Getting photo-ready for the holidays is absolutely a THING, right? This year, I managed to get on the Christmas card situation early because I had the obligatory family wedding photo from my son’s wedding last June locked, loaded, and ready to go. Right before the photographer snapped this photo, I embarrassed the entire family by yelling, “This one’s for the Christmas card! Make it good!” Yes, I really did. For the first time, I used Minted for my cards, and I have to say, I am thrilled with the quality and selection they offered. At the beginning of the design process, they allowed me to upload the photo I wanted to use, and then they populated all of the available designs with my picture. Never good at just imagining how things are going to look, this helped me make a choice in a timely manner. (I only drove my agreeable husband slightly crazy asking his opinion. His answer was always, “Yes! I like that one.” Seriously. At least 15 times.)
Normally, there is a lot of coordinating, organizing, and, well, sighing, involved in the taking of the family Christmas card photo. Even if you got lucky like me this year, and you don’t have to get the troops together for the Christmas card photo, there are lots of photo ops coming up throughout the holidays. Today I’m sharing tips, tricks, and ideas to help you look your best in all of those holiday snaps.
First things first. Choose a solid color top that has you looking and feeling your best! In a recent post, I shared a flattering top (I am wearing it on repeat right now!) with pleats and drapes in all the right places. It comes in five flattering colors and is under $50. (The reddish shade called “Cordova” would be perfect for holiday photos.) Once you’ve made your choice, It’s time for the prep. The experts say to start with a good primer. It fills in all the fine lines, and masks imperfections that the cruel camera picks up only too well. (Insert eye-rolling emoji here.) For every day, I love Veil Mineral Primer. The makeup artist I use for some of my Empty Nest Blessed photo shoots turned me on to it, and I’ve never looked back! Another one that people swear by to even out skin tone is Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer. My makeup artist also recommended Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer for that little problem area, and I really like that too. It allows a smoother application of under-eye concealer where the skin can tend to be crepey. Don’t stop at your jawline! For photos, you’ll want to use primer and foundation all the way down your neck and décolletage. (No judgment here. Not sure how much you are planning on showing, just sayin’.) Also, think about whitening your teeth for maximum smile power. Crest makes One Hour Express Whitestrips that will do the trick quick. (The images below are clickable for more information.)
I’ve learned a few things when I’ve had my makeup professionally done specifically for photo shoots. Mostly what I’ve learned is that your normal, every day makeup needs to be modified for photos. For a photo-ready foundation, use the one the TV news anchors use (according to my makeup artist) – MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation. If you normally use an eye pencil to define your eyes, consider switching to a liquid liner for photos. It will define your eyes better and still look natural. Always a fan of a multi-purpose product, I like Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum, but I have friends that love Nars “Stylo” Liquid Eyeliner. Both go on like a marker, so no fiddling with brushes, etc. Be sure to add an extra coat or two of your favorite mascara. I’m loving Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara right now. (Click here if you want to read the blog post about my, er, semi-obsession with lashes.) Also, you’ll need to punch up your brows a little bit. (Sneak peak to a post for next week – I’m working on an interview with my brow esthetician! She has great tips and product recommendations, as well as an exclusive discount for Empty Nest Blessed readers. Be sure to sign up for my mailing list below, so you don’t miss out!) She recommends the brush-on Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel, which is tinted and adds tiny micro fibers that adhere to your skin and hairs to enhance your brows. If you struggle with getting shiny in your T-zone, try MAC Blot Powder or my fave, Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets, for blotting. You’ll also want to brighten your blush and line your lips, especially on your upper V and outer corners. Stay away from dark lip colors, as they can be aging, but consider stepping up beyond your normal shade. Finally, if you are brave enough, use a contour kit (the one I use, the Smashbox “Step By Step” Contour Kit, is simple, and comes with instructions and its own brush), to define and shape your face. (Click the images below for more information.)
When I started doing photo shoots for Empty Nest Blessed, I was so intimidated that I read a bunch of articles about posing, studied other bloggers, and even practiced in front of the mirror. The first thing I learned? No one looks their best directly facing the camera. Instead, stand at a slimming ¾ angle to the camera. Stand up straight, pull in your stomach and put your shoulders down and back. Ladies, put all of your weight on one leg and stick your hip out a little. Then extend the other leg out in front slightly. Bend it at the knee a tiny bit and point that knee toward the weight-bearing leg. Never, never put an arm around the people on both sides of you. (This rule applies to men and women.) It is simply not flattering. If you are going to put your arm around someone in the photo, be sure to use the arm on the same side as your weight-bearing leg. Finally, I need to break it to you that (according to my daughter, who is my source for all things hip and current), the celebrity inspired one-hand-on-your-hip look has really run its course. Alternatively, put that hand softly down by your side with a slight bend in your elbow. Don’t’ forget to smile! To tighten your jaw line, press your tongue up into the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth. Wait to smile until just before the photo is taken. Show your teeth, and aim for a genuine smile that doesn’t show too much of your gum-line. (Again from the daughter: “closed-mouth smiles are just creepy-looking.”) Try saying “money” instead of “cheese.” The strong “e” sound makes the corners of your mouth go up instead of just out to the side.
Best wishes as you take that holiday photo! I’d love it if you’d share your best tips, tricks for photos. Leave me a comment below and share your photo-ready secrets with everyone.
YOU are going to look fabulous!
P. S. I know someone is going to ask me about the nail polish I am wearing in the photo above! It is ingeniously named “Game of Chromes” and it stays on forever without chipping if you use the topcoat. It’s perfect for fall and festive for the holidays. xoxo
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P.P.S. I wanted to let you know that the gift guides I have been working on for months will be rolling out next week! I’ve got some really unique and fun gift ideas for men, women, your big ole’ kids, your parents, and even a few for the grands. Email subscribers will get all the scoop first, so if you aren’t on my email list, you might want to sign up below. I can’t wait to share everything with you!