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Fashion Forward - Wedding Day Makeup

Words by Jennifer Stein
Photos courtesy of Melissa Jill

It's one of the most important days of your life, and hiring a makeup artist who knows what she's doing will not only make you your most beautiful that day, but also in the photos you will treasure forever. In the wrong hands (and yes, those include your own hands), you could come across on film looking like the Corpse Bride, or something belonging in a circus.

Find a qualified makeup artist with experience in how makeup reads on film, advises Lori Pinsky, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist with 12 years of experience in print, film and television. "Most women think they know how to do their own makeup," she says. "They'll do it every day and they'll think it looks good. But what you see face-to-face and what the camera reads are two different things. Hiring someone with a professional makeup background who understands how makeup reads in a photograph is an advantage." 
                                                    
"Generally women use products that are not always "photo friendly" and do not read correctly in photographs," says Pinsky. In addition, the do-it-yourselfers are likely to misjudge the right amount of makeup they should wear on their wedding day.

It's a fine line, Pinsky says. "There are a lot of women who either wear too much makeup and think, "If I'm going to take pictures, I've really got to pack it on." Or they don't usually wear a lot of makeup, and wont wear enough on their wedding day. If they attempt to do it themselves, they may not put enough on and therefore will look washed-out."

You will have your wedding photos forever. While black-and-white film is more forgiving than color, light and dark makeup colors can appear washed out or much darker in photos. Digital film picks up more reds and blues; the time of day or evening of the ceremony and photos must be factored into makeup choices. A professional will know how to make you your most beautiful - both in person and on film.

Mama always told you - you better shop around. When interviewing makeup artists, look for experience. A professional will have a portfolio and credentials to back up their experience. A good portfolio will contain photos of real brides, a variety of ages, ethnicities and skin types photographed in different lighting conditions. Before-and-after photos showing the transformation from pretty woman to beautiful bride will give you an idea of what you can expect yourself. Skin should look flawless; makeup should not look extreme, dated or noticeable.

"Makeup should enhance - not to hide your features," says Pinsky. "I always tell my brides, when you look at yourself, you don't want to see the makeup. You want to see you."
                              

The name of the game is choosing the right colors and products that really bring out that person's beauty," says Pinsky. "A good makeup artist can really highlight someone's features and make them the best they can look."

Ideally, interview a number of different makeup artists. Ask questions: How long have they been doing this? What kinds of products do they use? Are they trained and experienced in photographic makeup? If yours is a destination wedding, does this person travel? 

Communication is crucial, says Pinsky. Find a makeup artist with a personality that meshes with yours, someone you with whom you feel comfortable communicating your wishes. "That's the No. 1 reason why people book anyone in the industry: they can communicate what they want, and that person can execute whatever is asked for."

When you've narrowed your search, schedule makeup previews. It's important for the bride to know what she is going to look like before the wedding day so that here are no surprises and equally important that the makeup artist has the chance to learn what the bride is after, and which products work with her skin. Bring photographs of your dress, bouquet and hairstyle, if possible. Photos from magazines of looks you like are also helpful.

"When I look at the pictures, what I see and what the bride sees are two different things," says Pinsky. "I ask, Do you like the liner inside the eye? Do you like the gloss?" I dissect it and get a real sense of what she likes and what she doesn't like. Then I adapt that look to her face and her features."

At the preview, Pinsky experiments with different colors and products, then takes a digital image for notations about how the desired look was achieved. Come wedding day, she has all the notes she needs.

"We always say makeup artists use tricks of the trade to enhance, highlight or camouflage features, and it's very true," says Pinsky. "I don't think the average woman understands how to really sculpt her face and bring out her best features. A qualified makeup artist knows how to make you look
like the best version of yourself."

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