperfection. But first of all look at the completely natural look of her face, which seems to be lit by the golden glow of the setting sun--see the shadow on her right arm? The sun is actually low, so the photographer waited for the "golden hour". Notice her eyebrows. Natural. Not plucked out of proportion to her face. The natural eyes with just the mascara for drama and to bring out her eye color. And the lip color is perfect for her. What a pretty girl. Think natural.
Here's a hint: The best makeup and the best makeup applicators and kits are made by Shu Uemura. Online, vist here to find Shu products. Definitely visit http://www.shu-uemura.com/, and have fun with the delightful Shockwave site. The fashion shoot makeup artists I worked with in New York begged me to get them Shu makeup for my shoots. In the major fashion magazines, they'll often use Shu makeup and then on the credits for a given photo, tell you the makeup is MAC this, or Stila that. It's all lies--they sell the credits. When you're in New York, hit the Shu shop in SoHo, in LA at the Shu shop in West Hollywood, or at Barney's New York stores, get a makeover, and stock up.
J! This is a Vuitton ad. I was working with an actress today and she commented, isn't she beautiful? Well, if you consider how much of her pelvis has been moved to her face, sure, I suppose so. This image is retouched beyond the beyond. But the face has a great tone, except what's with the eyes? Plus, she's all brown. The nude lips are nice, but the eyes look like Crayola. Her brow plucking is pathetic.
The above is from a Chanel ad, as you can tell from the suit jacket. I've cropped it so you can see the backdrop. This is an interesting makeup job, but look how her face clashes with the backdrop and doesn't work with the black and white suit jacket. What were they thinking? For black and white, she should have red lips, period.
Above is a closeup from a Prada ad, which if you've seen it, is horrific--the model is standing on a Manhattan streetcorner at night in the Prada men's look looking like a shlep with sanitation man gloves on, and the tonality of the whole image is cool gray. But the makeup is really well done, again natural, but completely the wrong coloring for the setting. But it's a nice job for you to see.
Now, above, from Armani, this is glamour! Magnificent application, understated, and you could wear this on the air today. I think her brows are just a tiny bit too thin, but we're getting close to really great here.
And for today's little demonstration, of course I've saved the best for last, and where else would it come from, but an ad from Dior, where John Galliano reigns, and every detail is perfection. As Galliano says in the current New Yorker (and will you please subscribe to it?), he wants men to look at women styled by Galliano and immediately want to fuck them. Look at this:
Kill me already. You should see the whole photograph. But look at her face. It looks like she's got no makeup on at all, except for those ultra-tempting lips. There's nothing to distract you from the blue eyes. The eyebrows are plucked perfectly. Her lips and nail color match, and they match the dress, but ladies, do not match your lip color to your top, please! This is a Dior fashion shot, not the news.
Was that fun? Do you disagree? Are you on a Maybelline budget? You can copy these sort of looks. The secret is sophistication, and to tone it down.
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