Once upon a time, before mirrors were invented by Venetian glassblowers in the 18th Century, most people lived and died without ever knowing what they looked like. I know, I know, there are mornings when that would be a blessing. And then, in the 19th Century, Louis-Jacques Mandé Daguerre invented photography, and we ladies would never look upon ourselves in quite the same way again.
Copyright by Mirella Patzer - History and Women
Getting your picture taken in those early days was a rare and wondrous event, for which you posed in your best clothes, jewelry and, above all else, your best hat.
|Jennifer Anniston - Dave Hogan for Getty Images Europevia|
Fast forward two centuries into the age of the selfie, ambush selfie and candid paparazzi pix, and even the most beautiful of celebrities is not immune from unflattering photos. So, what possible hope can we mere mortal women have?
No longer do we have the luxury of preparing to look our best for those special occasion pictures as we snap away recording the minutia of our every-day lives and our every-day faces. When we were young, we could discard the occasionally unflattering photo and no one was the wiser. Today, those photos end up getting passed around from I-phone to I-phone and plastered all over Facebook.
|Etsy - Wedding Kit|
Do not despair, ladies. With wedding season upon us, now is the time to take advantage of one of those wondrous events to look absolutely smashing. And, if you are the mother of the bride, you can relax, secure in the knowledge that that professional photographer you hired, whose fee made your husband turn 50 shades of gray, will make sure every picture of you and the blushing bride is a red-carpet photo.
Last week, my friend, Josephine, whose wonderful, London-based Blog Chic at Any Age is one of my must-reads, showed a great tutorial in her Monday Musings – Fashion Flash post by one of our favorite make-up artists, Lisa Eldridge. The subject was make-up for the mother of the bride. If you are over 40/50 and want to put your most photogenic face forward on your daughter’s wedding day, Lisa’s tutorial is well worth watching. There are lots of great tips and tricks in it that will have you looking picture perfect, one of which is to avoid make-up with SPF.
It’s called “flashback,” and even celebrities who’ve had their make-up professionally applied are not immune from it when snapped with a camera or cell phone that uses direct flash.
So what causes it and how can you avoid it?
What Causes Flashback?
Direct flash appears to be the biggest culprit. Most professional photographers use indirect flash, thereby avoiding the problem; however, when friends and family start snapping away, you may get some flashback on indoor shots, since those cameras and cell phones all use direct flash. Candid outdoor shots should be just fine.
Other likely culprits are certain Skin Care products and Make-up.
Skin Care Products (Source: Venusglow)
If, like me, your skin is sensitive to chemical sun screen products, you probably wear something with Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide. These ingredients can cause flashback. They are also key ingredients in BB creams, which are so flattering to mature skin in natural light.
Make-up (Source: Venusglow)
Micronized powders, primers and products with Mica and Sillica can take years off your face by giving you that glowy and dewy look; but that soft-focus, reflective quality that looks so good in real life, can cause flashblack in photos.
Highlight and shimmer products can also create white spots, and use a very light hand with that concealer under the eyes, unless…………
you like the Donald Trump reverse raccoon look. Personally, I’m not a fan.
How Do You Avoid Flashback?
Maddie Eisenhart of the Blog A Practical Wedding did the hard work of testing numerous products (some of which are no longer available) by photographing them with direct flash, bounced (indirect) flash and natural light and picking winners and losers. The results were interesting and somewhat surprising. She found that direct flash was a bigger culprit in flashback than products with SPF.
For example, one of her “Winners” was Clinique Super City Block primer, which contains an SPF of 40. In further research on the subject, I found that the difference appears to be in the chemical composition of the SPF, rather than the fact of the SPF, itself.
Case in point……..
Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer, which I wear every day, has an SPF of 20 AND contains Titanium Dioxide and Mica but does NOT appear to cause flashback. Why? Well, if you look at the list of ingredients, you see that those two ingredients show up at the bottom of the list, which means the product contains only small amounts. In addition, I always set it with Laura’s Loose Translucent Setting Powder. As opposed to compact powder, loose powder sets your make-up better, lasts longer and does a better job of minimizing shine, particularly in photos.
And then there are HD make-up products which were developed to minimize and smooth imperfections for HD movies and TV. HD is notorious for highlighting every little flaw and imperfection. While it works beautifully in that medium, it can cause flashback in still photos, so it’s best to avoid HD make-up for photos.
This may all sound a bit confusing, so I’ll leave you with three pieces of advice for the BIG DAY.
Put your face in the hands of a professional make-up artist.
Keep your make-up matte and in warm tones. Use highlighters sparingly.
Take pictures ahead of time in full make-up indoors and outdoors, using direct and indirect flash.
Oh, and BTW, Mother of the Bride, the pride and joy you feel as you look at your beautiful daughter on her wedding day is all the glow your face will need and motherly glow does NOT create flashback.