A question that frequently gets asked on makeup forums is "I have ID pics taken today, what makeup should I do?" and yet there's not much information available on the subject.
But this is a very interesting question, because indeed, an ID pic requires a specific makeup to look decent and I'm pretty sure we all had to run around for a few years with an ID pic that we had rather not showed to anyone ever.
I had to renew my ID a couple of weeks ago, which got me thinking it would be interesting to blog about this topic. There are a few makeup tips that will really improve how you look on these pics with their awful white background and bad quality printing.
Define, define, define.
That's the first and most important principle. The fact that the background is pale and that the pic shows only your face, which might be pale as well, makes it very hard to get contrast. (NB: if you are darker skintoned, the contrast between your face and the background will be bigger, but getting some contrast on your face remains a problem.)
To give definition to your face, there are a few things you can do:
- use mascara, of course, but also intensify your upper lashline by using a bit of eyeliner, this will help make your eyes stand out; don't make it too dramatic, though, or it will outshine your eyes and look too obvious
- do use blush, even if you don't normally do; not wearing any makes your face look really flat on that kind of picture
- contour: this is definitely going to make a huge difference. Even if you don't want to contour your face, you can lightly shade your jaw line and under your chin, as that will make your face stand out from your neck on the picture
- make sure your brows are well defined, even if you just use clear brow gel, as they will frame your face
- wear lipstick, in a"my lips but better" shade, and definitely avoid nudes that will wash you out
Matte, matte, matte.
Ok let's face it, this second principle is equally as important as the first one!
Since those pictures are taken with a giant flash directed to your face, you want to do your best to avoid looking shiny.
- make sure you don't wear SPF as this will reflect the flash light
- avoid highlighters, cream or powder, as they will just make you look like a disco ball
- powder your skin, you can do that with a compact powder right before the picture is taken and you will be certain not to look greasy
- do not, I repeat DO NOT use a white silica powder like MUFE HD as this does reflect the light and appears as white patches on pictures - as quite a few stars experimented in red carpet pictures
- I recommended wearing lipstick and I do mean no lipgloss, as this will be light reflective as well; a satin or matte lipstick will work better
Make sure your neck area does have some contrast with your face and the background by wearing colored clothes or even just a scarf. Also avoid large pieces of jewelry like chandelier earrings or huge necklaces.
With this in mind you should obtain a photograph that looks good, and won't look dated in a couple of years (since some of these pictures hang around with you for 5 to 10 years).
Oh and don't forget to smile!