Friday, October 25, 2013

Flash Photography & Your Foundation!

These are old images of myself, that, due to technical and life issues I never got around to posting within this article that I planned a year ago... it's weird to think that I don't actually look like that any longer.

There are a plethora of foundations on the market to choose from these days, all of which with their own skin perfecting properties. Whether you need pore perfecting, redness reducing or something completely different, there will be a foundation to suit your needs. I, myself have a plethora of foundations just in my own makeup collection, because, depending on how my skin is on any given day, I may need to tackle a different 'issue'!

Most foundations these days seem to come with SPF already built in, which is great for those who wear foundation during the day and want to skip the whole SPF application step (let's face it, anything time saving is usually preferable when you lead a busy life, like most of us do)! However, it's not so good when it comes to the evenings, where you may be being photographed with flash enabled on a camera. You see SPF has the tendency to react with the flash, and make you look like Casper the ghost in the finished image.

Take for instance the foundation I'm wearing in the above images. It is actually one of my favourites, Lancome's Teint Miracle; but with the SPF AND light reflecting particles (that without the flash photography actually makes my skin look brilliantly radiant), I have no chance of avoiding that ghostly hue when being photographed with direct flash whilst wearing it.

The images above were taken on the same night, in the same room, with the same lighting, makeup and camera (phone) with the only difference being that the first was taken without flash, and the second, with flash. There's a huge difference, as you can see.

So, when choosing a foundation for the day, you really need to be thinking about what your day/evening will entail. If you think there's a chance of you being photographed in the evening, here are some ways to avoid the casper 'white face' effect:

  • Choose a foundation without SPF in it.
  • Choose a foundation without light reflecting particles.
  • Use a matte bronzer/tinted setting powder over the top of your foundation - this will add colour to your skin, plus the matte finish should help with the flash reflecting off those pesky reflective particles.
  • If you have a DSLR camera, use an external flash where you can deflect the flash off another surface, rather than your face, or use a flash diffuser.
  • If you have a normal camera or no external flash for your DSLR, use one-ply of tissue (just one layer, not one sheet) over the actual flash, this will act as a makeshift diffuser.

There's not a fool proof way of knowing how much any given foundation will react with the flash of a camera, I've had some foundations with SPF in them that haven't photographed as badly, I'm not sure if that's due to the foundation itself, or the conditions where the photographs were taken... but on the whole, I'd recommend trying to avoid any products with SPF in for evening wear, just in case.

Do you know of any foundations that photograph well? Or, do you have a foundation that gives you a particularly ghostly face when faced with the flash of a camera? Let me know. x

This post originated at


  1. Unless I get a spray tan, I'm glow in the dark no matter which foundation I use. :(

    1. Haha, I know that problem. I have a real tan currently, but going to have to go back to the bottle soon enough. x


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