I don't normally do studio work, but I am about to do a photo-shoot in front of a green-screen for an amateur stop-motion video.

We don't have the budget for a professional make-up artist. This isn't a fashion shoot or a wedding, so it isn't about the models looking absolutely gorgeous. There's won't be many (any?) close-ups on faces. And it is destined to be a video, so the resolution is going to be low.

So, make-up is going to be done by amateurs. Most of the men will probably just get a bit of a powder, and most of the women will be doing it themselves.

So my questions are:

  • How important is make-up under studio lights? Will it make the subjects look particularly awful? Can the men get by without? (We are using amateur volunteers, and I don't want them to balk.)

  • Is there any tips you can give to help people applying make-up? e.g. do they need to apply a lighter foundation than normal for it to look natural? (Totally invented example - I am out of my depth here.)


1 Answer 1


I don't have any experience of this, but I do have experience of amateur theatre. Stage lighting is much less bright than photographic lighting, but even it tends to make people look washed out. It's almost universal that a stage actor will need to apply makeup - even the men!

Theatre audiences are much further away from the actors than the camera will be (even if you're not shooting close-ups) so you probably don't want the exaggerated makeup that actors will wear. But you probably do want some foundation, some eye-liner and some lip gloss. It's more likely that a slightly darker shade of foundation would be better. No advice on how much to use except to try it out on a willing volunteer.

Thinking about this some more, professional portrait photographers rarely ask their subjects (other than professional models) to wear makeup, and still produce pretty good pictures. I suspect that better control over lighting than is possible on the stage allows this.


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