Makeup For Portrait Photography | Q&A With Hair & Makeup Artist Crystal Wei


Here to give us a few tips & tricks on how to prep your skin & do your makeup to look your best for a photoshoot is one of my amazing clients, professional makeup artist Crystal Wei! we had so much fun together on our shoot in beautiful Santa Barbara - I so enjoyed working with her to create some personal branding images for her website & social media. I am so happy she agreed to share her expertise with us in this blog post! 


Hi, crystal! Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down & answer some questions for us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself & how you became a makeup artist? 

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been so intrigued by the power of makeup. I started out really focusing on Eastern style of makeup, but once I started to do makeup professionally, I ended up really diving into the Western style and way of doing makeup. Eastern makeup tends to be light and natural which enhances more facial features, while Western makeup makes a person's face appear more sculpted and is more transformative. 

As I was taking some GE courses, one of my co-workers had suggested that I take a makeup artistry certification course at the junior college. 

As I had taken this course for fun and simply out of curiosity, this is where everything started!  I had received my makeup artistry discount - then used it to start buying and testing out every product imaginable!

My best friend asked me to do a photoshoot with her, she would do hair and have me do makeup on the model. She then encouraged me towards doing makeup at a wedding with her, which I completely fell in love with!

It was just my best friend and I just chatting it up and enjoying the drive to Malibu, & we ended up at the most beautiful venue! My first two clients at this wedding were two members of the wedding party - a 16 year old girl and a 60 year old woman! They were so happy with the outcome, which made me feel a way I've never felt before! 

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Obviously, proper lighting makes all the difference in a portrait. soft, even natural light is always the most forgiving! Do you change anything in your makeup application if you know your model is going to be under flash or harsh artificial lights? 

From what I’ve noticed, lighting absolutely does change the way that makeup turns out. When photographers add brightness when editing for the light and airy feel, it doesn’t tend to translate the same way that it does in person. The way I see it, the more soft the lighting is, the more makeup one can put on. 

If I’m correct, the dark moody vibe is created by accentuating the shadows in post-production. Yes, I prefer to see the makeup still in these kinds of photos - but the shadows can trick the eye into thinking there’s more. 


What are some of the biggest or most common mistakes you see people make when they’re applying makeup for a photo or video shoot? 

One mistake I have seen is when the client's ears are showing in video or photos, and they just happen to have quite red ears - Makeup should cover it! 

In videography and photography, I think it’s smart to have them more matte than dewy - unless that’s the look you’re going for! 


What are a few products (skincare &/or makeup) that are your trusted go-tos when prepping someone to look flawless

 Skin care is the foundation to everything! Before going on camera, I highly suggest people to exfoliate then use a hydrating mask. Bring chapstick! Hydration is key. 

My absolute favorite for prepping makeup would have to be the Aqua Bomb by Belif (Korean skin care line). 

For touch-ups throughout the day and to eliminate shine - MAC Oil Blot Pressed Powder has got to be one of my favorites. I’ve tried so many kinds, but have stuck to this one! It literally just takes off shine without adding on to the makeup application. 


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We can’t forget the boys - is there anything special you’d recommend to men who of course want to look their best on camera, but may not necessarily be wanting or needing to wear a full face of makeup? 

 Men can wear light concealer if they do not want a full face. I tend to do airbrush for my male corporate headshots - they love it! 

If they would like to fill in some hairs, the NYX micro-brow pencils are great! 

And lastly, I use the Skin Refinement by MAC to take away any shine as well. Because they typically do not have too much makeup on, I will use a very small amount of product to press into the shine zones. I love this product so much because it is a gel finish that is mattifying. It also help protect against blemishes. 


need professional makeup for an upcoming photoshoot, wedding, or other event? click the button below to contact crystal - she's the best!


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MEET miranda

Hello! I’m a Portrait, Headshot, & Personal Branding Photographer based in Bend, Oregon.