Thursday, March 11, 2010

Style for the Camera: Achieving a ‘Picture Perfect’ Look

Today, it’s all about bridal fashion and style, as L.A.-photographer Damien Smith shares with me his tips for ensuring a photo-perfect wedding day look!

As a fair-skinned bride, I’m concerned about turning into a lobster on my big day. But I’ve also heard it’s important to watch how much sunscreen I use, since it might affect the amount of light reflecting off my skin in the photos. Is that true?

Yes, this is true, since sunscreen can make your skin very shiny. It’s best to use an oil-free product so there is no shine or reflection.

When shopping for a dress, what should a bride keep in mind about the types of details and silhouettes that usually photograph best?

Don't let your desire for a perfect silhouette picture influence the type of gown you buy. Get the dress you really want, because a professional photographer will definitely be able to capture a great shot no matter what. However, if a stellar silhouette photo is really important to you, try not to get a dress that's super puffy.

As for as the fine details of your dress, such as beading and shimmer, your professional photographer will capture all of it, usually before you put on your dress, and immediately after you put on the dress. Most wedding photographers do a one-on-one session to showcase the lovely bride and her dress.

When I was trying on gowns, some of the dresses looked completely different in the mirror than in the photos we snapped with my digital camera. For example, the intricate beading and embellishments on the gowns were not as visible in the pictures, and the shots looked dark. Will a professional photographer’s camera be sophisticated enough to truly capture these details?

Point-and-shoot cameras use an averaging system to determine the best exposure for a picture, and so do professional cameras when used on certain automatic settings. When you have a lot of white in the frame, the natural response is for the camera to darken the picture.

However, professional cameras can be adjusted manually by the photographer. As long as your professional photographer knows how to use his camera, there will be no problems. A good question to ask a photographer is, "Do you shoot with your camera using automatic settings, or do you shoot making manual adjustments?"

You want a photographer who makes manual adjustments, as this is the mark of a true professional and someone who knows which settings to use to get the best pictures. If the photographer doesn't understand F-Stop and shutter speed, run!

What should a bride keep in mind when it comes to her makeup for the photos? I’ve heard horror stories about brides who tried doing their own makeup and ended up looking way too washed out in the pictures. How important is it to hire a makeup artist skilled at doing applications for photo sessions?

Unless the bride-to-be is a professional makeup artist, she should not attempt to do it herself. Hire a professional, because there's a huge difference between doing your makeup to go hang out, and doing makeup for your wedding. Professional makeup artists understand that a bride’s makeup must be "camera-ready” to prevent that washed out look.

Why let thousands of dollars in photography, attire and so on go down the drain just to save the couple hundred dollars that a professional makeup artist costs? When choosing your makeup artist, always ask to see pictures of other brides he or she has done makeup for.

What are your plans for hair and makeup, and which photos of you in your gown are you most excited about?

(Photo Credit: Damien Smith Photography)


  1. I love Clinique Cityblock sunscreen for its non-greasy feel. I need to book a MUA and hairdresser ASAP - last big vendor for us. Great tips!!!

  2. I did not know that about the sunscreen, but now that I think about it, it makes sense! No oily face for me on the wedding day.

  3. I'm having the toughest time with a make up artist. A friend's roommate, who works for Clinique, offered to do it but hes hard to get ahold of and has yet to do a trial run with me. :(

  4. Hi Hannah, If he's hard to catch up with now, you may want to consider looking for someone else. Behavior today is an example of behavior tomorrow...

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