A Photo-Ready Finish

If I had a penny for every time a picture was taken of me during a night out at Uni where I resembled a moomin-esuqe character when flash came into the frame then I’d own those Acne Pistol Boots I’ve always wanted. It wasn’t until recently I finally made myself familiar with the rules of photo-ready makeup after many, many ‘Is that Anna, or a Ghost?’ fails. I thought it was time to share so you’ll be prepared with the correct layers of slap when the camera gets brought out…

An SPF-free zone. Long story short – SPF in foundation, or any base product, is the primary cause of ghostly flashback face. Save those formulas for daytime use and whack out the SPF-free ones in the evening. For a guide to my favourites whatever your coverage preference, have a read here; but 99.9% of the time I reach for the good ol’ Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk.

Bye, bye, red eye. For reasons I can only attribute to long nights spent tossing and turning instead of snoozing I’m currently suffering with a bout of the red vampire-like eyes; hence why in all my recent videos I look like I’ve been blubbering right up until the point of pressing record. Flash likes to amplify these rouge tones – I’ve got the photo from Christmas ’96 where I was suffering from Conjunctivitis to prove it (though thankfully I did wear sunglasses inside for most of the day – D.I.V.A) – so treat those peepers to an eye drop or two before you turn your makeup brush to them.

Powder, powder, powder. You know how I feel about powder on a day to day basis; it’s a no-go, give me a dewy finish any day. Flash however has other plans and instead likes to transform a fresh looking complexion into a greasy looking one on film. Boo. Evenings out are therefore the only time I ever dip my brush into powder, luckily formulas have upped their game and no longer leave things dry and cakey. Look into textures by By Terry, Hourglass and Revlon for compacts that keep it natural and apply with a small brush to ensure application is on the lighter side of blending.

It’s all in the eyes. The amount of times that I’ve trundled out just with a lick of mascara on my lashes and nothing else, then along flash comes and makes me look like a big ol’ moonface with just two tiny sets of lashes for definition. So attractive. I’m never going to be the most flamboyant wearer of makeup in the eye department, but a thin, smudged-out sweep of kohl liner and touch of shadow to the lids never hurt anyone and gives a subtle nod of colour that helps to bring the focus back to your gaze.

Line those lips. Good ol’ flash likes to highlight any makeup mishaps and nothing more so than a wonky lipstick application – one of my oft-made mistakes. Miranda Sings-stylée. Take the time to line your lips; it may seem like a time-consuming and slightly-dated step, but aside from the advantages of holding your lippie in place for longer and reducing bleeding it also helps to keep things clean and tidy and add some extra definition to your face when the camera comes out. Say cheese. 


  • Evelyn Morales

    Yes I also have some of those ghost pictures, I hate them every time I see them.

  • I’m hoping to get Luminous Silk for prom as all of my foundations contain SPF:)

    Esmé // CloudEsmé

  • Great tips. I’m quite pale though, so I always end up looking like a ghost in pictures.

  • Desperate to try luminous silk, think i’m going to pick it up tomorrow! Thanks for the tips really helpful. X Emma

  • Zazie Bibi

    Great post, i used to tell people to turn off the flash to stop me looking like a ghost or such haha! xx

    A Little Treat | Beauty & Fashion Blog

  • Abi Thrasher
  • AgentSmyth

    Great tips, really helpful. Love the photo too!! x

    Claire | AgentSmyth

  • Photos please! 🙂

  • Louise Smith

    These are great tips! I always have ghost face in pictures!

  • Sybil Mae

    This was a great post, lot’s of good tips! 🙂

  • Good tips – I’ve always wondered what the point of lining lips was, and now I think about it…it makes total sense. Doh!

  • Emily Hewitt

    Thank you for the tips! Very helpful 😀

  • Emma and Emily

    Great ideas! For some reason I’ve never had a ‘flash back’ face even though I’ve used SPF bases in the past. Agree with the powder part. Over highlighting doesn’t come out so well in club photos!

  • Lovely post, although I don’t thing SPF inevitably means flashback! Some of them are really bad, some of them I don’t even notice. Also, if you use a coloured powder over the top, it doesn’t flash back anymore 🙂 xx

    Sarah | Squares – Bookworm and Beauty Enthusiast

  • Guest

    Great tips! Hahaha although I do find Moomins adorable I don’t quite fancy them enough to resemble one in a picture. Cheers Anna! 🙂



  • Fiona Bradley

    Great tips! Hahaha although I do find Moomins adorable I don’t quite fancy them enough to resemble one in a picture. Cheers Anna! 🙂



  • Sophie

    Great advise as per, Anna! I really want to try the Hourglass powders… They’re just so unique!

  • Emily Golding

    I love this post, I wish I could share this about and get all of my models on shoots to understand!

    Emily xx

  • Mari x

    Great tips here, I always look for a foundation with no spf, but want to buy the GA after sending my first back for wrong shade eek!

  • Muy buenos consejos 🙂

    Kyllie | Make Up Fragrances

  • Cassie

    Thank you so much for the tips. I hate looking bad in pictures!

  • KittyMakesUp

    Great tips! I always have to carry powder with me on a night out even though I NEVER use it during the day. I also recommend contouring my face always looks so round in pics. xx

  • Ligia Tolentino

    Hi Anna!

    Great post, as usual! I always felt that my eyes and lips looked strange in photos! Will remember this tips next time I’m out at night..

    Just one more thing…this is my second, and last – I promise you 🙂 – try on this subject. It’s about the Rss feed..Yeah, that annoying brazilian girl again! (yeah..that explains my bad english!)

    But, as a wordpress user myself, I found the way to change the setting that allows your post to show completely in the feed. lol

    Just go to: Dashboard > Settings > Reading > For each article in a feed, show > Full text.

    My readings will be much more happy!


  • Brilliant tips Anna, I always seem to look dreadful in pictures from nights out – I’ll be keeping this in mind!

    Shel x

  • Alison

    Hi Anna, great post! I have been angling after the Luminous Silk foundation for as long as I can remember, and you may have just enabled me…. I am forever a glowing beacon of ghostliness in photos!
    Also, as a relatively new reader, I would just like to say thank you for putting so much hard work into your blog, it can’t be easy to post near no daily! I thoroughly enjoy your work and look forward to new posts.
    Alison xx

  • Lori Mac

    great post Anna! Thanks for the tips – I’m not much of a powder wearer either and have been considering dipping my toe in the powder pool. Will have to browse around these brands xx

  • Astrid

    Absolutely love that you mentioned Miranda Sings! LOL!

  • SPF is the main culprit due to the titanium & zinc oxide! 🙂 Loved the post

    -Chaitra | PinkPot

  • Catrin

    Agree with all of these so much, I really need to amp up my eye makeup when my social life comes out of hibernation, I can easily look so piggy eyed.


  • Peaches & Pearls

    This is amazing! I new about the SPF and flashback but I never knew about the eye drop trick for red eye!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Great tips, SPF is one that always catches me out! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD

    P.S. I don’t want this to be spammy but I am also hosting a £50 Giveaway at the moment if you wanted to enter here

  • Annie Lindsay

    This is SO perfect! I’m trying to plan out my wedding makeup and I never would have thought to line my lips or even keep some eye drops on hand. So helpful!

  • Iso Bean

    These are great tips. I tend to get red eyes, especially if I haven’t slept much. I’ll have to try using eye drops more!

  • Natalie

    Thank you for the foundation tips! i always make sure my eyes are dolled up on a night out for this exact reason!

    – Natalie [A Fashion and Lifestyle Blog]

  • Mio

    Amazing tips! I always somehow get paler than my body on flash photography! So will try these out!

  • Eleri Roberts

    Fab photo-ready tips, I love an eye drop or two to fake bright peepers xx

    Eleri Roberts

  • larasophia

    great tips!


  • I love this post Anna. I do makeup for print and these are great tips!

  • Helpful tips, Anna! The Hourglass powders really do photograph wonderfully 🙂

  • Lauren Percival

    Great post! Some helpful tips 🙂

    Lauren xx

  • Great advice about the SPF foundation, I use Bobbi Brown which has an SPF 25 and I always look ghostly pale in photos, time to get me a new foundation for those nights out now! xx

  • Marghs;

    Your blogposts crack me up so much.
    Love love love your blog Anna.

  • So many of these things I haven’t even considered. Thanks 🙂 x

  • Visine… one of the lesser-known beauty tricks that makes such a difference! Great post.