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November 4, 2021

How To Take Close-up Photos Of Your Makeup

how to take closeup photos of your makeup by barbies beauty bits

I get a lot of questions here at Barbie's Beauty Bits on how to take close-up photos of yourself wearing makeup. I always tell a newbie beauty blogger that they don't need top-notch equipment to start taking amazing photos. With the quality of today's smartphone cameras and lighted makeup mirrors, you can take amazing pictures without spending a lot of money on heavy and expensive photo equipment.

Would you like to know a few of my secret photo-taking tips? Continue reading to learn my favorite strategies and products for creating better makeup images, even as a beginner.

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It's All About the Lighting
When it comes to taking beautiful makeup shots, an essential element to doing it right is proper lighting. When it comes to translating color and nuances in images that will make your shot jump when scrolling through the feed, I usually recommend starting with natural lighting by being near a window. This will ensure that your photo has the most accurate colors possible, which is crucial. Don't believe me, check out this article I wrote on what is my actual hair coloring?

I get it this can be easier said than done, as natural lighting isn't always readily available! But, don't worry; there are still solutions available to you. For example:

  • Clip-on selfie ring lights are inexpensive and can improve your illumination
  • There are phone cases with built-in illumination if you don't want to carry about an additional light. With only a press of a button, you'll be photo-ready.
  • Ilios lighting beauty ring- This Beauty Ring is the first-ever all-in-one makeup mirror and ring light combination designed by lighting experts and perfected by celebrity makeup artists. It also comes with a built-in smartphone holder that positions the phone horizontally/vertically and a light stand, making it perfect for makeup, skincare, content creation, even zoom calls! Plus, the lighting is the best I've experienced, as it mimics true daylight and...
    • It has 5 dimming levels 
    • 3-color modes
    • LED lighting combats overhead fluorescent lighting
    • The LEDs are covered with a layer of custom diffusion and won't result in unflattering shadows or eye strain commonly found on low-quality dot-style LED mirrors
    • No wonder Kim Kardashian calls it the best makeup mirror ever

Adjust Your Phones Camera Settings
To save space, most phones are going to be in a lower factory setting. For high-quality photos, you want to make sure to set the camera on your phone to the highest resolution possible.

The Back Camera Takes Higher Quality Photos
Regardless of the phone model, the rear camera (on the other side of the screen) is of higher quality than the front selfie camera. WHAT??? Yes, when I tell people no front selfie shots, they are shocked. But it is best to use the rear camera to take your makeup selfies, especially for catching up-close details.

I know what you are thinking. If I am using the backside of my phone, how the heck can I see myself? Well, I have a few tricks to help with below.

Tip 1: Set up your camera in front of a mirror so you can see where it's pointing.

Tip 2: Purchase a phone adapter that adheres to the mirror, so you are hands-free. And can also see yourself.

Tip 3: Add a re-stickable mirror that sticks to the back of all phones and cases!

Tip 4: Ilios reversible mirror is an upgrade to add to the ring light. The mirror is distortion-free and can be magnified 1x or 5x. 

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Stable, Sharp Photos, Come From Tripods
The clarity of your phone images is what makes them seem similar to, if not identical, to photos shot with a DSLR. Yes, using a selfie stick, tripod, or better yet, a ring light, phone holder, and tripod combo, like the one that comes with the Ilios Lighting is the best option for those picture-perfect shots. (just make sure it is positioned at the right height, you will see this in another section).

There are Bluetooth remote options you can use with your phone that allows you to shoot shots with your hands-free. This combined with the Ilios goodies are ideal for full-face photos or even performing Instagram live 'Get Ready With Me' videos.

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Experiment With Various Angles And Poses To Get The Perfect Photo
To get the perfect photo of yourself and one that will best show off your makeup look, you will need to experiment with different poses. And knowing your angles is essential for the best photo possible of yourself. Bad angles can make you look bad. Think about some of those photos you've been tagged in on Facebook, and you're like, Oh my, I look horrible. It is because of the angle!!! So what is the best angle? Check out some of them below.

  1. Taking Photos With Camera Too Low Or Face On- Either one of these can cause a double chin, sagging skin, and some other unflattering photos. To avoid a double chin, you want to put your chin forward and then downwards. And a celebrity tip I learned, it to lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth.
  2. Taking Photos With The Camera Too High-Shooting too high can make the person look small or emphasize a receding hairline or, in my case, grays roots!
  3. Taking Photos To Close To The Camera-Anything close to the camera will appear larger, so anything you're really self-conscious about, you move it back out of frame.
  4. The Most Realist Angle To Take Photos-Taking photos slightly above eye level will offer the most realistic representation of what you are shooting. However, it can feel monotonous when all your pictures are taken from this position. So remember always to use one of the mirror tips above to help switch it up.
  5. Equipment That Allows For This Angle Diversity? Why of course Ilios travel bundle kit brings the perfect light to the beauty industry just for this! 
how exfoliating helps with better makeup application barbies beauty bits

Exfoliate Your Skin For Flawless Makeup Application
I know you are thinking, what does skincare have to do with the quality of a photo? But makeup and skincare go hand in hand. Have you ever had your makeup look cakey or have it settle into fine lines or wrinkles? Caked-on, flakey makeup happens because of the buildup of dead skin cells.  
The key to flawless makeup application is smooth skin. That layer of dead skin cells is what ultimately creates false wrinkles, flakiness, creasing, and other issues as your makeup loves to cling to it!

So to balance out your skin, you need to buff away those dead, dry, or dying cells. Otherwise, when you apply makeup, you will highlight those imperfections instead of concealing them!  I know, it seems contradictive, as isn't that what makeup helps with? Well, only if you exfoliate your skin regularly will you remove that buildup of dead skin cells. The end result is a smoother canvas to which the makeup can adhere, making for a more even, flawless look and better-looking, close-up makeup photos. 

And do not forget about the eyes! I love adding a collagen boost to smooth out the delicate eye area before applying makeup, especially since makeup can crease in this area, creating false wrinkles! Not good for photos, false wrinkles that is!!!!

Take Tons Of Photos Of Yourself
Think about a photographer on a photoshoot; they take tons of photos. Why? Because with more photos, the better the odds are that you'll get the perfect shot. You can quickly shoot tons of photos due to the mobility of the Ilios and the pull-down of the built-in arm for your phone- making it easy to turn any space into a professionally lit studio.

There are many different photo poses for girls’ selfies that you can choose from. Oh, and don't forget to delete the bad images. You do not want to take up space on your phone with unwanted photos.

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Editing Photos Shouldn't Be A Controversial Subject
Last but not least. I saved this for last as I wanted to dispel this myth: retouching your makeup shots does not imply you're a phony. Editing may take your beauty selfies to the next level in a positive way as long as you're not substantially changing the appearance of your makeup, facial characteristics, or texture. There's nothing wrong with boosting colors to make them more "real" or editing the background, so it doesn't look like you are taking photos from the same room in your home all of the time.  

If you want to alter your photos, these are some of my favorite apps. I like to edit the brightness, lighten any shadows, and boost vibrancy so you can actually see the quality of the makeup look. BUT stay away from editing your skin, as you want the shots to be realistic as possible. Fake, phony magazine perfect skin photos, people will not relate. Accidental ones get rid of (those caused from an off position, etc.)  Otherwise, embrace your natural skin imperfections.

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In Closing
The above are a few of my favorite photo tips and tricks, as well as beauty ring lights, allowing me to take close-up photos of my makeup and sharing them on Barbie's Beauty Bits blog or my insta.

There are loads of other ideas out there, some similar to mine and some completely different. Why not share some of your top hacks and make another selfie queen's photos stand out. After all, we beauty lovers have to stick together.




  1. Interesting post. I had no idea the cameras were different on the phone. Good to know.

  2. Thank you so much for these tips. I’m always looking for a better way to take pics.

  3. I will keep these tips in mind. I never look attractive when I try to take close ups!

  4. These are great tips for my selfies. I will try them next time I do close ups

  5. I really enjoy reading this post! Thank you so much for sharing these tips to us!

  6. These are great tips. I really should exfoliate more than I do.

  7. I had no idea that so much went into photography makeup looks. These are great tips for anyone who does this sort of photography.

  8. This is an excellent collection of advice. Good selfies and videos take a lot of prep. I use an extra light at eye level even on Zoom calls so the unattractive shadows are banished.

  9. This is an excellent collection of advice. Selfies and videos take a lot of planning. I use a light at eye level for zoom meetings too so that the unattractive shadows are banished.

  10. Natural lighting does usually work best. My daughter-in-law has a ring light that she uses for make up tutorial videos

  11. Im not really good at taking close up photos, but I really find your tips helpful. I will experiment more on angles

  12. These are great tips. I will always remember them every time I'll take close-up photos.

  13. Yes, it's not easy to take the perfect photo with the make-up. These tips are so useful!

  14. I take a ton of photos before I decide on one. :) Great tips! -LYNNDEE

  15. These are some great tips - it can be so hard at times getting the focus on things like your make up when you want to share it.

  16. I will have to remember this next time I need to do photos. These are good points and would be helpful for sure.

  17. I need to buy one of those adapter for the mirror so I can be handsfree, great tips

  18. I need to remember this next time when I take pictures. thanks for sharing this tips.

  19. What??? That ring light looks amazing

  20. I need that mirror thing.

  21. I take tons of photos, but that is because I am not photogenic.

  22. Great tips! I always find taking self portraits very hard even being a pro photographer who actually works people (not still life or animals). your post is very well laidout

  23. These are great tips! I can take a selfie much better now. Thanks for these amazing tips!

  24. The skincare tip, so helpful. I've spent so much money on foundation. I need to try exfoliating and see how that helps. I just thought my skin was dry.

  25. I need to see myself, which makes some of these suggestions hard. My eyes always look off when I use the backside of my phone. What the heck am I supposed to be looking at as it works differently, then using the selfie mode.

  26. I like that stick on option for being out selfies. The ring light/mirror would make a great gift for my neice.

  27. I don't take selfies but with pictures of items it definitely is about lighting. Ring mirrors are supposed to be really good.

  28. Thank you so much for these ideas. I definitely want to start taking more close up photos of my makeup.

  29. Thank for these tips! I agree about the part that lighting is everything. Our lighting at home sucks so so do the selfies huhu

  30. Interesting read, I learned something new today.

  31. I need to work on all of these. LOL I stopped wearing makeup because it looked so cakey.

  32. Thanks for those awesome tips, this will definitely come in handy for me.


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