Make up for photography

Makeup Art is all around you and part of many industries. Without the valuable work of Make-up Artists a lot of industries could not really exist.

You look at the work of Make-up Artists many times a day: passing bill boards, wandering through department stores and watching make-up demonstrations, seeing a fashion parade, being a guest at a wedding and admiring the beautyful bridal make-up, visiting the Beauty Expo and observing make-up competitions, looking at the latest CD cover, watching MTV or the Logies, enjoying going to the movies, watching your favourite television program.
You may also have experienced being done up by a professional make-up artist at a Glamour Photography Studio.
And those special treats like visiting high class life performances; the opera, the theatre, the ballet or simply  looking at make-up and beauty books or relaxing with a magazine.

So how does make up for photography differ from normal make up you'd wear out?

The main difference is the thickness and intensity of colour and coverage.  What looks fabulous on print would look over done in real life.  Best rule to think of is enhance what you've got and hide what you don't like.

If you have a largish nose, by adding contouring it will look smaller, straighter and less noticeable, however if you add contouring to your day make up you'll just look like you've got dark smudges on your face.  A great photographer will be able to light you in a way that flatters your features and if need be retouching can be done post shoot.  If you are applying your own makeup for a photography session have a look at your foundation and powder.  If it contains large amounts of Titanium Dioxide then the flash will reflect and you'll end up with a white face.  Try to use products created for photography.

Learning how to apply makeup for photos, especially black and white, and how to work with lighting.

When you are doing makeup for black and white photography, think in terms of shades of white, grey and black – it takes a little time to get used to working in a medium that doesn’t require “color co-ordination”! I find that if I squint my eyes almost shut, that it allows you to perceive tonal values better and colours are not as distracting, so you will get a better idea of the intensity of your “ colours” (rather than their specific hue) and see if your contouring is appropriate for the look you are going for.
Use your darker colours for contouring – shadowing effects are created by strategic placement of lights, so your shading and highlighting will be applied accordingly.
B + W photography does not tolerate obvious effects, so blending is your best asset here
* You will still have to do your usual corrective work (under eye bags, blemishes, etc) – corrective work is about creating a harmonious balance between the models skin (or your own if you are modelling and doing makeup on yourself) and subtle contouring – so blend, blend, blend!!!
* If stronger effects are required for a more dramatic look, then it is really important that no hard lines or harsh edges are visible. Your aim is to alter or improve the appearance of you / your model.
* You may have to add intensity to eye makeup to balance the contouring and highlighting.
* Remember, that reds will photograph as dark, so works effectively as a contour, but if you / your model is used to wearing red lippie, you may have to lighten the shade for a softer lip color.
* Try to keep in mind that streaky or blotchy patches in foundation application will be very noticeable, so make sure you apply foundation smoothly and evenly. Unless you / your model are blessed with perfect skin, then a heavier base (more like a two-way cake or pancake) is suitable.
As with all makeup, it is about creating illusions, working with each face as a new canvas and utilising the medium of black and white to its fullest by making the most of its variety of values!
I always like to see a polaroid once the shot is set up, that way you can gauge how the lighting is working with your makeup, and see if you need to make any alterations to get the best shot. Lighting varies so much, depending on the photographers vision of the end result, and black and white is a great way to experiment with lighting and makeup techniques – just remember that the harsher the lighting, the less forgiving the medium is on any flaws / mistakes – uneven lines, streaky foundation, careless blending, and inappropriate product selection.

It takes a bit of practice to perfect the black and white makeup, but it is such a beautiful medium to work in because it really emphasises the subtleties of light and shade!!


Why use a Professional photographer?

As the number of digital photographers continues to increase, it seems there are a lot of misunderstandings as to what a photographer can do for you.

Hiring a Photographer

Ultimately for many, the choice of whether or not to hire a photographer comes to down price. If they do choose to hire one, they must evaluate the great photos in their online portfolios and decide who they can afford.  Since this is the type of thing that is rarely stated, I feel it is time to set the record straight.

A popular reason for many calls and emails received by photographers is to inquire about basic head shots, event photographers, model portfolio photo shoots and their respective prices. The truth is that the range of photography prices is highly variable and depends on many factors such as location (in studio versus traveling to a location) and length of time needed for a particular session.

Pricing can be as low as $50 up to $500 or higher for a portrait session alone. In my opinion, any photographer selling their services for $50 probably isn’t much of a professional, although that’s not to say that the job cannot be done properly. Still, many people are absolutely amazed at the fees associated with photography so let me explain what is involved in the process.

First of all, a professional photographer is not your boyfriend grabbing a point-and-click camera on the fly.

Second, a photographer’s time and experience are valuable.  You’re not simply going to someone’s place of business and asking him/her to “just take a few pictures.” It does not work that way. Even if you only need one shot, it will take time to find the best angle, prepare the lighting, and possibly choose the correct outfit for that one memorable photo. A photographer will give you advice on what to wear, make-up, and so on. They have done this before and guide you as needed. That’s why professional photos look professional.

Third, I assure you that professional photography equipment costs a lot more than your best friend’s camera. A high quality camera, specialised lenses, memory cards, digital software, tripods, umbrellas and lighting, and colourful background are professional-grade and are quite expensive. You benefit from the latest professional technology being used in the photographs, and used properly at that.

Next, the time it takes to produce your one headshot is more than the actual sitting session. It involves setting up the equipment in advance, blocking off time for the photo shoot itself, uploading the photos and going through them after the shoot, digital touch-ups to the photos chosen for printing, burning the photos onto CDs, bringing them to the photo lab, returning to the photo lab the next day to pick them up and then waiting for you to pick up your prints or mailing them to you. You may have lots of time on your hands but you should always be aware that photographers are busy running a business.

I think most would agree that that is a lot of work for a small fee, hence the great value you get from working with professional photographers. Moreover, I assure you that one of the biggest pet peeves of all photographers is people who do not show up for the photos and are too inconsiderate to call and let the photographer know that they cannot make it. Photographers don’t get paid in those circumstances (unless a small booking deposit was requested) but still took time to set up the shoot and possibly turned someone else down during that period of time because it was pre-booked.

Finally, a professional photographer does this for a living. If it were that simple, many photographers would not count on gigs to be their livelihood. Again, this is not your father lending you his camera to take a few photos. Photographers take pictures for a living and you must understand that when making inquiries about pricing.

Now that you have the low down on all that goes on behind the scenes please feel free to contact us for a quote for your next photographic needs.







By Bonnie Caton

When I decided to try my hand at stock photography, I was intimidated to get started. Now I contribute to five different online agencies and I’m having a lot of fun with it.

There are a lot of similarities among agencies, but each one has a different pricing model and royalty structure. Here’s a peek into how my sales have been going and the royalty structure at my favorite three agencies:

** 1. is my number one agency for downloads and income. With only 33 photos on the site, I’ve had 574 downloads for a total of $208 in income.

Shutterstock is one of the hardest agencies to get accepted into, and the pay per download is relatively small. It has very strict criteria for its images, too... my acceptance rate is just over 50% which means half of the photos I submit there are rejected.

BUT the great thing about Shutterstock is that as soon as I got accepted, I started making money. And the sales roll in consistently every week. A number of other stock photographers I know have reported the same thing.

All contributors at Shutterstock get paid on the same royalty schedule. Your royalties get bigger and bigger based on your lifetime sales at the site. You start off at $0.25 per download until you earn your first $500. Once you hit $500, you earn $0.33 per download. Between $3,000 and $10,000 in royalties earns you $0.36 per download. And over $10,000 in image sales earns you $0.38 per download. The more you sell, the higher you earn.

There are a number of other ways you can earn royalties at Shutterstock, too, but that’s a story for another newsletter.

** 2. is my number two agency for income, though the money per image is better than at Shutterstock. With a portfolio of 60 images at iStock, I’ve had 103 downloads, and made $119.

At iStock, I average over $1 per image sale, whereas at Shutterstock, I average about 36 cents.

iStock has two royalty plans -- one for exclusive photographers and one for non-exclusives. Exclusive photographers are those who have agreed to exclusively sell their royalty-free licensed images through iStock. Non-exclusive photographers are like me. I sell my images through multiple sites.

Non-exclusive photographers earn 15% to 20% royalties on the credits used to buy their photo, depending on how many downloads they had in the previous year. Either way, the larger the photo a buyer purchases from your portfolio, the more money you make.

Royalties for non-exclusives range from $0.19 for an extra small (XSmall) photo to $8.10 for a triple extra large photo (XXXLarge).

Exclusive photographers earn 25% to 45% royalties on their photo sales. Their photos are also priced higher than those from non-exclusive photographers, so royalties earned can range from $0.81 for an extra small (XSmall) sale to $36.45 for a triple extra large (XXXLarge) sale.

Exclusive photographers can also choose to include their photos in higher-priced collections on, such as “Exclusive Plus” and “Vetta Collection.” Because of the higher prices in these collections, the royalties earned per sale can be significant. is my fourth-best earning agency, but it’s one of my top three favorites because of its unusual royalty structure (below). With a portfolio of 57 images, I’ve had 32 downloads, earning me $22.24.

The royalty structure at Dreamstime is pretty unique. Each image accepted into the Dreamstime catalog increases in price as it becomes more popular. Here's how it works: Once an image sells at Dreamstime, it is assigned to Level One. After it's been downloaded five times, it moves up to Level Two. The price increases, and so do your royalties. Level Three starts at 10 downloads, Level Four starts at 25 downloads, and any image with more than 50 downloads is a Level Five.

In addition to the tiered pricing and royalty model, Dreamstime also offers two types of exclusivity. First, if you're accepted as an exclusive photographer, you will earn a 60% royalty on all your sales regardless of the level of the image sold. This is reported to be the highest royalty paid by an online stock photo agency.

As an exclusive photographer, you’re also paid $0.20 per image the instant your photo is accepted. That means you make your first 20 cents before your photo even sells.

The second type of exclusivity Dreamstime offers is by image. Exclusive images earn royalties from 33% to 55% based upon the level of the image when it is sold. I’m not exclusive with Dreamstime because I sell to other agencies, so my royalties range from 30% to 50% based upon the level of the image sold.

** Other agencies - I also submit to and I started with these agencies, as well as with Dreamstime, because they were easier for me to get accepted into than iStock and Shutterstock. However, I make significantly less at all three of these agencies than I do at iStock and Shutterstock. Here are my stats for and

Photos in my portfolio - 56
Photo acceptance rate - 56%
Downloads - 37
Income - $29.45

Photos in my portfolio - 71
Photo acceptance rate - 77%
Downloads - 10
Income - $16

As you can see, has the highest acceptance rate for me, and it’s my largest portfolio, with 71 images. If you’re looking to start out with an agency that’s easier to get into, I’d suggest starting with,, and, then once you get the hang of it, move to iStock and Shutterstock.

Personally, I don’t want to be an exclusive contributor to any of these agencies right now. If I only submitted to one agency, I would make more per download, but still significantly less than I’ve made with the income from iStock and Shutterstock combined.

Whether you decide to go exclusive or play the field, the most important piece of advice I’ve got is keep it up. Keep shooting, and keep uploading. The sales will follow.


How to use aperture to change your photos

Before we talk about how to change the look of your images using different settings, first we should enlighten you on what the aperture settings and f-stops mean.  If you were to devise a system that was intended to be confusing, you’d have a hard time coming up with anything more confusing than photographic aperture. I’ve so often seen people glaze over within five seconds of the start of an explanation, their minds a whole galaxy away – anywhere, so long as it’s not here listening to f/stops, depth of field and so forth. But when you split it up, it’s pretty easy.


So, what is aperture?

The basic idea is that light reaches your camera’s sensor (or film) through a hole.

With pinhole cameras, it’s literally that: a hole in a light-tight box projects an image on the inside. With cameras, we put some glass around the hole to make the image sharper. But essentially, it’s still a hole. History would have been different if photographers talked about ‘hole numbers’ or adjusting the size of their ‘lens hole’ but somehow that did not sound cool – even in the 1870s.

The bigger a hole, the more can go through it.  It’s the same with lens aperture: the larger the aperture, the more light gets through to the sensor. Obviously this affects the exposure of your image.

So photographic aperture is the hole in the camera lens which lets light in.

Aperture and depth of field

So much for aperture and exposure. What complicates the whole subject further is that aperture affects two quite different things independently. Just as shutter setting contributes to exposure but also influences motion blur, aperture setting contributes to exposure but also influences something else altogether.

Aperture is one of the factors controlling depth of field. In fact aperture is the single most powerful and easiest way to control depth of field.

Maximize your Depth of Field

While there may be times that you want to get a little more creative and experiment with narrow depth of fields in your Landscape Photography – the normal approach is to ensure that as much of your scene is in focus as possible. The simplest way to do this is to choose a small Aperture setting (a large number) as the smaller your aperture the greater the depth of field in your shots.  Due to the smaller amount of light coming through you'll need to expose it for longer.

Do keep in mind that smaller apertures mean less light is hitting your image sensor at any point in time so they will mean you need to compensate either by increasing your ISO or lengthening your shutter speed (or both).    Depth of field increases with distance. The farther you place the camera from your subject, the more depth of field you can obtain. Landscapes have great depth of field, while macro photographs tend to have very little depth of field because the subject is so close to the lens.

The general rule of thumb for selecting the right aperture for a desired depth of field is: give the same object distance and the image size, the bigger lens opening (aperture) used (like f/2.8, f/2, f/1.4 etc.) will have a narrower band of depth of field - meaning critical focusing will be required in this kind of situation because when you use a large aperture (in particularly when focuses at a near to the subject), the zone of sharpness (DOF) can be very limiting; while on the other hand, if extended depth of field is required, you can just choose a smaller lens opening like f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 to make the plane of sharpness is extended, so everything will be in sharper focus.
Typical lens with range of f-stops