How To: Take Good Close-Up Makeup Pictures

A lot of you have asked me how I can get my FOTDs to show up so clear so here are some tips I picked up from years of being a camera whore.

What I Use: Sony Cybershot DSC-T70. I have been using this for the past 2 years.

Blinged up Sony Cybershot DSC-T70

* Get the right lighting. Daylight is definitely the best for taking pictures. However, if you can only take pictures at night just like me, make sure the background is well-lit with a halogen lamp. Not only will this help bring out more details, I swear it brightens up the face and makes those nasty shadows and bags under your eyes appear lighter too!

* Use the flash. I know a lot of people worry about the flash washing them out, but I personally love it and use it in pretty much all my pictures. The key is to make sure you are using the right kind of flash. Most cameras have a setting for flash intensity and remember to set the ISO levels to low. I also find the flash to reduce blurriness.

* Always shoot in Macro mode. This is the one with the flower icon and is practically made for closeup shooting. Having said that, if you are shooting at a distance under Macro mode, the pictures will come out blurry.

* Use the red-eye reduction feature. This works by having a flash go off right before the main flash to make your pupils contract, thus reducing “red eye”.

* Find your best angle. Mariah Carey’s known for her right side whereas I prefer my left. Practice with your camera and a mirror and trust me, your hard work will pay off!

* Experiment. There is a reason why cameras come with so many different modes and features. Play around with yours to figure out what works best on you.

* Steady, steady. While it’s impossible to grow a steady hand, you can always get a tripod to prevent shakiness.

Check out Camera Ready Makeup Tips by Celebrity Makeup Artist Kathy Aragon and my makeup tips For taking passport/yearbook pictures! Got more photography tips? Share!

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. my jaws really dropped when i read this post because i kept thinking u were using an slr to take your gorgeous pictures and i my pictures wouldn’t appear as beautiful because i’m only using sony cybershot dscw120! we have a good .8 mp difference which shouldn’t be that big…now, i’m inspired to take close ups! thanks for the tip phyllis!

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