Picture Day Makeup: The Secrets to Look Perfect in Pictures

Read all about some photo shoot makeup tips, picture day outfit ideas and hairstyles to help nail your picture day makeup!


Hey there! Images are the perfect way to capture and cherish memories. And school pictures may be one of the most special kinds. No matter where and when you’re getting your pic taken, our picture day tips will make sure you can look back decades from now at your photos and say ‘Damn, I looked good!’. That’s why we created a go-to guide with picture day tips. So keep reading to know all about the best picture day makeup looks, hairstyles, poses and outfits!

Picture Day Makeup and Hair

Hair and makeup are the two most important things when it comes to taking pics. ‘Cause real life face can look so different when clicked!

Picture Day Makeup


The first thing to consider is what makeup look you wanna go for. Remember, it should be something that you can look back from ten years down the line and still think it’s cool. No one likes regrets! So whether you decide to go bold, glam or natural, make sure it’s something you’ll always love to look back on and show everyone else! Avoid bold trends and choose a timeless look.

And no matter what picture day makeup look you choose, your goal should be to focus on your skin. It can easily look flushed out and pale or too bright in photos. And if your skin looks like a hot mess in the photo, it might just about ruin everything else. Also, what you see in person is never the same as what you see in photos. If you wanna be too careful, take a couple of selfies of your makeup for picture day under different types of lighting beforehand. So you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

A no makeup makeup or basic makeup are also good ideas to try. Either way, the best way is to spend your maximum time prepping and spot concealing the face so it looks as natural as possible, instead of using too much foundation and end up looking like a cakey plastic face.

Foundation Makeup Tips for Photos

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Make sure you start by using a moisturizer or primer. This will help keep your face hydrated and your picture day makeup in place for much longer. Use under-eye concealer with spot concealer, if needed. Keep it minimal. If you’re oily-skinned, definitely go for a matte foundation and remember to set it well with powder. And for anyone with dry skin, I’d recommend a liquid foundation with a dewy finish. Make sure that your foundation doesn’t look streaky or cakey by taking a few selfies.

Picture days can take forever and you never know when your turn may be so do carry a compact or setting powder with which you so you can touch up whenever needed. Be sure to extend your foundation to the neck as well so it all matches. Avoid choosing a color much lighter than your skin tone as the camera flash may brighten it up more, making you a vampire!

Contour & Highlight for School Pictures

Contouring generally makes a person looks much older than they are as it defines the facial features. Having said that, a little contouring is a definite must for picture day makeup ’cause without it, your face will look flat. Contour in such a way that it adds depth to your face but without changing your face structure. The sides of your nose, jawbone and hollows of your cheeks are ideal places to contour. Keep it light and build it up as needed instead of starting too dark.

Also read: Where to Contour: How to Contour & Highlight for Different Face Shapes

As for highlight, it makes the face look younger, glowy and healthier. The secret to the perfect, natural looking highlight is to choose a color that’s quite close to your skin tone. This will give your picture day makeup the definition but without that bright, prominent oily look.

Eye Makeup for Photos on Picture Day


The eye makeup you opt for should depend on your eye shape. Those with deep set eyes, should go for light colored eye shadows or they may look like they have small, shadowed eyes. And if your eyes are downturned, open them up with a small winged eyeliner. And for the other eye types, just use any light or bright (if you’re feeling adventurous) eyeshadow, line the outer ends of both the upper and lower lash line and highlight your inner corners. This will open up your eyes and make them look big and bright in school pictures!

Also read: Makeup for Downturned Eyes: Eyeliner Steps, Eyeshadow Tips & More

Avoid falsies even if you’re a lover of long, voluminous eyelashes. They may cast shadows on your face and ruin your photo. Instead, double coat or triple coat your lashes with mascara and you’ll be good to go. Or you could even try a couple of individual fake eyelashes that aren’t too long.

For the eyebrows, do not draw them in and make them look too defined or dramatic. It takes away the youthfulness from the face and can also look very stark and unnatural in school pictures. So just slightly fill in the gaps with a brow powder and brush them out with a spoolie.

Lip Makeup for Photos

As always, keeping it natural is the best answer for how to look good in pictures. So, don’t overline your lips, don’t plump them, etc. Try lip colors that either match your outfit or atleast go with it. The last thing you want is a bold red lip with a bright yellow shirt and blue backdrop. I also highly recommend matte lipsticks or liquid lipsticks. They’d stay put all day and you won’t need to retouch them at all. But make sure to moisturize your lips first ’cause chapped lips are never a good look.

Picture Day Hair


If you’re clueless about how to do your hair for picture day at school, keep reading.  There may be tons of different ways to do your hair for picture day but the easiest and best option is to embrace your natural hair and leave it as it is. Whether you’ve got sleek straight hair, a big afro or wild curls, just rock it naturally! Create memories as real and raw as possible!

Also, don’t experiment with new haircuts, colors or products on the day of the photo shoot. Stick to what you already know and love. And if, god forbid, you’re having a bad hair day on the day of your school pictures, just throw your hair into a bun or ponytail or just sweep it all back with a hairband.

What to Wear for Picture Day

Putting together school picture day outfits can be quite tricky but with some research, you can have the best school picture ever taken. Find out what the background color is gonna be for the picture day from your school authorities. If that’s not possible, look up the school pictures from previous years and it might be the same every year.

As for what color to choose, you know what complements your skin tone and hair color the best. In my opinion, white is the best color to wear for school pictures because it would look great against any background other than white. And do avoid bold prints and loud colors, they’d take away from your face entirely. You could also carry a backup top or shirt so you can change into it if required. Button-up shirts are ideal as they won’t mess up your picture day makeup or hair when you’re getting changed.

Picture Poses

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If you’re wondering how to look good in pictures, this is it. Some photographers may tell you what to do and how to pose. But if they don’t, your best bet is to keep your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. And always make sure to smile and look happy. Some people look best when they smile with their mouth closed and some look better with a toothy smile.

So practice it in front of a mirror or ask someone to take pictures so you’ll know what works best for you. You should also ask the photographer to give you a signal for when he’s gonna take a snap so you’ll be ready and not blink by mistake.

So that was all about picture day makeup, how to look good in pictures and what to wear for school pictures! Tell us your thoughts by tweeting @shilpa1ahuja!

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