Make brilliant photos of your work

You need good photographs to showcase your skills on social media. But, however good your work is, a badly-taken photograph can make it look awful. Fortunately, this is an own goal which is quite easy to avoid.

Just indulge me for a moment, while I go on about really appalling photographs. I’ve seen some real horrors online with brown bulbous eyelids which look like insects on wonky centipede legs. They look so horrible, you vow to have your own eyelashes all plucked out. So, these are my suggestions on what you should do to take photos which will attract business, not make potential customers hide behind the sofa. If it’s a frightful photo, for heaven’s sake, ditch it. Don’t just shrug, and put it online.

My first recommendation to you is: go on Amazon and buy ‘Digital Macro & Close-Up Photography For Dummies’. When you are doing photos of eyes and eyelash extensions you are probably trying to get a photo which will show them full-size or even larger. This is close-up photography and you need to know how to pull it off successfully. This book will be money well-spent.

That’s my best advice. You can ignore the rest of this page. But for what it’s worth …

As the Bible tells us, in the beginning, God said ‘Let there be light’, and he was probably thinking of eyelash marketing shots. Natural light is good if you can get it, as long as it is a sunny or sunny/hazy day.

If you’re going to use artificial light – and you probably will be if you are taking your photos on the treatment couch – then the lamp you use for working on eyelashes will probably also double up perfectly well as lighting equipment for your photograph. You may need to make sure, though, that the lamp is not too close to the model’s face, or it can lead to lines appearing across the photo.

Even if your photos are just about the eyelash extensions, it’s worth making sure the eyebrows look good as well, so they don’t spoil the overall effect.

Have a good look at the skin which will be visible in shot, and make sure you remove any loose lashes which would be visible in the picture, and also do whatever you can to make the skin look good. Even with close-up shots of eyelashes, it’s still all about the packaging.

Always go for as blank a background as you can. If you have your model standing against a wall, make it a blank, neutral-coloured wall, and don’t have the corner of a picture frame or a wall light fitting in the background to distract the viewer.

Clutter in the photo is definitely something you want to avoid. The focus should all be on the eyelashes.

You should learn how to improve the look of photos by using some Photoshop type program. It only has to be basic. According to TechRadar, who I tend to rely on, the best free software is PhotoScape.

If you are concentrating on the eyes only, in extreme close-up, it’s best to use the macro setting on your camera, obviously. The macro setting is normally an image of a flower next to the dial on your camera, or on the screen of your smart phone.

It’s impossible to tell in advance what will look best in a photo. Sometimes the obvious angle will turn out to be unsatisfactory, and something else which you had never thought of will look stunning. So the best thing to do is always to take lots of photos from lots of different angles and then select the best one at the end.

Standing back a bit, and then using the zoom facility, means that everything remains in proportion. If you get too close with your camera on a normal setting then everything becomes distorted, and your pretty subject will have an enormous nose. Also your camera will blot out light from the subject. Try and keep about a foot away from the subject’s face.

If you experiment a bit even with, say, the face of someone in your family or a friend – nothing to do with actually putting their eyelashes online – you may discover for yourself some secrets about perspective and lines of sight which will work when you do your proper marketing photos. For example, you may find out how to get the best glint of light in the subject’s eyes, to make them look alive. Or you may find that taking a photo from a  particular angle means that the foreground or the background is nicely out of focus with the eyelashes coming up sharply in focus. These are the sort of effects which make the resulting photo memorable.

It’s very important to remember that what the viewer will be seeing is a picture, like a painting in a frame. A painting in a frame has to have an attractive composition of the subject matter, and a central focal point of interest. It can’t just be a random rectangle cut out of a larger panorama. You have to bear this in mind when you take your photos. When you are taking the photo, you’re seeing the whole person and the room. But for the photo to work, the viewer must see one attention point in the photo – the glint in the eye, the glistening eyelashes. Simply a flat, newspaper-type, photograph definitely won’t sell your work.

Finally, you do need to get the consent of your client to use their photo online.