How to Improve Skin Tone Appearance on Camera

Getting Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Put your best face forward on film with these skin tone appearance tips. See more pictures of getting beautiful skin.

You have that certain picture you're proud to display. While you hide your driver's license photo, this is the shot you keep framed on your mantle or use for your social-networking profile. You love the way you look in it, but you can't quite figure out why it's perfect.

Though cameras and lighting play a big part when it comes to your appearance in a picture, they don't entirely make or break the shot. Sometimes, pictures taken in a photographer's studio can't compare to ones you catch on the fly with your cell phone camera. What gives? The difference between a bad picture and a beautiful one may have something to do with your skin tone.


It's not just lighting and angles that affect your appearance on camera. You may have noticed before that some clothes just seem to pop when you wear them -- you look great, you feel great and you receive tons of compliments. Then, you wear the same outfit in a different color, and your skin looks paler and your makeup not quite right. It all has to do with skin tone. And if you notice a difference in the bathroom mirror, you're really going to see the effects in photographs and on video. In fact, imperfections in skin tone can be even more noticeable as a result of the camera equipment and reduction in contrasts.

Your appearance in a photograph or on video can vary considerably based on the presentation of your skin tone. It doesn't matter what kind of skin tone you have. The idea is to complement your skin tone rather than try to compete with it. To look your best on camera -- regardless of professional lighting equipment and photo-correction software -- there are numerous tricks you can employ. In this article, you'll learn how to improve your skin tone appearance for the camera.

Read on to learn how to prep your skin so you can tell Mr. DeMille you're ready for your close-up.


Skin Tone Appearance on Video

Think back to a special occasion. Maybe it was a graduation day, your wedding or the day your first child was born. You've noticed that you've got a special glow -- maybe it's from the excitement of the occasion, or maybe it's from professional videography. Regardless, you want to recapture that glow. Though much of your appearance on video and film depends on the camera and lighting, there are numerous other things you can do to improve the look of your skin tone on video.

To begin with, determine if you have a warm or cool skin tone by looking at the veins on the underside of your forearm. If they're blue, you have a cool skin tone, while green veins suggest a warm skin tone. Choose clothing based on your skin tone so that your outfit complements you instead of washing you out. Cool skin tones should stick to bright jewel tones while warm skin tones should stay with earthy yellows, greens and reds.


Once you've selected the proper color for your attire, base your makeup on the lighting. If possible, put on your makeup under the actual lighting so you can see exactly what will look good and what won't. In natural lighting, you won't need a heavy foundation, but under bright, penetrating studio lights, you'll need a thicker base and bolder colors on your lips and cheeks.

If you have no control over your wardrobe and have no idea what the lighting will be like, at the very least you can set yourself up for success by prepping your skin. One of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your skin tone on video is to control shine. Start by washing your face and using an astringent to tighten your pores. Apply a foundation that matches your skin to even it out, and layer it with a matching powder. Even if your skin isn't normally oily, the contrast of video shows shine more noticeably than in real life. In addition, if you're working with hot studio lights, you'll likely find yourself sweating and shining more often. Find a good powder, and keep it with you at all times to reapply.

With just about everyone in possession of a digital camera or a cell phone that takes pictures, you've always got to be ready to look your best. Read on to discover how to get your skin tone picture perfect.


Skin Tone Appearance in Photos

In many ways, getting your skin tone appearance perfect for photographs is even more important than in video. Today, photos are taken all the time, and unlike the moving images of videography, a viewer can sit, stare and critique any and all of the imperfections in a photograph.

Many of the rules on the previous page for looking your best on video apply here as well. Selecting the right colors for your wardrobe based on your skin tone will help it appear vibrant and bright instead of dull and washed out. Basing your makeup on the lighting is a great idea, if possible. And again, you'll want to prep your skin for success by starting with a clean, oil-free face that you've evened out with foundation.


Beyond that, you'll want to pay special attention to your makeup to improve your skin tone appearance in pictures. Look for colors that complement your skin tone. There is no one-shade-fits-all, so experiment until you find what works with your skin tone instead of competing against it.

Whether your skin tone is warm or cool, you can look perfect for the camera -- you've got all the tips now. To learn more, check out the links on the following page.


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Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Cyber College. "Makeup for Television and Film." (July 17, 2009.)
  • Gee, Miriam. "Camera Ready Makeup!" Yummy Mummy Club. (July 17, 2009.)
  • Kim, Justine. "How to Match Colors To Your Skin Tone." The Soko. (July 17, 2009.)
  • Levy, Nicci. "How To: Apply Camera-ready Makeup." Ladies Who Launch. June 16, 2008. (July 17, 2009.)
  • Soderquist, Gerti. "Wedding Makeup - Making Sure Your Makeup is Camera Ready!" Beauty Care Shop. (July 17, 2009.)
  • Ward, Amy. "Wedding Makeup for the Camera." Award Makeup School. (July 17, 2009.)