Monday, 25 March 2019 02:33

In Focus: Creating the Perfect Before and After Photos

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I worked with a famous, professional hair care and cosmetic brand for years as an educator. I also worked as a makeup artist for that brand’s photoshoots. I enjoyed the behind-the-scene, step-by-step process of the photography on a photoshoot – from the vision of the art and marketing department to the shoot to the final product of the box cover or ad. It was so exciting and I learned so much about before and after photos. Every picture told a story. As a skin care professional what story do you want to tell in your business?


Taking before and after photos, whether by booking a photographer or by using your own phone, can be a major asset to your business marketing plan and on social media. Here are a few tricks and tips from lessons I learned along the way.

Before I do the makeup for a shot at the photographer’s studio or in my makeup studio, I love to apply Kbeauty sheet masks to the face for instant illumination to the skin. They make the skin look hydrated, rested, and amazing. I also like to use an under eye gel and lip sheet masks, which are great for smoker’s lips and sun-damage around the lips and face.


Makeup should be applied a bit more intensely to show up on camera. A dash of face powder is a must. However, do not overdo it.

When taking before and after photos, lighting is everything. Make certain that the lighting is working for you, not against you, and is bright enough with no shadows and dark spots. Flattering the face is key.


When photographing at a studio with a professional photographer, I prefer to have them touch up the photo a bit to make sure the work looks clean and pretty.

The area and background where you take the shot is important and should be consistent. Create a signature space. You can create a background that is plain or colorful, use a flower or greenery wall, or highlight a piece of artwork on your wall. The possibilities are endless. It can even be a step and repeat screen. If you have not done so already, create a selfie station for clients to take their own photos to post on social media. This also gives you exposure and name recognition for your business.

If you are not using a professional model, the client you choose to use for before and afters has to be into it and want to be shown in your business, ads, website, or on social media. If he or she is camera shy or not in the mood, their face will show it. I have experienced clients who love coming to my business and love my work and skin care treatments but would prefer not to have their picture taken at all. You will find others who will gladly pose for you and share in your excitement. Always cover yourself. Get clients and models to sign a consent form that allows you to use their photos.


When it comes to their appearance, their makeup cannot be fabulous while their hair looks unkempt. Find a stylist who can work with you for free and you can trade photos. Both of you win! Your client’s clothing matters, too, even if the photograph is just a headshot. A wild pattern or neon color will compete or take away from your beautiful makeup application. Avoid white at all costs and choose a simple top in a classic black, caramel, or navy.


Find the client’s good side to photograph. They usually know what side that is. Avoid the straight head on pose. They can appear like a deer in the headlights. Say no to the pose with one or both hands on the hips. Posture should be erect. No slouching!


Avoid staged poses; play around with different poses. Photographs taken while they are sitting down may make them feel more comfortable. Having them sit on one hip to the side is a nice angle to use. Point the client’s chin down, with the face and eyes up towards the camera. If you would like to offer it, I have discovered a little champagne mimosa goes a long way to relax and put them at ease.


Photographing a mother and daughter is a nice photographic opportunity, as you have two before and after photos. People really relate to mother and daughter shots.


Don’t limit before and afters to just your makeup work. You can take before and after photographs for both hair and makeup. You can also feature before and afters of the skin, bacne, and skin care treatments and show off glowing improved skin. And, if you do manicures and pedicures, you can feature before and afters of them, too.


Photos are a fun, exciting, and fresh way to share your work, especially through social media. I also recommend you take photographs of some of the staff in the spa. Clients will enjoy seeing their pictures, too. Spice things up. Show off all you have to offer and sell your services via before and after photos. The press is so much fun and is so worth it!


Noreen YoungNoreen Young is a nationally-known educator, author, beauty therapist, and professional makeup artist. She has had the pleasure of working with designer Diane Von Furstenberg, Matrix, Revlon, Wrangler, NFL games, Fox network, Fox Sports, sportscasters, and newscasters, to name a few. She is a regular guest beauty and lifestyle reporter on television news shows in sunny Jacksonville, Florida and across the country. Her work is featured in national magazines and seen on box covers and commercials. An avid lover of lipstick, she has a collection of lipsticks just for the spa and salon industry. She is also a beauty blogger and is launching a beauty blog the spring of 2019 for aestheticians, makeup artists, and beauty business owners. Young is a fun and charismatic educator not to be missed at spa and beauty shows. You may reach Noreen Young at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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