Makeup Product Photography

Makeup Product Photography

Makeup product photography is the photography of makeup and cosmetics for fashion magazines, catalogs, Instagram product business accounts, and online stores. It encompasses photographs of foundation, eyeliner, lipstick products, brushes and tools as well as coverage of lifestyle cosmetic product photography.

Today I’ll share some useful photography makeup tips to make you realize your bravest makeup product photography ideas.

Makeup Product Photography Tips

What is the first thing you see while searching for anything to buy online? The product photo! People like stylish product images with a special taste, and if your brand lacks eye-catching product photos, the chances that a customer will pay attention to it are relatively low. Besides, awesome makeup product photography may function as proof of your professionalism and as a bait for prosperous clients. We have made the list of ten effective makeup photography tips to advance your business. For more information you can watch the best product photography tutorials on YouTube.

1. Learn the Brand Peculiarities

makeup product photography

Josh Caudwell Photographer

Every beauty product photographer knows that before doing any photo session, you need to clearly understand what it’s all about. Learn more about the brand, what audience it is meant for and what idea is to be conveyed. The best variant is to have a talk with a customer. Ask him/her to fill in a creative brief, which is a document that contains all the important paragraphs, concerning the makeup products photography. Thus, you will understand what his/her expectations are and how you can fulfill them.

It is the case that customers can’t clearly describe what they need. They may use such words as “interesting”, “beautiful” and “creative” but your vision of these attributes are different, so you need to get more details. Don’t hesitate to specify each question you have some doubts about, as it is very important if you really want to satisfy your clients. There are some win-win makeup product photography questions you may use:

  • How would you like people to see your brand?
  • Who is it meant for?
  • Do you have any competitors? Who is the main one?
  • How can you describe your brand?
  • In what way will the pictures be used?
  • With what flowers, food, and color do you associate your cosmetics? 

Makeup artist photographers recommend using the mood board. It is created with a help of an app like Pinterest or any other. You can pin there the images your client likes and have a “draft” of what he/she wants to get. This visual outline will guide you in the right direction.

2. Check the Target Audience

makeup product photography

Josh Caudwell Photographer

Before you start choosing the makeup photography lighting or doing any other preparations, you need to learn more about the target market. Who is the ideal brand’s client? Should it interest the middle-aged people or is it intended for young ladies only? Is it an expensive product or anybody can buy it? If you realize whom the brand is targeted at, you will be able to show everything in a proper way.

3. Plan the Shooting

If you do any makeup photography product shooting for a friend, you may feel more relaxed, as there is no need to prepare everything beforehand. In case you have an order and want your clients to be pleased, take care of planning all in advance. You may need to find the examples of makeup product photography with props on the web to define what is preferable to use, look through the cosmetic product photography tutorials or even consult other specialists.

It is a great idea to write down everything that you need to keep in mind. It doesn’t concern only the makeup product photography prop styling but also the questions discussed previously. Your prime task as a shooter is to be creative and fulfill the makeup photography ideas professionally. However, you must also be very knacky to find the best way to represent the brand.

4. Choose the Color Gamut

makeup products photography

The colors play a vital role in the general perception of any image. The perfectly chosen color scheme will help accentuate the most important elements. Primarily, define the overall mood. Would you like to get the bright picture? If so, opt for colorful backgrounds and garish tones. Maybe you need the classic look? The combination of black and white props will be the best choice.


If there is any fixed color scheme throughout the brand, for example, the red makeup product photography. If it is the case, you just need to choose something suitable and stick to the style.

5. Follow One Style

makeup products photography

makeup products photography

Rich Begany Photography

Everything you use for the makeup products photography should merge, creating one picture. All the elements of the composition must match each other regarding the color, style, shape, size etc. Besides, you need to place everything logically. For instance, if you are engaged in this sphere like professional as Rich Begany Photography, all the shots must be done in accordance with the overall style – appealing, glamorous and bright. You may create the sense of motion and show some textures. Besides, you may combine several elements to get an interesting composition. The gist of this style is to show that the cosmetics are quality and very expensive.

Want to have beautiful product photos with natural shadows, bright colors and without dust – use FixThePhoto online product retouching services. Receive a professional photo retouching help from $2 per photo.

6. Prefer Unusual Angles 

makeup product photography ideas

Makeup product photographers know that they should try every angle possible when perform shooting. If you keep taking photos from one angle only, the pictures you get will be very similar and quite boring. You may try taking a photo from above, staying on a chair or lie down and click a picture. The more angles you use the diversified pictures you will get. Follow our 360 product photography guide to make your online shop full of trendy photos.

7. Use Different Product Photography Props

makeup product photography ideas

Courtney Dailey Photographer

Makeup product photography props are of a tremendous importance as they help show how the product can be used, accentuate its key features and convince potential users in its quality. Such items enable the photographer to create an interesting image with a definite story.

For instance, cosmetic photographers often use different fruit and berries as the elements of the background for their images. You have probably seen how gorgeous a red lipstick looks on the black background with red cherries around. Thus, you can accentuate the color or the texture of the product.

Another example regards the makeup product and graduation hat photography. The best way to depict such a product is to supplement it with other elements of the attire. Besides, you may try hard to find the best foundation for photography of this kind. Such props as books and blocks will also look very beneficial.

makeup product photography ideas

Josh Caudwell Photographer

Every time you choose props for the makeup product photography, take into account their color, size, material, and shape. The props mustn’t attract the attention as they serve to single out the product. Besides, they must coincide with the general color gamut of the brand.

8. Choose a Perfect Background

makeup photography product

Never underestimate the significance of the background. It should perfectly suit the product and help to convey the message of the composition. For instance, if you take a photo of the biocosmetic, a neutral, pastel background with some floral patterns will look really advantageous. Amazon product photography requires a white background.

For makeup product photography Instagram you may use various background and the combination of several materials:

  • bright posters;
  • wooden panels;
  • fabric;
  • craft paper;
  • stones;
  • marble;
  • wallpaper.

But most often the monochromatic background works best. The neutral colors and light shades help to bring the product into focus. With more colorful backgrounds you will need to choose the makeup product photography lighting very carefully. The standard white backdrop is the best option for the online stores pictures. But for magazines and catalogs, you can experiment with different hues.

9. Take Photo in Action

makeup photography product

The main aim is to showcase the product. The photographers sometimes get so excited with all the props and various techniques they use to create an awesome picture that they forget about the prime mission. All the additional elements you use for the makeup product photography mustn’t divert attention from the product, but on the contrary, highlight it.

Actually, there are several effective variants of how you can demonstrate the product. Primarily, you can have a model, which will show how to use the product. It is a very common way and the customers usually like such images. Besides, you can hang the product or place it outdoors. Anyway, the method you choose must correspond to the style of the brand.

lifestyle makeup photography

Jesca Cluff Photography

It is advisable to think about where the product is commonly used (bedroom, bathroom etc). For instance, if you take a photo of a night hand cream, it will be cool to photograph it in the bedroom on the night table. There should be a connection between the product and the location, you photograph it in. Beauty product photographers know that customers pay attention to the slightest details, so everything must my chosen properly.

10. Mind Diagonal Lines 

makeup photography product

The trick of placing the object along the diagonal lines is also very popular among the beauty product photographers. This is a very simple way, which will enable you to get smoothly-balanced shots. Such lines are like the invisible “path” that leads the viewer right to the product, giving the photo more depth.

We naturally move our eyes from the left to the right, so you can use this principle, arranging the product.

makeup products photography

Makeup Product Photography Lighting

Lightning matters the most in this kind of shooting. If you are interested in the makeup product photography, then for sure you have met a lot of different equipment to create the necessary lighting. Sometimes there are quite strange and not always wisely used constructions of several lights, reflectors, and snoots. In fact, to get good quality pictures, you do not need so much. For a backlight apply a speedlight shot into a 47.2-inch umbrella (you must use it through diffusion). How to take product photos in good lighting conditions? It is recommended to use a strip light softbox. In addition, take a white plexiglass table, put a few black and white cards in correct places.

1. Godox 120cm/47.2 in Portable Octagon Softbox Umbrella

makeup product photography lighting



Its main tasks are to make the light stream softer, remove shadows and solve other makeup product photography lighting problems. This model is very convenient to use, especially for speedlight, as it has a translucent cover which is fastened with Velcro at the edges. The softbox can be easily put on the stand due to its zippered design. Work with special studio flashlights with umbrella hole and flashes is available.

2. Yongnuo YN560 IV Camera Flash Light LCD Screen Wireless Flash Controller

makeup product photography lighting



Providing three autonomous groups with controlling facility, this item allows remote handling of the flash output, flash mode, and focal length of the YN560 IV and YN560 III.

3. 14"x63" Inch (35x160cm) Strip Softbox Soft Box Tank

makeup product photography lighting



This light reflective screen is the third component of the setup for shooting makeup product photography. It consists of two heat sinks that support the circulation of cold air. The front and deflector screens have a white translucent surface.

4. Fotodiox Pro LED 24x24 Studio-in-a-Box Table

makeup product photography lighting



A mobile product photography lightning studio for small products as cosmetics. Highly recommended for Amazon photography and online shops.

Famous Makeup Product Photography Instagram Accounts

What is the way do large cosmetic brands promote their products on Instagram? It is very interesting and useful to study the pages of famous brands on Instagram. Sometimes it happens that you come across the ideas for makeup product photography and what is more important nobody has heard about them yet. On the contrary, you see the obvious mistakes and warn yourself not to repeat such stupid things. The advantage is obvious. Here some large cosmetic brands which present their makeup product photography Instagram. Five accounts of the world companies — Maybelline, Garnier, Eos, M.A.C., Lush are analyzed below.


cosmetic photographers

4m Subscribers

Lush cosmetics is very photogenic and the PR-managers of the company fully use this feature creating wonderful makeup product photography for Instagram. There is no single visual line: bright colors, a variety of angles and saturation in colors are immediately noticed on the brand page. Most of the likes are got by publications with unusual items: bombs, which decorate the bathroom with all the colors of the rainbow; coal-black masks; a new product, which looks like "Mr. Muscle".

Maybelline New York

cosmetic photographers

7,2m Subscribers

The world cosmetics brand, which specializes in decorative cosmetics, is very active in Instagram. It publishes an average of 4-5 posts of their makeup product photography a day, without days off. Moreover, the company tries to upload at least one video a day. The style of photos which are most often used is to take simple images of cosmetics and the examples of makeup product photography with props are rarely added. Makeup photography product is taken in bright colors but you can often see either black or white taken as a background.


cosmetic photographers

2m Subscribers

Even if you do not have an Eos lip balm, you probably saw it in a store or in the social networks. The Instagram page consists mainly of photographs, video, and gifs with a key product - an egg-shaped balm. According to statistics, their awesome makeup product photography with this product gets most of all the likes.

The brand can be envied: the amount of users’ content rolls over. Besides, people actively post it in their own accounts, noting the authors.


cosmetic photographers

19m Subscribers

The brand of decorative cosmetics M.A.C. has a bright, provocative and unrealistically active account. On average, they publish 6-7 posts with makeup product photography MAC a day but often 10 or more! The secret of M.A.C. is in its products. In addition, that's fine when you do not need to reinvent the wheel to promote your brand. If the product is fantastic, it will look cool both in the showcase and on Instagram.

Laura Mercier

cosmetic photographers

1,9m Subscribers

Laura is not only a world-famous make-up artist, but she is also the creator and founder of a line of cosmetics for face and body care. Laura's ideas were embodied in the products of the brand, distinguished by artistic technique, French aesthetic grace and "House of Flawless". The Instagram account is full of makeup product photography Laura Mercier and it is based on the images of a soft, pastel palette that does not come out of the image of the "Flawless Face» which is the main feature of the brand.


cosmetic photographers

200k Subscribers

Garnier Cosmetics is widely known. The brand account in Instagram (Garnier USA) is styled in light colors. In its photo content the account balances between makeup product photography of the items and cosmetics in the hands. Slightly less often they add photos of girls who use makeup.

Studying the company's accounts in different countries you can trace how they release various makeup product photography ideas. In Spain (garnier_es) and Turkey (garnierturkiye) you can observe amazing object photos, in Indonesia (garnierindonesia) they have become confused over a single style, in England (garnieruk) they take lifestyle product photography.

Famous Makeup Product Photographers

Nori Inoguchi

The Japanese still-life product photographer, Nori Inoguchi, has a special interest in luxury and in his works tries to embody incredible images, finding beauty in every subject that he captures. His refined artistic flair, a minimalist approach in his work helped him to obtain a name in the field of makeup product photography. Now he works with the best brands in the world of fashion and cosmetics shooting in New York, Paris, London, as well as in his homeland.

nori inoguchi photography

Nori Inoguchi Photographer

Performing makeup photoshoot Nori adheres to his specific technique - clean, crisp and clear. It is thanks to his unique style, he is one of the leading masters in the branch since 2009.

Zachary Goulko

Zachary Goulko is a well-known beauty product photographer whose works stand out by the extraordinary use of the force of light, which helps impart 2D images with drama, form, and volume. His goal is capturing the essence of each object in such a way as to emphasize its beauty using fresh and unusual methods.

zachary goulko photography

Zachary Goulko Photographer 

Zachary works in its modernly equipped studio in New York, cooperating with world-famous brands such as L'Oréal, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Frederic Fekkai, Patek Phillipe, and others. Thanks to his experience in design and interactive programming, he constantly opens up new ways to express his artistic vision by expanding makeup product photography prop styling as well as other directions of photo business.

Rich Begany

One of the most popular and famous people in the field of makeup product photography is Rich Begany. Cooperating with such giants in the cosmetic industry as Sephora and MAC Cosmetics,  Rich creates incredible pictures of products, putting in them all his imagination, skill and sense of style. His studio in Manhattan is equipped with a wide variety of tools allowing him to show the best quality of the goods.

rich begany photography

Rich Begany Photographer

David Butler

David Butler's specialty is to create images of luxury products of high class and also other varieties of still life pictures, including red makeup product photography. He provides his services to the world's leading brands and companies. Making his creative ideas and decisions a reality, David creates unique images of products that certainly attract potential customers.

david butler photography

David Butler Photographer

Jesca Cluff

Jesca Cluff is one of the most famous cosmetic photographers in Los Angeles. The best cosmetic brands seek her services to get wonderful and extraordinary photos of their products. Among Jesca’s clients are Jamberry Nails, Aveda, Younique Cosmetics.

jesca cluff photography

Jesca Cluff Photographer

Use these tips and ideas in order to learn the best experience of the most famous photographers and create your own brand of makeup product photography.

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