Makeup Product Photography Tips for Beginners

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

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

Makeup Product Photography Tips & Ideas

People like stylish images with a special taste, and if your brand lacks eye-catching photos, the chances that a customer will pay attention to it are relatively low. I have made the list of ten effective makeup photography tips to upgrade your business.

1. Plan the Shooting

plan make up photography shooting

As with any type of product photography, you should think over the whole photo session in advance, since everything is literally in your hands. 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. Backdrops, lighting, additional accessories, proper angles, ideas – there is much to take care of. 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.

2. Learn the Brand Peculiarities

makeup product photography brand peculiarities

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.

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.

3. Choose the Color Gamut

makeup product photography color gamut

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, white and red 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.

4. Decide on the Type of Lighting

makeup product photography studio lightning

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. Once you know what you will photograph, you must choose the type of photo you would like to get – a studio shot or a phot with natural light.

Most makeup product photos are taken in studio lighting, so you have more options. Create a beautiful reflection, play with shadows, change the background, arrange the props, etc. Fortunately, all elements of the scene will be under your control.

First of all, you can prepare a DIY lightbox with a box and a few lamps; later, you can invest in a professional lightbox for product photography.

makeup product photography natural light

As for images with natural light, photographers usually take them near a window using reflectors, you can even use paper or make a reflector by yourself. You can also use fluorescent lights to illuminate areas that are too dark.

5. Use Different Props

makeup product photography different props

Makeup product photography props are of a tremendous importance as they help show how the product can be used, accentuate its key features. 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.

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.

6. Choose a Perfect Background

makeup product photography perfect background

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.

7. Follow One Style

makeup product photography in one style

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, 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.

8. Try Unusual Angles

unusual angles in makeup product photography

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.

Try 360 product photography to show an object from all angles. Sellers rarely use this type of photo, but actually, these are winning images as customers love the creative presentation of products.

9. Take a Photo While Using a Product

makeup product photography with model

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.

context makeup product 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. Try to Take a Motion Shot

makeup product photography in action

You have seen these shots dozens of times and they always make an awe-inspiring. The most basic shot you can take is 2 blush brushes that are touching against a black background.

Of course, you can get more creative. A drop of nail polish hanging from the tip of a brush, a bottle falling into water, water splashes on a can of micellar water, etc.

11. Don’t Forget about Post Processing

makeup photo tips post processing makeup photo tips post processing

You are only halfway through when the photo session is over. The next stage is image processing so you need to master a photo editing software for beginners. Such programs contain tools for correcting defects, removing needless items (stands, threads, props, etc.)

If you do not want to master complex programs and need more time to take pictures, address services that specialize in photo editing and can turn your photos into masterpieces.

Famous Makeup Photography Instagram Accounts

If you have just started to take product photos, you should check pages of renowned 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.

Maybelline New York

maybelline new york makeup product photography

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.


maccosmetics makeup product photography

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!

All pictures are very stylish, riveting and eye-catching. They combine all possible types of makeup product photos – images with white and colored backgrounds, with models, in action, macro shots, lifestyle photos, etc.


lush makeup product photography

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".


eos makeup product photography

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. Each photo on the page has mesmerizing mixes of colors. Basically, there are pastel colors, a lot of pink and rainbow tones.

Laura Mercier

laura mercier makeup product photography

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.


garnier makeup product photography

Garnier Cosmetics is widely known. The brand account in Instagram (Garnier USA) is styled in light green 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 or guys who use makeup.

Famous Makeup Product Photographers

If you are stuck looking for good references for your future photo shoots, then you may want to take a look at the pages/websites of popular photographers in the makeup product photography genre. Many of them have already developed a recognizable style, so you can look up to these masters and come up with fresh ideas.

Nori Inoguchi

nori inoguchi makeup product photography

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.

Zachary Goulko

zachary goulko makeup product photographer

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 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

rich begany makeup product photography

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.

David Butler

david butler makeup product photography

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.

Jesca Cluff

jesca cluff makeup product photography

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.