With all the things that happened in 2020, one good thing that came out of it for me was my choice to focus my photography. Before Covid-19, I was taking jobs that I wasn’t 100% interested in and it was showing in my work. So I decided to zone in on things that I love, macro beauty shots being one of them.
What is macro beauty photography you ask? To me, it is a type of photography that allows me to get extremely close-up to my subject’s faces. This makes the size of my subject in the photograph seem larger than life, while still allowing me to be creative in my perspective.
Here are a few tips that I think are essential to helping you get the perfect macro beauty shot.
The main focus of macro photography is the details of your model’s face, skin, eyes, hair, lips, etc. Typically you want to fill the frame with those facial features. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to use a lens with a longer focal length. Something 70mm or longer is my preference.
A great lens to use when shooting macro beauty photography is a macro lens. It is not essential, however, they have a shorter focal range and allow you to get up closer to your subject’s face to actual focus.
With macro beauty photography, you want to avoid having a very shallow depth of field which sometimes occurs when using a longer lens or even a macro lens. To avoid this, I recommend shooting at an aperture of f/16 or higher. This helps with the loss of sharpness.
I also recommend that you shoot macro beauty photography tethered to a much larger screen than the back of your camera. This allows the whole team to see the in-camera image and correct any hair or makeup mistakes ahead of time. Cutting your editing time in half.
You can really choose any lighting modifier that you wish when shooting macro beauty photography. There is no set rule when it comes to this.
I think the most important part of your light modifiers in macro beauty is the catchlights they create. There is should always be a catchlight in your subject’s eye when shooting macro beauty photography. Size and shape do not matter.
Personally love shooting macro beauty with the Impact 7′ Improved Parabolic Umbrella in silver.
Having the right team members on any shoot is important but having the right makeup artist when shooting macro beauty can make or destroy every image. Finding a skillful makeup artist who is familiar with macro beauty photograph can sometimes be tricky. I recommend looking at their portfolio beforehand. You might even want to set up a test shoot to see what their style is in general.
For me when choosing to work with a makeup artist I am looking for someone who knows how to maintain clean, natural skin when applying foundation. I do not want my model to ‘caked’ in the foundation otherwise the skin looks unnatural and overdone. I still want to see their pores and texture.
A model with good skin is crucial for macro beauty photography. Choosing a model with small pores and little to no skin issues not only helps you, but also helps the makeup artist. If working with a model from an agency, ask them to send you a close-up image of her skin preferably in natural light with no makeup.
If you are working with a girl who is not with a modeling agency I recommend prepping them beforehand. Helping your model be prepared beforehand only helps you. Make sure she sees the mode board.
When looking for new models/girls I always look for girls who do not spray tan, do not have fake eyelashes. I check their eyebrows, too. Microbladed eyebrows are a huge thing right now and sadly not all are done correctly.
Macro beauty photography is not as forgiving. It can easily enhance beauty features in an unpleasing way.
My last tip for working with a team is to create a mood board beforehand. Not only does it allow you to share your expectations but allows the rest of the team to know what to expect. And share their expectations as well. Helping everyone to have the same end goal in mind.
Hopefully, these tips will help you start your macro beauty photography journey. As always, there is no right or wrong when creating art and practice always makes perfect.
If you need additional insight, techniques or questions feel free to share them in the comments below.