Sponsored by Nakturnal. All opinions are my own.
As a beauty influencer, taking photos is a huge part of my day-to-day job duties. Over the years of my blogging hobby-turned-carreer, I have accumulated my go-to equipment to help me get the best pictures of both makeup products and my makeup looks. But to be honest, sometimes my favorite thing to do is take quick shots just using my phone.
I often tell beginners who want to get into beauty blogging that you can honestly start capturing content with just your phone and a few insider tricks. I’ve talked about how I personally feel the iPhone X is the best model for influencers (as far as iPhones go) due to the camera quality and portrait mode features, but these tips can be used no matter what phone or model you currently have!
Keep reading to discover my best tips for taking better makeup photos for Instagram with your phone.
1. Lighting is Key
The biggest thing you’ll need to get right in terms of taking great makeup photos— or great photos in general— is lighting. Lighting is going to make a huge difference in catching color and details that will make your picture pop when scrolling through the feed. I always suggest using indirect natural lighting first, facing a window. This will give your photo the most realistic looking colors, which is super important for makeup looks.
But of course, sometimes natural lighting isn’t readily available, whether it’s a gloomy day, or you want to capture your night-out look. I’ve tried the clip-on camera lights which are fine, but I often forget to think about packing them. Using a lighted phone case ensures you always have great lighting in your back pocket! I have the Lumee Duo light up selfie case on my iPhone X, which supplies me with extra light on both my front-facing and back-facing cameras. It’s great for not only selfies, but flat lays, photos of your food, or group shots! I prefer this to clip-on lights because it’s not bulky, it’s easy to slip in and out of my purse or pocket and I don’t have to fumble with attachments. Check out some example shots below:
2. Keep it Stable
The crispness of your phone photos is what can make them look comparable to— if not indistinguishable from— photos taken on a DSLR. Yep, that means using a selfie stick or tripod to help keep the camera stable. My favorite is this selfie stick that also doubles as a table-top tripod. It also comes with a bluetooth remote so you can take hands-free photos. This is perfect for taking full-face shots, or even doing Get Ready With Me videos on Instagram live.
3. Back Camera is Better
No matter what model iPhone you have, the back camera (on the opposite side of your screen) is better quality than the selfie camera. I would suggest taking your makeup selfies using the back camera for the best results— but how do you make sure you’re still in frame? Set up in front of a mirror so you can see where the camera is pointing.
4. Balance Product Shots
Sometimes you want to capture your makeup of the day in a different way, like a flat lay! (Wow, that was a lot of rhyming!) The key to a great product shot is balance. If you plan on posting the photo as a square, take the photo in square mode to see the composition of the shot more clearly. Adding props like faux flowers, makeup brushes or accessory dishes can help bring balance to all areas of the shot. You don’t want it to be too busy, but a few props can help add color and symmetry.
In the above photos, the left photo is more balanced where as the right photo is busier on the bottom than the top.
Also, a literal take on balance: if you have tubes that keep rolling away while you try to take your photo, tape them down with double-sided tape!
5. Editing isn’t Taboo
Finally, let’s break this misconception: editing your makeup photos isn’t taboo. As long as you’re not drastically changing the actual makeup on your face, I don’t see anything wrong with enhancing colors or getting rid of the occasional blemish. I don’t do dramatic editing like smoothing or intensifying very often, but here’s an example above. If you want to edit your makeup selfies, here are the best apps to edit with:
Photoshop Fix: As someone who uses photoshop for my blog, Photoshop fix is like having a lite version for your phone. It has a lot of the same features that give you a lot of control over colors, details, brightness and more.
Facetune: For those of you who aren’t familiar with photoshop, Facetune might be a more straightforward way to edit your makeup selfies. Get rid of blemishes, touch up your makeup and smooth your skin.
VSCO: I like the VSCO filters way better than the built-in Instagram looks, because there is more variety and they seem to maintain the details of the photo better.