Beauty photography can be complex, but you’re a step ahead with the right camera and lens.
Good lighting and retouching skills will add to the depth and personality of any image.
Don’t shy away from starting with full auto cameras before you get those DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that require extensive know-how.
Choosing the best camera and lens is challenging.
We compiled this list and tips to ease that work for you, whether you’re a beginner, a professional, or just a hobbyist makeup photographer.
The best camera and lens for makeup photos
Thanks to cutting-edge technology, we have a dozen cameras and lenses in different forms.
These types include compact digital cameras, action cameras, DSLRs, new and improved film cameras, and the latest version of mirrorless cameras.
Each has a unique capability depending on what you’re looking to achieve.50 mm prime lens or 100mm+ zoom lenses give the best shots, whether close-ups or distance.
The 3 best cameras for makeup photos include:
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR)
This camera delivers remarkably sharp and spectacular photos, stunning background bokeh, and high-resolution videos.
A great example is the Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera.
DSLRs come with advanced image sensors and a wide variety of lenses, are customizable and can shoot images and videos at up to 60fps.
They are also well known to perfectly operate under difficult weather conditions.
Although functional, DSLRs are bulkier and require ample know-how to operate them. Those perfect pictures and videos also come at a higher cost.
DSLRs are versatile enough if you’re looking for close-range or distant photos.
Mirrorless cameras are compact DSLRs without the internal mirror that replicates light to the image sensor, like the Fujifilm X-H2.
They capture high-resolution images, record ultra-HD videos, and have a faster shutter speed.
It has interchangeable lenses, is simple to operate, has an electronic viewfinder, and is lighter.
Compared to DSLRs, mirrorless cameras produce impressive output.
On the flip side, mirrorless cameras have slower autofocus settings, which are not suitable for beauty photography, especially professional type.
Another downside is the shorter battery life.
Versatility, durability, and functionality describe these types of digital cameras.
Action cameras are waterproof with mounts that enable hands-free shooting in different situations.
Take the GoPro HERO8 Black as an example.
It allows wide-angled and high-resolution photos and videos.
Ideal for makeup photography underwater, and the mountable feature allows for easy recording of makeup tutorials and videos.
Action cameras have a small viewfinder and partial digital zoom lens.
The exposure settings are not fully customizable, limiting what you can do with the camera.
Not forgetting, these cameras come with a fixed focus that requires expertise to operate.
The 2 best lenses every makeup photographer should have
50 mm prime lens
Depending on your budget, an f/2.8 version is affordable, while an f/1.2 is expensive but worthy.
This lens allows you to capture a shallow depth of field, keeping the subject in focus while blurring the rest.
The lens versatility offers a faster shutter speed in low light resulting in an impressive composition.
The Macro 100mm+
Makeup photos are about details, the pores, skin texture, and color depths.
This lens has magnification ratios ideal for close-up headshots and life-size capture images.
The detail of mascara or eye shadow comes out authentic and exciting.
With an aperture of f/2.8, this lens allows more light to the sensor, perfect for distance shots.
What to consider when choosing a camera for makeup photography
Makeup artists want to capture color and beauty in detail and depth.
You want to tune the images to represent individual styles and techniques, creating unique looks.
Even with great makeup and photography skills, you require a camera with quality features.
These are what you should look for:
For most makeup photography 70 – 200mm lens is versatile and gets you a perfect tight headshot.
This is ideal for those close shots as it allows you to capture a specific portion of the face without cropping.
A focal length below 70 mm is suitable for landscapes and when the subject of focus is at a distance.
Your work may be good, but expect a poor outcome with a low image sensor.
Image sensors capture and control the light coming through the lens to produce quality images.
If you want a camera that performs great in low light conditions, and offers detail and depth, pick one with a high frame sensor.
Makeup photos are about details, the pores, shadows, color depths, and highlights.
Therefore, you need a camera with adequate pixels to capture those specifics and produce high-quality pictures and videos.
Your camera will be in heavy and constant use during a photo or video shoot; therefore longer battery life is essential.
Correspondingly, high-quality videos consume more power.
Although you can plug AC adapters while recording, it limits movements which can be solved by good battery life.
Even though your main focus is makeup photography, a quality versatile camera is essential.
A camera that does a particular function well is good, but you need a dynamic range that produces quality photos, and it’s functional.
Tips and tricks for the best makeup photography
Lighting is key
Stick to natural light; if not accessible, consider a ring light. Good lighting translates color and detail vital for makeup looks.
Add dimension to your lighting by using flags to create shadows.
Makeup involves lots of colors, and you don’t want a busy background. Even with a high-quality camera, distraction will ruin a good photo.
Know the right angle and poses
Test different angles and poses to highlight the various aspects of your makeup.
Appealing poses give personality and individuality to a photo and can only be achieved with the right angle.
Editing will take your photos to a new level but don’t overdo it, maintain a natural look. This helps enhance and deepen the colors and texture.
Know your camera
You control the camera settings to get a perfect photo. You’ll get great pictures if you’re familiar with your camera and the different light conditions.
Beauty photography focuses on details, so choose an aperture and focal range that bring out the best.
Choosing the best camera for makeup photography depends on your budget, editing software, frequency of movement, and the number of videos you plan to shoot.
You’ll get stunning shots with the proper lighting, camera, and tools at an affordable range.
Know your camera and the right poses to create unique photos that will get you more opportunities when added to that portfolio.