If you want to skip all the fluff and just see the final images from the Maternity Milk Bath shoot, just scroll down or mosey on over to my Portfolio or over to April’s site. Otherwise, for a detailed description on the session, how I created the look, continue reading.
As many of you know, I started out 2016 with a huge cross-country move from California to Georgia. It was a bittersweet move. Setareh Beauty was really beginning to thrive and establish roots in the Golden State. Then I learned of my husband’s relocation to move back to the South. I say “back” to the South because we spent nearly four years in Raleigh before moving to California. During this big move, I found comfort in being a part of The Rising Tide Society national network and active in my Monterey Tuesday’s Together group; I knew I’d be okay in Augusta.
I introduced myself a month or so in advance of the move to the Augusta Tuesday’s Together group and quickly saw all the amazing talent in my new city. April is one of those talents.
After a few phone discussions and a couple in-person meetings, April asked me to do makeup for her upcoming maternity milk bath shoot. I was so excited! See, photographers who realize the value of bringing in a professional MUA for their shoots really understand what it is we do. The camera deteriorates certain aspects of lighting and shadows on the face. Quality, high definition makeup helps bridge those aspects, thus giving the photographer the ability to fully capture the client in their best form. Makeup in photography is different than makeup in natural light settings (hence why bridal makeup is an art in and of itself).
Working with April on this milk bath maternity session was my first client in Augusta and I wanted to make a great first impression and of course, I wanted everything to be perfect! Like any good MUA, I researched April’s vision, color schemes, model, and essence weeks before the session, planned the look, and ran it by her—since this was her creative project and idea.
I try to keep fads out of my makeup style, especially for photographs. I don’t want my work to have a timestamp, per say – ideally, my looks should transcend time. Audrey Hepburn & Elizabeth Taylor immediately come to mind.
Now, makeup applications for special events is a different story (especially depending on the personality of my client). Special events, balls, galas, and red carpet events are made to be bold, step-out from your comfort zone, and wear some of the trends. Check out my recent Met Gala post here for an example of what I’m talking about!
Since our model had almond shaped, hazel eyes, I opted for a solid, classic smoky gradient navy eye and relatively neutral lip. Of course I opted for a subtle wing (classic) instead of the harsh wing we see so much on Instagram. This helps balance the delicacy of the milk bath session and outfit choices, the fierceness of a pregnant woman, and also really capitalize and showcase her eye shape.
A staple in my personal beauty routine, T0o Faced Primed and Poreless is a staple in my profressional kit as well. This primer really feels so velvety and smooth on the skin. A great base for any foundation.
Because it is a silicone based primer, I would not recommend this primer for the oily skinned! They do make a powder version which may be a good option! You’d be happy to know this is a vegan, cruelty free product, too!
This foundation is great for normal/combination skin, is extremely buildable, feels light on the skin, and most importantly…photographs well.
This is a go-to foundation in my pro-kit and really, an amazing foundation for any occasion.
I use a variety of different brands and types of concealers in my kit. However, our model’s skin was smooth and free of imperfections… so I used this palette to help reduce shadows the camera sometimes captures!
To date, I have not found a better powder counter palette. The best competition would be the world-famous Anastasia Beverly Hills palette, which is also great. As a professional makeup artist, I need a palette that works on a variety of skin tones. This one has been great for nearly all of my clients. The pigmentation in this palette really pays off — a little goes a long way.
I have an amazing MAC Iridescent/Illuminating Loose Powder that has since been discontinued. However, my replacement already in my personal kit is Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in the color Opal. It applies beautifully, like silk, and captures light and just the right shade of flesh, in all the right places.
Setting all the cream products is imperative to minimize creasing. Fortunately for you, there are tons of amazing setting powders at every price point. I was a long-time fan of Lancôme’s Photogenique loose iridescent powder, but like most things I fall in love with, they discontinued it. So I have been using Laura Mercier’s Translucent Powder in my kit for years. If that isn’t in your budget, yy sister Azadeh highly recommends the Coty powder, read why here. But I’ve seen several pros with the super economical e.l.f. cosmetics Studio High Definition Powder Translucent Powder or the NYX Cosmetics Studio Finishing Powder, Translucent Finish Powder.
An awesome neutral blending color, Soba is a perfect crease color. Because her eye shape didn’t have a super well-defined crease, I really had to work that crease. I opted for a color a few shades darker than her skin that would also blend well with the navy blue and make for a seamless transition up to the brow.
It took quite a bit of product to get it as dark as I did, take note. I constantly switched between blending out her crease and getting the lid super pigmented. Blending blending blending is imperative with a dramatic smoky eye.
This is that little “pop” of color in the center of the eye we hear about so much. It’s noticeably lighter than Contrast but hardly visible in the photograph. That’s because its main purpose is to reflect the light of the flash while adding more dimension to the smoky eye since Soba and Contrast are pretty flat colors on their own.
Normally I’d balance out such such a smokey eye with a smokey bottom lash — but that would’ve changed the entire tone of this look. She’s not going to a nightclub or special event. The look is sexy, feminine, and empowered with the life she’s carrying inside of her! She’s taking a bath, after all. A light liner with water product is left on the brush from the lid plus a flesh toned water line keep this look dainty and not heavy. This is intentional.
Although for this particular look I used Make-Up Forever’s black gel linker, which is extremely black and can be extremely harsh if not applied with a precision liner brush and/or blended properly. It also dries out fairly quickly so unless you are using a gel liner pretty often, it may not be worth the extra money. Because Makeup Up Forever can get pricey, a great alternative is Maybelline’s New York Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black.
In our model’s case, I blended it out in the corner of the eye and in the crease corner to allow for a smooth blur vice harsh line.
These ELF lashes were the perfect last for this session! Had the main focus of this shoot been the client’s face and makeup, I would opted for higher end false eyelashes. However, the main focus of this session was the milk bath maternity aspect. Makeup was simply complimentary to the session. It’s important in understanding when and where to splurge, the duration of the event, and also – ensuring proper application!
Note, I do not apply ELF lashes (or any lashes for that matter) with the glue that comes with the lashes, I am a DUO girl and that’s what I use to apply falsies on all my clients.
Of course she has some shimmer in the corner of her eyes & a light, matte bone color under her brow. I try to avoid too much shimmer under the brow bone especially in photography because it can reflect too much and look too shiny.
I love me a beautiful thick, filled in brow. However, like the fierce wing, full brows on non-full browed beauties are also a bit trendy. I opted to work with her natural brow, fill in where needed, add some dimension back in (so the brow wouldn’t look flat in the photo) and capitalize on her beautiful arches.
Anastasia Beverly Hills is my go-to brow powder (here’s my palette) and I set with a Covergirl Clear Gel mascara. A tip if you go with the Covergirl… a little goes a LONG way. Don’t be too heavy handed or you will end up with stiff brows. They’ll look normal but they’ll feel like Aqua Net on your eyebrows.
You do NOT need to spend an arm and a leg on gel mascara unless you are super picky about your brows. If you want to splurge, I’d go with ABH or Chella.
I blended a matte soft pink Smashbox lip pencil with a NYX soft pink. The names have since rubbed off so I cannot get to the specifics! That’s the day and life of a MUA. This Milani lipstick in Rose Femme, seems to be a close match!
I opted to style her hair in a simple side pony with large curls since that’s a practical look for a woman in a bath, right? Easy peasy. Less is sometimes more.
After hair and makeup, I was able to capture some behind the scenes iPhone shots of our gorgeous model Heather and April doing her professional photographer thing. As you can see, my phone photos are nothing compared to the images captured by April! The results were simply amazing! This is why paying a professional to do your makeup when having your pictures taken professionally is worth every penny!
April was able to capture some amazing shots and angles…only shots a professional could capture. Here are some of my favorite shots that showcase the makeup specifically.
I’ve worked for April now with a number of clients and seen some sneak peaks of the final images. Let me tell you, this girl knows how to werk those angles, lighting, and of course the complex camera to produce amazing, gallery quality photographs. I can’t wait to showcase more of her and my work in the future. Stay tuned!
If you are in Augusta or anywhere for that matter and are interested in booking any of April’s photography services, she has a full-service studio in Evans, Augusta Photography Studio. I am also available for all your makeup needs and am available for travel. Just contact me here.
I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!