Creating flattering photos for social media

woman taking selfie outside

Валентин Шепитько-

Some simple rules exist for capturing a quality photo and putting it on social media to showcase your work. Getting the perfect shot of a hairstyle and ensuring the photo flatters your client are both attainable goals, and the result can be on par with hiring a portrait photographer.

Follow along to learn how to optimize natural and artificial light, work your angles, and increase your percentage of creating great photos with these handy tips!

Enhance your work with natural and artificial light

If you’re opting out of using your smartphone to capture your work, and choosing to use a professional camera instead, then understanding lighting is essential. Using a professional camera is ideal for creating a portfolio that you plan to use for your website to attract new business.

With controlled lighting techniques, you can hide imperfections like uneven skin tone and conceal blemishes and the appearance of wrinkles. Combining a good light source, finding the perfect spot, and a decent camera can make a drab setting look attractive.

Natural lighting is usually a reliable way of making the client and your work look good. Taking a photo shoot outside is the best solution. If you have big windows and great ambient lighting shining indoors, you can feature your salon in the photo as a bonus.

Overhead lighting is most effective when it’s bright and you’re taking a photo of a manicure. Beware of taking a picture of a person using this technique. Lighting overhead can cast shadows on the face and won’t make the subject look flattering. Avoid this technique when taking pictures of full makeup and hair if the person is vertical, and use it if you are documenting.

Using your smartphone to capture your work at the salon

Fortunately, you don’t need an expensive camera or professional photographers to achieve positive results. Smartphones have dynamic photo editing features that give a decent photo a range of light and proper exposure.

If you want your colors to be more vibrant and stand out, you can increase the brilliance and saturation. You can achieve a perfectly-exposed image and well-lit subject with a ring late, popularized in 2020. When building your social media presence with beautiful photos, your phone will come in handy as it is easily accessible and can produce flattering images.

Capturing brow images

The most flattering angles are in front or above the subject. Keri Russell is pictured in the photo below, with her brows freshly done by brow artist Kristie Streicher. Russell is well-lit. The photo composition shows her beautiful peepers and well-groomed brows. Streicher produces these high-quality images using a ring light directly before the subject.

Attribution: @kristiestreicher

How to document manicures

In an airy salon with many curtainless windows, natural light is easy. Nailbox LA features various manicures from different angles, not shying away from shadowy photos. In the multi-colored manicure picture below, the client has their hand upturned in front of a festive wreath design festooning the wall. By the shadows cast on the manicured hand, you can see the ambient light is dispersing from a window or glass door on the left of the hand model.

Hands can create different flattering poses, so the rules for portrait photography don’t typically apply to hands.


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida de Nailbox LA 💅🏼 (@nailboxla)

Attribution: @nailboxla

Close-ups featuring cosmetic products

Makeup artist Sophia Claire makes videos of her applying makeup while showcasing the cosmetic brand. Her videos are crisp, clean, and medium-contrast with good color separation so that red and pink-hued lip colors pop. This makeup artist uses straight cuts in her editing as opposed to adding dissolves between shots. Each video captivates as she applies her lip color effortlessly. The composition of her videos is zoomed-in close-ups, captured straight on. The makeup artist has a cool profile picture and boasts 165k followers on Instagram.

For students aspiring to create more content using makeup products online, these styles of videos can be achieved with an iPhone, a tripod, and a basic knowledge of video editing in Adobe Premiere.

Most professional photographers suggest using a horizontal format when taking photos or videos, this way, you can easily edit the image. Editors can crop a horizontal image to make it a vertical photo, but not the reverse.


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida de Sophia Claire (@sosodoesmakeup)

Attribution: @sosodoesmakeup

Expert tips on posting images online

The most eye-catching and memorable images are stylized and emulated repeatedly because of their success and beauty. While we encourage originality, there is a basic formula for creating a solid online portfolio on social media. Once you master the recipe for creating stunning images, you can reimagine a style.

For starters, ensure you have a good camera on your smartphone. A smartphone is easily accessible, allowing you to photograph clients as soon as your appointment is over. Follow the light wherever it goes. If your salon chair is in the back corner of the salon, take a photo of the client in front of a large window or even outside.

If you are a makeup artist, showcase a bright palette and shades of the season. Hues don’t necessarily have to be high-contrast or medium-contrast to stand out from a sea of other makeup artists on Instagram. Still, it helps to have one color that off-sets the other colors, especially if you are featuring muted tones.

It can be easy to get carried away with color, but as long as you have some contrast that attracts the eye, even in front of a neutral or white background, you’re on the right path to creating a perfect picture that might cause potential followers and clients to stop scrolling.

An exceptional online portfolio has landed many aspiring beauty professionals job interviews. Sharing online is a new form of professional networking, giving you access to people far and wide. If you’re selling your work, treat your social media photos like a calling card to attract new business.

Why choose Evergreen Beauty College

Evergreen Beauty College treats each student equally and strives to instill a sense of belonging and confidence in our students. Under the guidance of caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable instructors and founders, students will excel in our programs and learn how to apply their craft to real clients. Visit any of our Evergreen Beauty College campuses by scheduling a tour today.

FAQ – Creating flattering photos for social media

How do I make my pictures more flattering? 

Finding a good light source, getting a decent camera (iPhone will suffice), and focusing on the subject are surefire ways to take a flattering photo. If your client’s face is in the picture, make sure that if any portion of their face is in a shadow, it looks flattering.

How to take good photos for social media?

Ensure your lens is smudge-free. Blurry photos might do the trick to conceal flaws or wrinkles, but they don’t look professional if you share your work. If you are using your smartphone, tap your subject to focus. As long as the lighting is decent, you can make tweaks to enhance your photos with your smartphone editing features or in photo editing software.

How can I look good in front of a camera?

The best way to increase the percentage of flawless pictures is to practice poses before a camera or a mirror. An authentic smile, good angles, good lighting, and a flattering fit and colors all contribute to nailing a good photo. Make sure the space you are taking a picture in is neat, and no other elements in the photos will distract from the subject.


Frank Trieu
Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations

Frank Trieu is a cosmetology industry leader, and despite his accomplishments and accolades, he still prioritizes students on the Evergreen campus. Through building relationships within the community and local salons, retail stores, and spas, he helps facilitate job placements for aspiring beauty professionals using his expansive network.

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments