Time to get camera ready

May 10, 2020

Renowned makeup artist, Bina Khan shares some tips and tricks for a camera-ready look for your next virtual meeting.

Much of the world had a fascination for reality stars before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The real (but totally fake) housewives, the plastic surgery and beauty stars, the hoarders, the house swappers, the OG trust fund babies trying to live a simple life and the list goes on; the corresponding list of talents is a smidge shorter. Why were they famous? We were watching them, which made them famous; so we watched them; because they were famous.

Now that everyone of us is a reality star most of the day, filming and projecting our lives to an audience of friends/family/colleagues, thrown in to a story arc that would have defied belief even three months ago, no one has the time or energy to watch other people’s lives. You are simply keeping up with your own life, both professional and personal, via the camera of your cellphone.

And now that you are constantly in front of the lens yourself, you must have realized the insane lengths that people go to in order to register well on camera. Plastic surgery, injectables, veneers, vampire facials aside, they are constantly in a full face of elaborate make up and are professionally lit at all times.

So since we are now the stars of our very own reality shows, with cameras recording huge swathes of our lives, be it for work or for play, let’s break down some tricks to help you face your audience with confidence and polish.

Find your light, perfect that angle

It’s best to try and face a light source. Windows work best, but even a lamp is a good option. Experiment with your distance from the light; don’t be too close to the light source, it will blow you out. Secondly make sure your camera is a little above you. Experiment with stacks of books or invest in a camera stand to find the perfect angle for you.

Sculpt, sculpt and sculpt

Your skin is going to get blown out. Phone cameras – unless you light like a pro – tend to pick up details you don’t want (hello eye bags) and lose things you wish were registering (bye bye cheekbones). You want to subtly, but with depth, give yourself believable, rich and gentle highlights and contours. You want to make your bone structure pop.

Highlight your features

Keep it simple and make sure that your brows, eyes and lips register well. A simple eye liner or mascara is fine for the eyes, but sweep on some bronzer or contour powder over the lid and some highlighter on the brow bone as well for some added dimension. Wear a pink that matches the inside of your mouth both on your cheeks and on your lips. It gives the most natural, healthy flush. And make sure to use a soft greige (gray + beige) powder to oomph up your brows.

Presentation is  everything

Wear a block of colour (black will give your shadows on your face some saturation, so it’s my colour choice). Keep your hair clean and shiny, with a little volume, or tie your hair in a low ponytail. A shallow centre or middle parting with a low pony tail suits most people.

Your best accessory is a smile

This sounds corny but honestly if you smile, or try to maintain a pleasant expression, as you would speak to someone in real life, you definitely register better on camera. I have become all too aware that your resting face has to be less unfriendly. Because that’s not how we are feeling. You have to make your face express the same emotions as you would if those people were actually in front of you in real life. 

– Bina Khan has been working as a professional makeup artist for the past 23 years. According to Bina, her greatest teacher wasn’t a video, but in fact it was the first book she got by American makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, when she was 20 years old.

Time to get camera ready