We will take a staggering 149 million pictures this Christmas, and according to a new study* one in ten of us are hiring a make-up artist to look good in our snaps. Have we really become a nation so vain that having a personal MUA is as commonplace as false nails and lashes?
The truth is that to look good in photos you simply need to follow some A List advice. I should know - I’ve had my picture taken with some of the world’s most beautiful women, and yes, in most of them I look like the goofy competition winner asking for an autograph.
So here’s my advice gleaned from years of trawling red carpets and speaking to those in the know. Some tips sound mad, but they really work and can be seen time and time again on the red carpet, even where actresses look like they are about to burst into spontaneous laughter. Trust me, there’s nothing spontaneous about posing: it’s an art.
It’s all about the angle
To appear slimmer in pictures, every model knows that it’s all about the angle. Never stand face on, instead turn one of your shoulders towards the camera and twist your body to 45 degrees; you’ve instantly lost a dress size. Now put one hand on your hip to draw attention to your waist and bring one of your legs in front of the other, knee bent, toe tipped towards the floor. Result? You lose ten pounds in ten seconds.
It’s a tongue twister
I heard this clever face-firming tip courtesy of Elizabeth Hurley, and let’s be honest here - take one look at the pic of us together above and who looks better? She knows what she’s talking about, so take heed. Apparently the way to define your jaw and avoid that chinless wonder grin is to push your tongue to the roof of your mouth when you smile. This tightens the muscles in the floor of your mouth and really does lift the area under your chin.
An apple a day
At stage school and in drama class you quickly learn that smiling makes your mouth ache and can look goofy; the secret is to master the mouth slightly open, flirty pose. How to achieve it? You turn your head to a 45 degree angle to the camera, imagine you are biting down on an apple, tilt your head slightly down and then look up with your eyes to the camera and smile.
Nothing ruins your photos more than a shiny face, but you don’t want to look caked in make-up either. The best MUAs apply dewy base, most often Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation, £32 ( www.chanel.com ), Estee Lauder Double Wear Light, £27.50 ( www.esteelauder.co.uk ), and My Mix Foundation, £15.99, ( myfacecosmetics.com ) and then powder only the T-Zone. That means your nose, chin and the all important area between your brows and in the centre of your forehead. The pro choice for powder? Well, it has to be loose, transparent and super fine; try Jurlique Silk Finishing Powder, £24.50 ( www.jurlique.co.uk ) and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder, £18.50 ( http://uk.spacenk.com ).
Define, define, define
Flash photography will drain your face of colour and definition, but you also need to look good in real life, so the secret is not to opt for bolder, brighter make-up but to add extra definition to lashes and eyes. Half false or individual lashes are a must-have on a red carpet. These needn’t break the bank as Ardell Individual Lashes, £5.49, ( www.boots.com ) are easy to apply, easy to buy at Boots and you can apply as few or as many as you want. Team with a smudge of black kohl pencil applied into the base of your upper lashes and onto the upper, inner lid. MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, £14, ( www.maccosmetics.co.uk ) is a MUA firm favourite, as is Elizabeth Arden Smokey Eyes Powder Pencil, £15, ( www.boots.com ).
Eyes wide open
Finally a clever trick of the trade is to clean, widen and open your eyes by applying a flesh coloured kohl pencil onto the lower inner eyelids. Try Shiseido Corrector Pencil, £17, ( www.johnlewis.com ) to disguise party eye redness. Blend a little out between your lashes at the outer edges to brighten eyes in a second.
*The study by Vistaprint found that people who lived in London were more likely to hire a MUA to look good, followed by people from Wales and then Essex.