I am working on a tutorial demonstrating my makeup routine for pole photo shoots, but in the mean time here are some of the handy tips I have picked up along the way. These aren’t just relevant for pole shoots, they work for any kind of photo shoot!

  • Tip: Use products without SPF

When preparing your skin for your makeup it is essential to use a moisturiser to ensure that your makeup goes on smoothly. However, ensure that the moisturiser you use does not have any SPF protection in it. This is because these moisturisers are made with reflective properties to deflect sun rays. This also means that they will reflect back the flash of your photographer’s camera, which can lead you to look ghostly and flat. If they are not using flash photography then SPF products are not an issue, but the majority of indoor shoots will use this type of lighting. Check your products are SPF free before applying them.

  • Tip: Use primer

I know every makeup guru and their dog now proclaims the benefits of using primer, but they do have a point. When it comes to pole shoots you are usually spending 30-60 minutes under hot lights, to add to this you will be holding challenging pole poses for long periods in order to get the perfect shot. This is no easy feat and you will definitely be getting a sweat on! Ensure your makeup stays in place by prepping your skin with a good primer.

  • Tip: Apply your makeup in natural light

I always apply my makeup in natural light where possible. It ensures that you blend properly, that your makeup is not patchy, and you can see exactly how it looks. Of course, your makeup will look slightly different under photography lights, so make sure you quickly ask your photographer to check how it looks on their camera screen at the very beginning of your shoot just in case.

  • Tip: Use matte eye shadow and powder

Shimmery eye shadow and face powder is great during the day, and can give you a lovely and pretty finish. However, you may wish to avoid wearing anything with too much sparkle for your photo shoot. For the same reason as the SPF, this is simply to prevent your makeup from interfering with the photographer’s lights, and make sure they do not ‘bounce’ off your face in an unflattering way.

If you wish to go for a more ethereal or glamorous look, then do feel free to incorporate glitter into your makeup look, though for your first shoot I would suggest sticking to matte because you know they are guaranteed to work and look good.

  • Tip: Ensure your makeup is exaggerated 

Again, another issue related to the lighting and flash used by photographers. The lights tend to lighten your face, so it is important to exaggerate your makeup. The main areas to focus on include your contour and blush to shape your face, eyebrows to frame your face, and eye makeup to draw the focus to your pretty peepers. You photo shoot makeup is NOT the makeup you would wear on the street or even a night out (depending on what look you rock on a night out of course). On a scale between #Iwokeuplikethis and ‘I’ve just finished watching Rupaul’s Drag Race and must now become a Drag Queen’, you definitely need to be the heavier end, in order for the camera to capture all of your features.

If you want to go for a very ‘natural’ look, you still need to wear quite heavy makeup. For example, make sure you always wear lip liner and lipstick, otherwise your lips can look very small as they will not be captured as well by the camera. For a very pretty look I have worn a very sheer red lip before which looks really nice (can be seen in the photo at the bottom of this post).

Fill in your eyebrows using a pencil, powder or wax. Ensure your eyes are at least lined, and if you can, wear a pair of false eyelashes, it makes such a difference. There are lots of styles of falsies, so even if you do not want an over-the-top look you can get pairs that are very subtle and just add enough volume and length to show up in photographs.

When it comes to foundation and concealer, you can apply makeup with a higher coverage than you would usually wear to ensure that no imperfections are visible during the shoot.

I contour my face around the jaw line, cheek bones and forehead. This makes sure your face does not get flattened or washed out, and gives it dimensions. On top of that I use a matte bronzing powder, and blusher, applied more heavily to give my face colour.

  • BONUS TIP: Do your nails!

When you prepare for your photo shoot don’t forget to do your nails! Even if you just file them and paint them a neutral tone that is enough to prevent ragged or chipped nails from ruining your pole photos. If your nails are dirty, chipped or messy it can mean you have to wait longer to get your finished images as your photographer will need to spend more time editing your photos.

Why not match your nails to your outfit? Red is perfect for a retro pin up look for example. If you are having multiple outfit changes make sure your nail colour doesn’t clash with any of the costumes you have planned.


These tips should help ensure that your photo shoot goes well and your makeup looks perfect! Have you got any top makeup tips for photo shoots? Let me know in the comments!


Remember: You don’t HAVE to wear any makeup in your photo shoot if you don’t want to! Some styles of photos put less emphasis on your face also, in which case makeup may not be necessary.

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  1. […] In my shoots I usually do my own hair and makeup, and lots of practice over the years has definitely made this easier. However, there are some simple tips that everyone can apply. I wrote a blog a few years ago about this, which you can check out here. […]

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