Hair & Makeup On Your Wedding Day, Tips + Thoughts + Suggestions

January 19, 2020

There are many fabulous hair and make-up artists. Regrettably, I have also seen my share of terrible ones. With photographing hundreds of weddings over the past 12 years I have quite a few stories! And before you ask, no I won’t mention names, however, you can click here to see my preferred vendors that I’ve had fabulous experiences with.

In fact, it would be kind of fun if I wrote about all of the things I’ve seen but hey that would be so unprofessional.  For now, let’s just hope the bad artists are now out of business or they’ve gone back to school. Gosh, I really, really hope so…

I’m always charged up to photograph

I’m always charged up to photograph the getting ready photos as these photos are the key starting point of the story that lay ahead. When I first I turn up at a getting ready location to photograph the bride I always search out the bride and give her a big hug and to say hi. After this, I always chat with the hair and makeup artist. Normally I know them given how long I’ve shooting but if I don’t I always say hi. Hair and makeup is a huge piece of your wedding day and I always find out what their plans are.


The fabulous hair and makeup artists are typically positioned closer to the window where there’s natural daylight as shown below by this photo.

Personally speaking, I believe natural daylight always rocks for applying make-up. Why?  Think of it this way, where are you going to be for the better portion of your day? My opinion is that you’ll predominately have natural daylight hitting your skin. If so, doesn’t it make sense having makeup applied while natural daylight is hitting your skin also?  If you’ve never thought about the temperature of light I totally understand, why should you. But the temperature of light is so important when makeup is being given.

Take a look at the photograph below, this photo has a mixture of the warm artificial light coming from the left mixed with natural daylight that looks blue in the sky. Quite a big difference wouldn’t you agree and this has just two different light sources.

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Now what’s super impressing is that our eyes can adjust to each environment and we don’t even know it. We simply adjust to the new location we’re in. If you think about it isn’t it truly incredible how we adapt to the environment so quickly, it’s just crazy. What does all this mean when makeup is applied you might be asking. Well, if done wrong the color of the applied makeup to your skin can look different per environments your in. YIKES.. Yes, believe me, yikes… I’ve seen stunning makeup applied yet it was in a heavily tungsten lit environment. This left the bride looking yellow when she walked outside in natural daylight.

For me, as a photographer, it really sucks when I see makeup being applied in 100% fluorescent or tungsten lit environments. For sure if the artist really knows what they’re doing they can compensate but many don’t know how to. Back to the point, if I notice that this happening I’ll for sure focus on environmental shots and not close up shots at all of the brides. I’ve seen yellow looking faced brides with natural looking necks and shoulders as the artist didn’t blend the make-up. Take a look at actors on the TV, you’ll notice quite often be it male or female actors having yellowish faces. It all comes back to the make-up artist!


How can make-up artists get
around this?

How can make-up artists get around this (btw this is my opinion)? Simple, work with gorgeous natural daylight and no I’m not talking about standing outside in direct light, I’m talking about diffused window light. This light totally rocks and is awesome.  I realize that some rooms don’t have daylight or much of it but a good makeup artist should be fitted to cope with challenges.  Isn’t this what you’re paying them for!

How do you get around this so things don’t go wrong for you? Possibly take a test run with the artist if you can and talk over such details. If they only give you clear answers run for the doors. I’ve heard an artist say oh it doesn’t matter during the actual application of the makeup in a 100% tungsten lit rooms. It does matter and you should care. It makes a huge difference in your day and you don’t want to walk around like a yellow light bulb. As a photographer, I suggest an engagement shoot to get to know how to be photographed so my clients feel comfortable. You could call this a test run also.

How much time should you give to hair and makeup? Given them a total of 1 hours for the combined service per person. Yep, if you have 8 brides, that’s 8 hrs. Or, hire 4 artists and it’s only 2 hrs in total. Don’t rush the hair and makeup time, you can not make up lost time. They can only work and if you have not given them enough time this is your fault.

Brief story, I photographed a gorgeous wedding In 2015, however, the hair and makeup went over by 1 hour 15 minutes. This ate into the creative time we’d set out after their first look. It left us only 30mins of shoot time for the first look, creative time and bridal party pictures. I worked really hard, to make up some lost time but in the end, they didn’t end up with many creative photos or photos of the bridal party. All of this could have been avoided if enough time was allocated first thing in the morning.

So, set aside enough time for vendors to do their job properly. Trust me, the only person who’ll suffer is you. Enjoy some extra time, have a glass of bubbly with your girlfriends, have fun. I personally work hard to build a fabulous timeline for your wedding day with my process after learning what is important to you for your wedding day. This allows for a great experience.

What about hair?

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I’ve written about makeup pretty much for the entire blog post. In many ways, it’s the same things. No, your hair won’t turn yellow. I do suggest doing a trial run with your hair artist making sure you both understand each other.  Clear inform and not suddenly wanting extensions put in on the morning of without enough time given is kinda naughty. The only person who will lose out is you as time will be lost somewhere else, and believe me, your day will pass by very quickly indeed.

Parting words:

Start out chilled giving enough time for your vendors to do a fabulous job

Don’t forget  the champagne and strawberries and have fun with your bridal party


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