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Before and after pictures: 10 things you have to do

on January 29, 2015

There’s always a lot of hype and attention around makeup and before and after pictures.

We get it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but that’s why we are called makeup artists – because it’s an art. And art is used to transform, inspire and excite.

Before and after pictures are not only essential to showcasing our best work and position our businesses in the best possible light, but also in showing people the power of makeup and how it can make you look and, ultimately, feel.

After all, that’s why we get up in the mornings…to empower people. That’s our number one job.

Of course, when photographed professionally the images may turn out better because of the use of lighting, angles and other photographic techniques.

HOT TIP: But you should always carry your phone (make sure it’s on silent though) or a camera as part of your basic makeup kit so you can get a few happy snaps after you’ve finished your creation. And it’s best to seek permission first and foremost, but often customers don’t mind having their picture taken. The results will speak for themselves.

Not only is this a reflection of your work, before and after pictures are also a powerful marketing tool you can use on your website, social media, brochures, flyers and even other cool content creations such as checklists, ebooks and how tos.

jason malouin portrait photographerHere are some fantastic tips from a photographer we love – Jason Malouin – he’s the bomb diggety when it comes to head shots, so you are in safe hands.



  •  Make sure the lighting is the exact same for both images. This is probably the least understood and most critical factor.

The best light is always window light. But only when the sun isn’t shining directly in through the window.  As long as a person isn’t standing in a beam of sunlight, find the absolute biggest window you can and position them as close to it as possible.

Exactly how you position them depends on a few things.

Are you trying to show specific texture like skin or muscle tone?  You will want the light to come from the side so position the subject perpendicular to the window (or facing along the glass from one side to the other).

If you are trying to show more general qualities, it’s better to position the subject facing directly towards the window.  This means the photographer will have their back to the window, so be careful not to block the beautiful window light and cast a shadow on the subject.  This is generally the more flattering light for any age and gender.



  • Make sure you use the same camera for both images. The more you keep uniform, the more credibility your images have. If you shoot one with a phone, do them all on the same phone. Even the difference between an iPhone 4 and 6 is drastically different; not to mention across brands…
  • Keep the camera at the exact same height. The relative position of the camera to the subject will accentuate or diminish certain features.  We don’t need to go into the specifics here.  Use something like a tripod and if you don’t have one, even propping it on the back of the same chair/ counter, etc… every time.
  • Use the same lens/ zoom (or no zoom) every time. This also has accentuating and diminishing effects on a subject.  On a phone I recommend no zoom which gives you better quality.  On an SLR, use the exact same lens and the exact same zoom.
  • Be careful with filters. If you’re using a phone or camera with built in filters, make sure you at least use the same on every time.  I recommend no filter.  It gives the images more credibility because they look more raw and real.
  • Background. You guessed it.  Use the same background for both images.  Ideally, you can find a blank or clutter free background with no distractions.



  • To smile or not to smile? This one can be tricky…  A smile evokes a certain feeling in the viewer.  Showing the before image with no smile and the after with a smile seems a bit manipulative. Again, I would recommend doing the same thing each time. And personally, I say no smile! Let your results speak for themselves if they are truly remarkable.
  •  Posing is the same. For example… slumpy, rounded shoulders in the before image and powerful attitude in the after image can seem misleading.



  • Cropping. This is another very strong factor that influences our perception.  Keep it exactly the same for both and you don’t need to worry about losing credibility.
  •  GIF. This is the single most powerful tool to use in your before and after tool kit. Since you have meticulously followed all of the above directions you are ready to move on to the big time. Side-by-side comparison for our brains are super challenging to see any subtle differences. But the way to overcome this is to use a GIF.  It is a single frame which animates or “flips” from one to the other and back again.  For our purposes, showing before and after pictures, over and over, allows customers and clients to compare the difference without making them work for it.

Try something like Makeagif or similar free services to achieve this.


And there you have it friends, Jason Malouin‘s secret sauce when it comes to before and after pictures.

He’s all sorts of different and does great work. Contact him at or on (+61) 0466 325 495 for more photography info.


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