Picture Perfect

Tips, tricks and the best products to have you looking fabulous in all your holiday photos

The rise of the digital camera age has led to the proliferation of amateur paparazzi and, in their wake, a trail of unwanted “kabuki” photographs.

You know the ones – the ghostly apparitions with faces whitened by the bright light of the camera’s direct flash.

It’s important to note that the eyes that stare back at you from the mirror are far more forgiving than the camera’s lens, and that burst of white is due to the opacity of foundations and powders, says Emily Katz, makeup department supervisor for the television series Lost, who is accustomed to creating makeup looks that work in the most difficult lighting situations.

“Skin with nothing on it absorbs light, but when light hits makeup, it bounces it back at the camera,” she says.

What makes it more noticeable and jarring is when there’s a big contrast between the color of one’s face and neck.

“Because so many of us are using sunscreen these days, our faces tend to be a couple of shades lighter than our necks,” Katz said in explaining why it’s so important to blend foundation well over face and neck.

When choosing a foundation, Diorshow National Artist Thuy Pham says, “Foundation needs to match the skin. (It) sounds easy enough, but 80 percent of women wear a shade too light or the wrong undertone. A perfect match can be tricky, that’s why Dior Totale foundation comes in a range with four undertones – beige, rose, yellow and peach.”

Flash photography also dilutes color, so it’s important to wear more cheek color than you would normally use to balance lips and eyes. Choose a fleshy bronze tone close to the depth of your skin tone.

Just as with foundation, “powder needs to be applied to all seen areas, especially the neck and hairline,” Pham says, adding that Dior Forever Powder has a soft-focus effect because it’s so finely milled.

Overuse of heavier powders can give makeup a cakey appearance, Katz says. In addition to starting with a fine, sheer powder, she suggests that instead of applying more powder throughout an event to blot shine, simply carry a pack of blotting paper, available at most cosmetic counters.

A touch of shimmer continues to be strong-going this holiday season, and Pham cautions that it should not be confused with papery glitter, which she says, “translates on camera as small specks of dirt.”

Imagine the effect if some of your glitter eye shadow should go astray and land on your cheeks.

Once in front of the paparazzi frenzy, just back away from the camera if you feel uncomfortable at all. Consumer camera flashes are weak at a distance, and 6 feet may make all the difference between looking normal or bound for a Halloween party. A decent photographer will be able to use the camera’s zoom feature to give the appearance of a closer shot.

And, if the aunt or uncle known for lopping off heads or arms or adding 20 pounds to subjects appears, feel free to play the diva role by placing your hand in front of the lens and demanding, “No pictures, please.”

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