A make-up artist’s guide to ensuring you never look bad in a photograph again

Woman & Home's Beauty Director Rosie Green shares her insights...

During my 20-year career in magazines I have worked with raving beauties – the world’s top models and movie stars.

It’s their job to be flawless from every angle. But even they work it. Know their best side, how to stand so their waist looks smaller, their eyes look wider, their legs longer.

For most of us, looking good in a photo is less about professional need, more about wanting to feel content, not crestfallen when we see ourselves on someone else’s feed or mantelpiece.

I’m here to help. Though I am often photographed for magazines and newspapers (and occasionally, cringingly, post a selfie on Instagram), I don’t have a model face. In fact I have a broken nose, bumpy jawline and small eyes (the list is long). So I have used what I’ve gleaned from the pros (the models, the Insta stars, the photographers and the make-up artists) to look good on film.

Make-up artist Lee Pycroft on the best make-up for pictures

Under eyes

The reverse racoon look (hello Mr Trump) happens if you’re under eye concealer is too pale. People use Touche Éclat by YSL to cover darkness, but it’s really more of a highlighter, so you can end up with this effect. For darkness you need something denser that delivers coverage. I like IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer, £23.50.


I would focus on defining the lash line with a pencil, rather than loading on eye shadow. That definition looks great on film.


For photos I really like using a few individual lashes on the outer corner of the eyes, I think it creates a nice shape and flattering definition. I like Eyelure Fleur De Force Couture Fleur Individual Lashes, £6.95. Then add more mascara than usual on the outer corner. Finally use your fingers to push back the lashes.


Be wary of a too shimmery blush or bronzer – in a photo they can look harsh or fake. I like Nars Blush in Orgasm, £24.


I think anything too glossy looks overdone. Go for satin or matte textures as they work to brighten and balance the face and make lips look full and healthy. I like Bobbi Brown Semi Matte Lip Colour in Blush, £24.50. Just press it on with your finger. If you feel you need definition go for a super natural lip liner. I like Studio 10 Age Reverse Perfecting Lip Liner, £22.


It’s essential that they’re defined and well groomed. I like to use Collection Fast Brow Tinted Brow gel, £4.99, then fill them with Kat Von D Signature Brow Precision Pencil, £17.

Tips for posing for a photo – without it looking too staged or fake

  • Don’t smile widely unless you are Julia Roberts If you look at the pros they perfect the half-smile. A massive grin distorts the face.

  • Chin down, eyes up (think Princess Diana) makes a big nose look smaller.

  • Give your body some tension. It makes you look sleeker, more defined.

  • Keep shoulders down – it elongates your neck.

  • Disguise a not-so-firm jaw with a hand under the chin or face-framing hair.

  • Hold your arms away from your body to make them look slimmer.

  • In a group shot turn slightly sideways and avoid being at the end – you always end up looking like an Oompa-Loompa.

  • Leave pouting to the under twenties – a natural smile is best.

Make-up that acts like the most-flattering Instagram filter

Barely there: Guerlain Météorites Baby Glow, £37.50.

Medium coverage: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, £30.

High coverage: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Foundation, £35.

Sheer Powder: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder, £42.

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