Entering The Competition

How you can take awesome photos of hair and makeup artistry?

You don’t need professional photos of your work for The IBI Awards. But presentation is key to help you get your best result.

Douglas Dowson
Updated June 6, 2019

You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to get quality images of your work. This guide will help you take and choose photos that show off your work clearly. This will help the IBI Judging Council see your in the best possible light without any distractions.

Things to know:

  • For each hair or makeup entry you can include up to 3 photos.
  • Here is a cheat sheet of some of the best photo tips from the beauty community.


1. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

“The biggest thing you’ll need to get right in terms of taking great makeup photos — or great photos in general — is lighting. Lighting is going to make a huge difference in catching color and details that will make your picture pop…

I always suggest using indirect natural lighting first, facing a window. This will give your photo the most realistic looking colors, which is super important for makeup looks.”

This tip was from Slashed Beauty. And I totally agree, try having your subject stand near a window to get the best wash of light on their hair or makeup.


2. Choose a Clean Background

This tip comes from Christina at Hair Romance:

“When you’re photographing an intricate hairstyle, you should create balance with a simple background so that it doesn’t clash with the detail happening in the hair. Use a plain white or block wall to place your subject against.”

Photo credit: hairromance.com


This tip translates for all beauty art. Whether it’s simple or intricate, you don’t want anything distracting you from the look itself.


3. If you’re taking photos of yourself, don’t use the selfie camera

“No matter what model (of smartphone) you have, the back camera (on the opposite side of your screen) is better quality than the selfie camera. I would suggest taking your makeup selfies using the back camera for the best results— but how do you make sure you’re still in frame? Set up in front of a mirror so you can see where the camera is pointing.”

Tip from Slashed Beauty


4. Frame your shot

This tip comes from Stephanie Dayonot:

Like an essay needs neatly arranged thoughts and ideas, a makeup photo also needs to be easy to interpret and understand. Zooming into points that only display half of each feature on your face is not effective. Turning your features sideways complicates the spectator’s view. Keep all images upright and focus each photo on one aspect of your makeup.

Try to fill the photo with your face, but don’t cut off your neck. You don’t want “floating head” syndrome.”

This is especially true if you are entering an very specific category like best eyes. Make sure your pictures clearly show the eye work so the judges can easily see what they are judging. Here’s an example of 3 images that clearly show the eye makeup:

Photo Credit: Stephanie Dayonot, posted on Instructables.com


5. Focus on the Hair (or Makeup)

Tip from photographer Karl Taylor on everydayhowto.net

“Do not forget that you are showcasing a hairstyle created by the stylist and not the model attached to the hair. So have the model look down or away to focus the attention on the hair.”

This tip applies to makeup too! Think about what parts of your work do you want the judging council to focus on.


6. Quality Control

Photo Credit: Stephanie Dayonot, posted on Instructables.com

Check that your images are clear and sharp, not blurry. We live in a soft focus, filtered world these days thanks to social media. In order to make the pictures you submit count, make sure your work is clearly showcased in full focus. Pictures that are gritty or pixelated aren’t going to do your work justice.


7. Submit the original high-quality image

A screenshot from Instagram is acceptable, but when the Judges see it bigger on their desktop screens it might not appear as clear as the original photo would.


You don’t need a fancy camera or photographer to take great pictures of your work. Use the above tips where applicable to make sure your work looks as awesome as it does in person as it does in a snapshot.

Good luck and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


Douglas Dowson

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