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I am a permanent make up artist. My work is good but I can’t take good photos of it. I use a ring light and iPhone.

The result has no much details always orange or red tones I see international artists post their work like this .. how can I do the same?
Do I need a camera instead of phone camera?
Do I need more light in my room?
Do I need to send my photos to a retoucher?

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  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I've done your model the small favour of turning her the right way up. That's already a slight improvement ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


You could possibly get away with a phone & ringlight to get something basic. A solitary ringlight isn't going to be quite the same as a full studio setup, but it can at least provide a broad light that works well for this type of shot. In fact, I'd go so far as to say your lighting isn't really the issue at all in your photo. It's basic but it's fine for the task. Could have been placed slightly better, your model is looking slightly up toward it, but it's still too high. Try to emulate how the catchlight [the reflection of the light in the eyes] is done in your first example.

What you have to bear in mind that the model in the first picture probably had whatever treatment they're selling done at least the day before, then spent an hour or two in make-up before the photo session.

They weren't just snapped right after, laid down with the blood rushing to their head, redness around the treatment area & a gentle sheen of perspiration.
Your model in the second photo didn't have a chance.
Putting them against a better background, &/or using the 'cheat' Portrait mode phones have these days to artificially blur the background & even up the lighting for you probably wouldn't hurt either.
if you have one of the iPhones from the 'posh' end of the line-up with multiple lenses, use the longer lens, which will force you to stand further back. That will lessen that selfie effect of 'big nose, little ears' that a wide lens will give you. If you have only a single lens, then you could try standing further back, which will give exactly the same end result, but you'll have to crop your image to properly see it in the same way, which might make it too pixellated. You'd have to strike a balance.


A dedicated point and shoot camera with optical zoom will take better portraits and allow better framing and composition than the rather wide angle lens on most phones.

When using a ring light, keep the room dark to erase the background, ensure correctable color, and avoid shadows.

I'm not sure what a retoucher does, but there's a lot you can tweak in post that make the bottom shot look more like the top shot:

cropped and adjusted (no retouching) using PS

Steps include:

  1. crop out non-makeup stuff whilst keeping a face and killing background
  2. adjust color balance
  3. remove noise and detail in skintones (channel mixer heavy with red, median filter)
  4. saturate colors
  5. oversharpen dark areas to accentuate your work

It looks like lens-mounted macro flash unit, something like this.

Combined with other illumination techniques you can play with the shadows to be sharp or smooth as intended.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I doubt anyone would use the tiny ring of a macro flash for portraiture. They kind of demand very different focus distances. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetsujin Lots of photographers use macro rings for portraiture, especially for closeup work where only a portion of the face is desired. Considering how round it is, I'd be surprised if the light in the first image isn't a macro ring. At the very least the camera is shooting through the middle of the ring. The further off-axis a circular light is, the more elliptical the reflection will be. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 5:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd have expected something more like this - amazon.co.uk/… - of which there are a million on amazon/ebay etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 7:54

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