The Staggering and Transformative Power Of Make Up Artists

The Staggering and Transformative Power Of Make Up Artists

If you’ve ever wondered how much time a good make up artist can really save you in post on your stills images, you might want to take a look at the absolutely stunning before and after shots in this article. Believe it or not, no Photoshop was used in the making of any of these images, this is all done the old fashioned way - straight out of camera.

Good hair and make up artists are worth their weight in gold. These guys and gals can really help develop our subject, lifting and sculpting their overall appearance, sometimes in ways that we just couldn't imagine would even be possible. Good make up artists will help reduce time needed to address blemishes and skin imperfections, sharpen up lips, clean up puffy, tired eyes and develop and shape the face in post. Expert make up artists can draw out highlights, carve our cheek bones and apply all sorts of tricks and tips to skin to work to the concept of the shoot. Hair stylists, aside from also bringing creative weight to the shoot, will help catch stray fly aways, look for out-of-place strands, and help present the hair in a way that works for the overall look and concept.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see and work with some very talented hair and make up artists in NYC since arriving here last year and I’m seriously in awe each and every time I see the transformation process unfold.  Griselle Rosario, one such skilled make up artist, produced the stunning before/after shot you see below.

Fstoppers_Davidgeffin_makeupartists_nophotoshop_nops_grisellerosario Copyright - Griselle Rosario

This shot is a simple before and after comparison shot, taken with an iPhone with no filters and no post work. Had I not been in the studio while at the time, and seeing the process unfold, I still would find it hard to believe.

Before and after shots like these are becoming more and more common as a powerful tool in the make up artist's arsenal to demonstrate their skill set and abilities very quickly and with a high visual impact. I make a point to tell any make up artist I work with to remember to take before and after shots like these if I don't see them doing it, because it's can be such a huge selling point for them to be able to show off their skill set.

Russian hair and make up artist Vadim Andreev has produced some pretty staggering before and after shots which are currently doing the rounds online, and you can see why.








Fstoppers_Davidgeffin_Makeup_noPhotoshop_1 Copyright - Vadim Andreev

While the style of make up and hair that Vadim has opted for might not be to your particular taste, there is little room to dispute the transformative effect that his work has on his subjects.

Investing in dedicated hair and make up professionals can and will help lift your overall images, as well as save precious retouch time in post. If you are not doing it already, you can always try social media networking sites that aim to connect photographers with practicing make up professionals (or aspiring professionals) like Model Mayhem. While these sorts of sites can present their own challenges which we won't get into in this article, they can and do present an opportunity to spot emerging talent, and to begin to build links with up and coming artists.

Is getting good (and by virtue, usually expensive) make up artists on board something you do regularly, or just something you treat as an additional service if the client requests it? What make up stories do you have that have led to a great outcome on a shoot? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below.


[Image Credits: Griselle Rosario MUA / Vadim Andreev]

[Vadim Andreev images via: SLR Lounge]

David Geffin's picture

David is a full time photographer, videographer and video editor based in New York City. Fashion, portraiture and street photography are his areas of focus. He enjoys stills and motion work in equal measure, with a firm belief that a strong photographic eye will continue to help inform and drive the world of motion work.

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Great work..if true. I find it very hard to believe that some post work wasn't done though. Some of the jaw lines definitely look "liquified".

Could you give an example of one such image? I don't see any that couldn't be achieved by makeup and lighting. Just curious...

first image's nose is very different.. though it could be the first image was taken closer and the second farther with zoom

Makeup drastically alters how our eyes perceive depth and shadows. I can believe that's all makeup just by seeing what was done on a few episodes of "What Not To Wear."

well that would be a whole lot of shadow perception going on

the light position moved slightly to be more flat in the after shot (you can see in the catch light and shadow on the nose) but it's still the same light and modifier.

Nobody mentions that these are different focal lenghts? the ugly one is shot with a wide angle lens, the hot one with a telephoto...

Which image are you referring to? The first image of the girl i posted by Griselle was not shot at different focal lengths, it was shot with her iphone

not different focal lengths, but further from the subject and with digital zoom (cropped).

Wide angle > telephoto :)

She is also smiling which broadens the appearance of your nose

It is very clear that she made significant surgery in the nose or thanks for the liquified tools :))

you can use shadowing to make the nose look smaller with a whiter pigment makeup and use bronzer to define the nostrils

Also, the "before" shot was taken with a much wider angle lens and a higher angle than the after, which is why her eyes look buggier and her nose is more bulbous. Standard before/after trick (and the lighting too, of course).

There is no need to call anything out. I take it as true if the process was observed from start to finish. The fourth set of images catches my eye most of all...a bit on the smooth side but then it's a web-sized image...and a mole has suddenly appeared.

I agree with you. The first one is great, although there is also a change in lighting, as you can tell from the shadow. I'd say Vadim's work has been definitely been shopped. Look at the eyes: the color becomes brighter and more saturated and their pupils are sometimes larger, even though the light source is also stronger. The whites get a little brighter too.

I'm not, however, denying the value of a good makeup artist. Good lighting, as well.

amazing the power of make up and possibly a little photoshop to turn a slightly unattractive to normal looking woman into a drag queen.

Actually it kind of looks like an anti drink campaign, you thought you scored the one on the right but you woke up beside the one on the left...

Sorry a little childish but with the exception of 1-2 ladies there neither the before or after pictures seem overly complimentary

The beauty of contouring makeup. It's such a misconception that retouching makes the biggest difference. Makeup builds the foundations that retouching finesses.

no photoshop but it s not the same light , so kind of nonsense to compare

Who knew ? Makeup makes a face look gorgeous. ha ha ha ...

Ever seen real mugs of any of Hollywoods beauties ? Sigh. Sans makeup little remains that sets them apart from ordinary people.

However it should not go unmentioned that the most important facial features are the eyes and the mouth. Large eyes and voluptuous lips. As is nicely depicted on the above images.

It might not be enough evidence, but there is 'some' post work that happened on the blonde with a nose piercing (2nd to last model). If you pay attention to the before photo the stud is on her left nostril, but in the after photo it is on the right nostril.

interesting and good spot. I would say you're probably right about the mirror (the 'before' image has what appears to be mirrored English language text behind her. Not sure if this is evidence of PS work on the model themselves, but as you say, does raise the interesting question of why mirror anyway?

Maybe he just took one of the photos in a mirror... I do that often times, especially during "getting ready" at weddings and, unless you have some sort of refference (like a piercing, or printed text that shows etc), it's hard to tell the difference.

Definitely mirrored. They all have their hair done the same in the before and after photos. The blonde, with the nose piercing-- her hair part is on different sides in each photo.

Definitely mirrored. The blonde, with the nose piercing--hair part is on different sides in each photo.

A great makeup artist is worth their weight in gold. Having a strong team of Hair, Makeup and Styling will take your photography to a whole new level. PS is a tool like any other and if used well compliments the work and shouldn't take over the edit.

im sorry but its blatantly clear theres is some serious photoshop in some of these images

I have no proof (or reason) to dispute what Vadim has set out, but would be interested to hear your thoughts on the evidence for PS work.

hmm, the whites on some of the eyes is unnaturally white. He must have used some white-paper on the models eyes if there isn't any PS involved !

the whites on the eyes could well be down to studio lighting and reflectors, and relative contrast. No need to photoshop when something as simple as a good night's sleep and a bright light will do the trick.

The first girl's nose looks SIGNIFICANTLY smaller in the bridge and tip part to me. Like someone shrunk it in Portrait Professional or something.

Her nose is contoured that's why it looks smaller. The same applies for the other pictures. That's one of the essential step of what us makeup artist have to do to recreate depth or if we want to alter features of the face.

Photoshop, no.
Apparently you are unaware of the results that a talented makeup artist is able to produce.
Perhaps you may like to look into just what they can do.

Not everything is photoshop, especially makeup.

totally agree

there is unless they have like 5 pounds of makeup on

Definitely mirrored. They all have their hair done the same in the before and after photos. The blonde, with the nose piercing--hair part is on different sides in each photo.

wonder what HIS face looks like the morning after..

There is deception here....

I think the last model is not the same after makeup
also all is photoshop retouched and some of them used liquified tools specially in noise

It is amazing how quickly people come to slate someones work and out them as a fake. I bet a lot of you do not even know the half of the process to get this done. Photoshop is in no way needed, and "fixing the contrast and balance" is not "Photoshopping" It is something that has been used since the camera became a wholesale tool.

Lighting, Posing (for example face on shots are not complimentary on anyone so this heightens the difference, a tool commonly used for advertising in before and after like this. Photographers can make people ugly as well as pretty.), Slightly altering hair, contact lenses (wow! not Photoshop) to make eyes look bigger and whitening drops to make eyes stand out are all alternatives to 'Photoshop'. Mirroring also can be done outside of a software program.

Any photographer worth their salt can take a stunning photo without having to retouch the main parts (using a combination of lighting, lenses and knowledge of the field) and any makeup artist can make a beauty stay beautiful when not behind a camera. Did no on even consider that the whole point of the makeup was for real life interactions too? make up artists have to make sure when you look at a person IN REAL LIFE, they hold up to the photographs.

Taking a beautiful photo of a person is something 99% of the people commenting probably cannot do due to the lack of understanding in the process. though you all still feel the need to proclaim that you are more knowledgeable then them and out their work as 'fake'.

I do not believe these pictures are "fake," but I do believe the whites of the eyes have been enhanced, either that... or all of these models were given Clear Eyes, prior to shooting. I say this with confidence, as I was a makeup artist most of my life, and have been now a shooter, for 10 years. There are MANY photographers that claim they DO NOT use photoshop (i.e. Peter Lik) who very obviously do. I do not believe any liquify tools were used, but enhancing the whites will make the makeup appear all the more stunning. Just sayin, some of us Do know what we are talking about, and these have been enchanced in some ways. Just take another glance at the whites.

Look at the Videos
The shadows and highlights are painted.

The biggest difference going on here is the dramatic difference between shooting a subject wide-angle and telephoto. Wide angle tends to distort a face quite a bit which is what is going on in that first example. This is totally believable that there is no photoshoping his these photos. A great makeup artist can do amazing things and using the right or wrong lens can also do amazing or horrible things as well! Try it for yourself. Take a zoom lens and shoot the same subject at 18mm and then at 85mm. You will see a HUGE difference. Add makeup and...BAM!

Did anyone mention Lightroom? technically not Photoshop... Makeup is a very important part of the creation of great fashion beauty and glamour photography...(I married my makeup artist -- forget the models) but it is in combination with great lighting and retouching that the magic really appears.

They didn't use Photoshop, but they certainly used Lightroom

While I couldn't agree more that a great makeup artist is worth their weight in gold, The statements in this article are not completely true. Models 4, 5 are absolutely edited. I specialize in corrective makeup and am considered one of the top makeup artists in the world in corrective beauty. And I also teach professional makeup artistry, lighting and about retouching so I can tell you this. # 5's nose shape could have been improved a lot with the right placement of contour and highlight. But it wasn't done properly so the re-toucher did some work shrinking it and taking away her droopy nose tip. And sadly left her with a skinny bridge, so they both the makeup artist and the re-toucher missed the boat on that. touch