February, 2012 Archive
Before reading this blog, please visit US Magazine’s Oscar 2012: The Best Makeup & Hair Looks and use the hover option to ZOOM in and take a nice close look at the 17 celebrities they chose to highlight. This post is like Part III in the Part I What you should know before hiring a makeup artist, and Part II Why are Makeup Artists so expensive? 
After seeing those photos, I felt like it’s a perfect opportunity to discuss makeup in an HD world. My disclaimer here is that my intent is not to criticize the celebrities, the makeup artists, or the photographers that photographed the 17 images but to use it to discuss what I “see” (literally – with my eye sight) in the 17 photos on the link above, and discuss how it relates to my work and also, anyone who is hiring a professional makeup artist.  Feel free to scroll down to the very bottom to read my tips & observations about hiring a makeup artist! 
I recorded the show and watched the “live on the red carpet” on my 1080p/HDTV – and from the camera angles, all of the celebrities they highlighted and interviewed looked great. I fully appreciated the full length shots of their gowns, their head to toe outfit!  When we think about all things glamorous and perfect, high-end, what most people want to look like – in general, if we are thinking of an inspiration makeup & hair look to bring to an artist either via email or pinterest (yes yes Us makeup artists!) to replicate for ourselves, we would look to the red carpet!  And the images we usually see are on the web are small web sizes 300px in the size and resolution.  It’s not a very big image to base on to “see” what’s going on, and even on an HD screen, they look flawless.  
Back to the 17 photos… when you zoom in, for most of the photos, you can SEE everything!  However, not all 17 photos were similarly focused, framed or processed the same way – probably because they may also be from different photographers and their cameras.  Of course, it also reflects the bias of the person selecting the photos to place on the website (whoever the editor favors – she or he or they may choose to present more flattering photos!) 
The first photo was J-Lo.  Looking gorgeous on the red carpet as usual, but when you zoomed in, you can see her makeup, you can see texture on her skin.  You will not notice this if you were standing at a reasonable distance from her, or through the moving camera. The focus is perfect, so…yes you can see everything! (and yes..she is due for a nose wax…I wouldn’t have known this unless it was zoomed in)
I couldn’t capture a zoomed in photo with my screen capture, but in contrast, Penelope’s photo was much more flattering because it’s actually not in focus.  Which…also means that you won’t be able to pick up on the skin texture and you will not be able to see the details.  
Emma’s photo on the website was over exposed, also leaving out a lot of detail and texture on her skin.  I noticed some other things, but the only thing I wanted to mention is that her lipstick needed a touch-up at the time it was taken. I’ll follow-up on this towards the end in my conclusion segment! 
 Now…Gwyneth’s photo.  Very sharp & defined – and yes, you can notice her pores underneath the makeup. Gwyneth takes great care of her skin, but I’m pointing out that our skin has a texture to it, depending on your genes, your age, and how well you take care of it on the regular basis.  Models & Actresses are no exception! And this is what it will look like up close! Makeup certainly enhances how your skin looks, but it is not a realistic expectation to expect the makeup to cover skin texture.  

And…Natalie.  She looked glowing while presenting, but when you use the Zoom in tool, you can see that she has some congestion on her forehead and cheeks, and you can notice the concealer/make-up that was used to conceal it and from a normal distance or on the screen, you cannot see it at all! Again, this is not a critique on the makeup artist (it is a phenomenal, flawless makeup job!!!) and I’m not trying to pick at Natalie’s skin care routine – I really just want to point out that makeup, no matter how expert the artist, no matter how beautiful the celebrity, no matter if it’s airbrushed or hand-applied, the makeup itself goes over your skin, and how it will look will be largely dependent on your skin itself. More on this in the conclusion! 
I also wanted to discuss Milla’s close-up with harsher lighting, unphoto-shopped!  Again, you can definitely see everything – but mostly you can tell she has a bit of a shine on her t-zone, but the look is actually the classic dewy look – she will look radiant and glowing in person and in motion camera.  (Yes, her lipstick needs a touch-up here too!) 
And I found these photos from another source – the lighting is different, she looks soft, glowing and beautiful – but we do not know if the images below has been processed/photo shopped because of the smaller resolution.

And these below of Emma, Natalie and Gwyneth are the photos from InStyle UK – the smaller web versions, resized and color-corrected for flattering angles! 

Love the hair!!!
This photo of Natalie was either the same one as the US link, or taken by another photographer at the same time. But at this resolution, which is what we see, you will not notice anything on her skin and definitely not the congestion on her forehead! 

A much more glowing/flattering photo of Gwyeneth!

Here is my conclusion & tips (lol) inspired by the website and my experience:

  • When you are getting your makeup done by a professional makeup artist, you may become hyper-alert about every detail of your face, skin, pores and you may notice developments that may be “new” (hyper-pigmentation, fine lines) that you haven’t noticed before; on a normal day, chances are, you don’t look so closely! When you come see us makeup artists, it’s usually for a special occasion (a big event, your wedding), and you are likely nervous & excited about the way you will look. You may think that everyone is looking at you and noticing every detail the same effect like the Us website‘s  Zoom function!! But that’s simply not true! Please remember that a) Your guests will not be carrying a magnifying glass (like the zoom function) to check out your skin! b) what they will see, is really closer to the 300pixel web version – arms length away! Our eye sight is usually not better than 20/20!
  • Please also believe that your makeup artist will know and understand that if you are looking for “flawless” foundation coverage, they will most likely need to layer on foundation & concealer to achieve the look for you. Fuller coverage also means that you will notice the makeup, it will feel heavier than usual, but you will photograph beautifully.  Just remember that full coverage doesn’t always mean you will look unnatural!  Full coverage examples from above: J-Lo, Penelope Cruz, Natalie Portman & Milla Jovovich!  Medium coverage: Emma Stone & Gwyneth.  None of the above is an example of “sheer” coverage.  Wearing makeup and foundation doesn’t mean that you will be pore-less, and texture-less – makeup enhances your look, but it’s not magic.  If you are concerned about fine lines or pores, they will become less noticeable after professional makeup, but they will still be there! (Yes..even if you airbrush!)  I’m not really saying that everybody should go with Medium to Full coverage; it depends on your skin type and condition, and then also your desired look and your comfort level!  I’m just hoping to use the Us website to help us communicate what Full – Medium – Sheer coverage means when it comes to makeup application & HD! 
  • You don’t have to worry about the camera not picking up the colors. There are slight adjustments for outdoors and evenings, but even in the non-zoomed in photos, you can see the eyeshadow, the blush and lip color in the images! Just because you are doing evening, you can still go for a more natural look like Gwyneth, and have it photograph just fine! 
  • If your close-ups are very important to you, your photographer is the next most important thing as your makeup artist! A great way to decide on your event photographer is to take a close look at their close-up portrait work. How does the skin look? Generally your event photographer will not go into each and every single photo and photoshop out every little thing.  Their style and how they adjust the camera setting/what lens they use/what time of day they shoot, will decide how flattering you might look! I for one, do not want to my pores and lines to be in SHARP focus! It doesn’t mean I want to be BLURRY, but I don’t want it zoomed in at my skin! 
  • Celebrities are people too! They have small flaws as well, and they too need to touch-up their lipstick and maybe blot their t-zone with a tissue.  This doesn’t mean the artist failed by using ‘inferior’ products (FYI Emma’s artist used Chanel) but long-wear lipsticks will dry out your lips, and while lipliner prolongs the wear and the way you apply the lipstick will also help… if you talk, eat and drink, or just swallow saliva, the lipstick will go away bit by bit.  And..as a human, you do need to do those things throughout the day!! :) Even with oil-free/oil-absorbing makeup products and great primers, if you have combination or oily skin, expect it to be shinny in about 5-6 hours.  Your skin will do what it naturally should do – and there are products out there (alcohol based) that may last, but those products are typically meant for tattoo-coverups, and not recommend to be used on your face for prolonged periods of time.  
  • Which brings me to…even with the Best Artists using the Best Products applying it on the Most Beautiful People in the world – you may see pores/fine lines/texture and you may need to touch-up your lipstick and powder.  This is real life, unless you hire someone to follow you the whole day, coming in to powder and touch-up every 15 minutes! (That service is definitely available if you opt for it!!)  
  • It’s important to select your professional makeup artist carefully, but it’s also important to keep in mind that what we as do as artists is to highlight your best features, and our goal is to present a ‘dressed-up/dolled-up/slightly more glamorous’ version of yourself for your special occasion to highlight your beauty.  Just remember that you are beautiful, and you are a real person! A real person may have pores/fine lines/texture & hyper-pigmentation!  Embrace it!!! 

Happy Valentines Day!

Towards the end of last January, I volunteered in a community art project! The team collected polaroids of people’s lips and then you would pick up somebody else’s lips to get your portrait taken!  The portraits will then be auctioned off to raise money for First Exposures, a youth photography mentor program that provides art mentoring for underserved youth. The gallery opening & auction will take place on:
February 27th from 6-9 pm
SF Camerawork – 1011 Market St @6th, 2nd Floor


Featuring the portraits Daniel Castro took that weekend! So if you are in town and are free that evening, definitely go check out the exhibit!  :) 

The shoot took place at the Yerba Buena Gardens, and since I was working on Saturday, I could only volunteer my Sunday!  You can check out the behind the scenes video where you can catch me paint the lips of the participants before they took their polaroid! This was my set up for the day!! At first I thought “omg that many lips! I need to go out and get lipstick” so I ran to buy supplies – but it turns out I didn’t really need to buy all that stuff!  Good thing I can still use it for other stuff! 

Before I started, I’d ask the participant if they want something natural, or something adventurous!! Most people opted for natural, but a few brave souls wanted something fun! Kim (Daniel’s intern) suggested I did the Japanese Geisha Lips – that was certainly a fun one!

One lady asked me to draw a heart on the side of her lips so that she will be able to find her lips! Voila – there it is! EASY to spot! ;)

And then another participant was adventurous and wanted to try out the Yellow colored Lip Tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (the color is Traffic)!   

I was also happy to see some familiar faces – Ashley & Alana from Look Models! <3 <3 <3

It was really nice to participate in this community event! I really enjoyed it – especially the cause is for the arts, and it’s local!!! While it’s nice to help out for causes around the world, for me if it’s possible, I prefer if it’s closer to home and more immediate.  As a believer of karma, after volunteering I came home with 5 inquiries! :)  lol…
Either way – Spread the L.O.V.E.!  
Be sure to like the Make Love facebook page to find out the latest updates! 
New Lifestyle work! I’m going to keep it brief because I need to go to sleep & wake up early!  This week is unusually crazy and I enjoyed every minute of it! :) I’m lucky that I love my job! This is my 3rd time working with Kris Jung @ Stars (Pure coincidence!) but I’m always happy to see her! She is so adorable! I had fun doing the messy bun look & putting the rollers in her hair! It was really lovely to meet Alyssa & Donyale! I loved loved these photos~!

Putting lotion on the model’s exposed skin is one of the most important lessons I learnt when I showed my portfolio to veteran artists to ask for their critique. After putting a great lotion, skin is shinny & luminous, and also saves photographer retouching time.  It is so worth the effort!  Little did I know when I was a newbie, anything showing is apparently my responsibility (skin, nails…etc).

This is the first shoot I did with this AMAZING team – I can’t wait to work with them again!!! Or share the other photos we did with you in the near future! I’m very proud of these! ;) Happy Monday!

Photography: Sasha Gulish Photography
Makeup & Hair: Elizabeth Chang
Styling: Natalie
Models: Kris, Alyssa & Donyale from Stars Model Management