How To Do Engagement Photo Makeup | Soft smoky eyes and red lips

Whether you use makeup everyday or never ever, planning out your wedding makeup can be a little stressful. You want to look perfect, but natural. Polished, but not like you're wearing a mask. You want your makeup to show up in photos, but you don't want to appear like a drag queen to anyone in person. So what's a girl to do? Well, most of us leave it up to professionals and hire a makeup artist, but what about your engagement photos?

In a way, putting together your makeup for your engagement photos can be even trickier than for a wedding. You have to consider location, your outfit, time of day and come up with something to match. Some questions to ask yourself are:
  • what is the feel that you want to achieve with your photos? Romantic? Glamourous? Playful? 
  • what time of day are you taking your photos? Will the lighting be cool, or warm toned or at night?
  • what will you and your partner be wearing?
  • what colors will dominate the scene you'll be shooting in?
Once you know the answers to the above, then you should have a good idea for what kind of makeup you want to do. If you're shooting in a more playful, cute setting, then light, natural makeup colors is idea. If you're dressing up to the nines, or shooting at night, then glam it up.

For our first engagement shoot, Mr. Artist and I shot at a local lake in the late afternoon. The light was still pretty bright and there were lots of trees and tall grasses. Our outfits were semi-dressy, so I opted to use my bridal makeup look, which had lots of pinks and neutrals to create a very soft, natural look. I wanted look really glowing with all that light, so I used more shimmery tones and highlighter to really amp it up. With the bright sunlight as well, piling on more color will help counteract the sun washing you out.


For our second engagement shoot last weekend, we decided to approach it differently. This shoot took place in the early evening in downtown Vancouver. We were shooting near a waterfront and so our backgrounds were ocean, concrete and trees with tons of warm, golden light. For this look, since we were dressed up for an evening out, I knew I wanted a look that was more dramatic and sensual. What could possibly work better for that then a bright, glossy red lip? As I wanted to put all the attention to my lips, I kept my eyes soft and smoky and used matte shadows to create depth without drawing too much attention.

makeup look with estee lauder lipstick in empowered

Recreate this look

Prep your face with a moisturizing primer and a mattifying primer. The moisturizing primer helps products adhere to your skin, while the mattifying primer helps reduce shine. I'm using Paul + Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer in 03 Creme and Revlon Prime + Antishine.

Apply foundation over your entire face to create a smooth, flawless base. I love to use Clinique's Beyond Perfecting Foundatin + Concealer as it's long-lasting and covers up all my imperfections. My shade match is Creamwhip.

Set your foundation with your favourite setting powder. Since I wanted a subtle glow with the warm sunset light, I used my Hourglass Ambient powder in Dim Light for a candlelight, lit-from-within glow.


urban decay naked 1 basics

From the Naked 1 Basics, apply WOS, a soft peach-pink shade, all over lid to brow bone. Then apply Naked 2 from lash line to above the crease, blending and fanning out the color so it's a beautiful wash of color all over the eyelid.

Take Sugar Cane, a glittery white, from the A Black Honey Affair palette to highlight the brow bone and the inner corners of the eyes.

Line the outer third of your lower lashline with Naked 2, smudging it out with a soft, narrow brush.

Draw a thick, smudgy line along your top lash line, winging it out past the corners of your eyes with a golden brown eye pencil, such as the Aerin Cool Gel Eyeliner in 02 Essential Brown. Using your fingers, a q-tip or a stiff brush, smudge the liner upwards to blend into your eyeshadow. 

Use the same eyeliner to line under the outer third of your eyes where you applied Naked 2 before.

Take your thinnest black liquid eyeliner and draw as thin a line as possible along your top lash line.
Curl and apply two coats of mascara and fill in your brows.



With a red lip, having a strong eye and strong cheeks can be too much, but you still want some color otherwise you'll get washed out in photos. A pink-coral shade always looks natural and goes well with red lips. With a big blush brush, swirl a coral shade, such as Coral Pink from the Sephora + Pantone Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio over the apples of your cheeks, sweeping and blending it up through the hollows of cheeks towards your temples. Don't be afraid to look a little clownish with your blush! Trust me, in photos it will all work out. 

With a fan brush, generously apply highlighter along top of cheekbones, arch of brows, cupid's bow and, here's the key, to the base of your nose bridge with a small shadow brush. I recently learned this trick off Youtube and it's been LIFE CHANGING. This small highlight is super flattering and really ups your glow factor. My favourite highlight powder lately is the highlight shade from the Make Up Forever Pro Sculpting Duo.


Last, but not least, are the lips! The lips are the stars of the show, so choose your most flattering red and SLICK IT ON. My favourite shade of the moment is Estee Lauder's Pure Color Envy in Empowered.

Then finish everything off and make it last by spritzing with a setting spray, such as L'Occitane's Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Mist.
estee lauder lipstick in empowered

And voila! A polished, classy, but dramatic makeup look. This look makes me feel sexy and confident, which is just want you need to look your best in photos! I hope this helps inspire my fellow brides out there. Be sure to share your makeup tips for photos in the comments!

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