Should you do your own wedding makeup?

Should you do your own wedding makeup?

Weddings are expensive and, quite understandably, people look at where they can save costs. One of the things we have seen is people thinking about doing their own wedding makeup, or perhaps getting a friend to do it.

Now, let me say upfront, I am no makeup expert! However, as a photographer, I have seen the good and the not so good of wedding makeup. The quality of the makeup can make our job easier or much more difficult. It can impact on the photographs we produce.


So, should you do your own makeup? Well, the answer is, probably not. Here are a few things we hear brides say and our own view on them.

I do my makeup the rest of the time. I have my favourite makeup and I know how I like it. Why not just do my wedding makeup myself?

First, wedding makeup is very different to your normal “going out” makeup in several ways.

  1. It needs to last all day, and it will be an emotional day! It requires special makeup that will last, no matter what. You may start getting ready at 8 am, or even earlier. You still want it to look good at midnight, despite tears, hugs and kisses.
  2. It needs to be of “photographic” standard. You will want your makeup to look good in high definition ultra-sharp photos that will show up every detail.
  3. Make sure you avoid “flashback”. You don’t want to look like a ghost in your photos. More on that to come!

It takes a very skilled person to do their own wedding makeup successfully.

Secondly, whilst we see very chilled brides on the morning of the wedding, even the most chilled of brides tend to get stressed the closer they get to the ceremony time. Adding the extra stress of having to do your own makeup and have it look the very best you have ever done it only adds to that stress. It really does take a calm person to do a great job of their own makeup with everything else going on around them.

Having said all that, we have had a few very skilled brides do their own makeup and look absolutely stunning.

Here is Amy doing an amazing job with her own wedding makeup. She shut herself away by herself (oh and with me popping in and out obviously!) in a separate room so she could concentrate on doing a great job

Doi your own wedding makeup

Amy was very skilled at makeup and so the results were stunning.

Do your own wedding makeup

Right through to the end of the day


However, these really are the exceptions. Our advice would be that unless you are very confident that you can do a great job, don’t mind the pressure of having to do it by your self, and have somewhere you can get away to concentrate. Use a great MUA and make sure you look your very best on your wedding day.

But no one else knows how I like my makeup. What if I don’t like it when the Makeup Artist does it?

This is where the trial comes in. Meet your Makeup Artist (MUA). Talk about the look you want and then let them do a trial to show you how they interpret that. Tell them what you like and anything you don’t like. Any good MUA will do what is needed to get the exact look you want They will help you how to look your best. Once your trial is complete your MUA will make a note of what they did and what you want. On the day, their job is to do that so you get the exact look you like. Trust me, a great MUA will make you look absolutely stunning. When your makeup is done, if there is something you don’t like, or think could be better, tell your MUA. A good one will give you great advice and make it happen.

I have makeup that works for me – I have sensitive skin – The wrong other makeups make me look horrible. – I don’t like wearing lots of makeup.

This is where the MUA is invaluable. Its also where you or the MUA can make our job easier or very difficult! If you use the wrong makeup it can cause all sorts of problems. As I have already said, your makeup needs to be designed to look great in high-quality ultra sharp photos. Imperfections in the makeup will show up in the photos. Then you rely on your photographer correcting that when editing the photos. Your friends and family won’t be able to do that with their photos. A worst-case scenario is Flashback. This is a photographer’s nightmare.

Avoiding Flashback

What is flashback? Well, its where the light from a photographer’s flash is reflected back by the makeup. You can yet a dusty white cast in patches on your face or even your whole face. Your face is a completely different colour to your neck and arms, and any contouring you were trying to get with the makeup is gone. We have come across this, but for obvious reasons, I would never post a photo of a bride with flashback. Just google it and you will see the nightmare results.

Now a good pro photographer can minimise the impact by correct use of the flash, but there will still be flashback and you will look very white because the light is being reflected back by the makeup. Whilst your photographer can minimise it, your friends and family will not have the equipment or the knowledge of how to do that and so their photos may well show you with a ghost face..not a great look!

Not all makeup causes flashback but some well-known makes do. Mineral based ones can often be the worst. Now I am not an expert on the best makeup to use, but a good MUA will know what is best for your skin, your look and to get the best photos (with no flashback!)

If you are sure you want to do your own makeup then the best advice I can give you is apply the makeup to your arm then go into a reasonably dark place, turn the flash on on your mobile and take a photo of your arm. If you have a skin coloured arm with a white patch where the makeup is you have an indication that your makeup choice may cause flashback.

OK so I do want to use an MUA to do my wedding makeup, but how do I choose the best one?

The answer to this is both simple and, at the same time, difficult. Just as with any service, do your research. Look for recommendations from friends, or even from your photographer. As photographers, we have worked with many MUAs.  In the run-up to the wedding, we always ask the bride who is doing her makeup and there are some that we know well and are always really happy to know we will be working with them. The way you look in your photos is down to teamwork between the MUA, the hairdresser and the photographer.

Personally, I would steer clear of MUAs tied to a studio who are in turn tied to one brand of makeup. A good MUA will have their own choice of different brands for different things. They will have researched and tried out different products and will know their strengths and be able to recommend the best products for your skin and the look you want. From our experience, the MUAs who work from a salon where every product is from a single brand (often the mineral based products) do not have the same selection of products and makeup is not a one brand fits all as far as skin types and looks.

Here are a few of the MUAs we have worked with who have produced amazing results that helped us get some stunning photos on the day from start to finish.

Here is Jenny Buckland ( doing Alyssa’s wedding makeup

Jenny Buckland


And here are the results:




Jenny Buckland


Here is Sarah Evans ( doing the wedding makeup for Bekki.


Sarah Evans

And here is Juliet Cunnington ( doing the wedding makeup for Katie


Juliet Wedding Makeup

When you are looking at MUAs discuss what sort of look you want. Tell them about any concerns you have about your skin and the way it reacts to different products. Ask to see before and after shots of previous brides. Make sure you book your trial and make sure you make the most of it. You need to be happy with the results.

I hope you found the information useful

If you are planning your wedding and would like some more information on how we can help you please do contact us for more information.

Enjoy planning your wedding!


Doing your own wedding makeup






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