Beauty of Balance

For this shoot, I had to work with a delicate balance between softness and strength, between classically preened and urban edgy, between feminine and androgyny.

The model is a pixie cut with a long fringe. The cut is styled with BedHead wax stick. The hair is tousled and left in its disheveled state. This sounds easy… and it should be; however it does require some bravery and a good sensibility for the beautiful balance. Simply said, you just have to know when it is or isn’t right.

Her makeup is also styled with a balance between natural and intense. What makes this makeup beautiful is the strong focus on one feature of her face. This makeup wouldn’t have the same impact if her lips and cheeks were as strong as her eyes. When you look at this image you can’t help but to be drawn into those eyes.

I think the challenge of a good artist is to understand when you haven’t pushed it enough, and to understand when you’ve pushed it too far.

Simply Beautiful

On Patience: Makeup, Hair Jacquetta Sorensen; Photo Marta Elena Vassilakis

On Karissa: Makeup, Hair Jacquetta Sorensen; Photo Marta Elena Vassilakis


These two simply beautiful looks show the power of focusing on one feature of the face. As I explain each step, I will be referring to the following photo of brushes.


Each model’s skin was prepped with a light moisturizer and primer. I used TIGI Whipped foundation on both models (color #1 applied with the foundation/concealer brush, which is the brush on the far right). The whipped foundation is a cream to powder matte finish. I love this for HD photography.


I then used a mascara wand to apply TIGI concealer to the brows. Just rub the bristles with the stick of concealer and comb into the brows for this really interesting effect.


I used Haute (top right in bottom image) on Patience. On Karissa I used Awaken (bottom left) . I only wanted to apply a wash of color to the cheeks so I used the powder brush, which is the first brush on the left in the brush photo. I loaded the product just slightly to the lower portion of the apple of the cheek. I then transitioned the color back toward the hairline and temple making sure the color is completely blended away before it hits the hairline.



For the lips I custom blended colors. I do this often because I’m a control freak and I just feel the need to make the color exactly what I want. Patience’s lips were the focal point of her makeup. The color was a mix of black lipliner and Passion TIGI lip color.  Karissa’s lips were a mix of Splendor and Finesse TIGI lip color and concealer. Both of the custom blends were mixed on a pallet then applied to the lips with a lip brush, which is the fourth brush in from the right on the brush photo.


Patience eyes were a wash of golden bronze shadow and a ton of brown mascara… keepin’ it simple. Karissa’s eyes were the dramatic focus of her image. The technique for this is complex, so I will break it down in a post to come. For now, just know I used TIGI black patent eyeliner (I love it for the shine) with no mascara. I like the way her blonde eyelashes are highlighted with the contrast black background.

A Day in the Life of a Photo Stylist (Four Looks, One Model)

The last few posts were a fun peek into the day of a photo stylist. The photographer on this project (Marta Elena Vassilakis) and I worked hard this day to create multiple looks for one model in a short amount of time.

Part One: Natural Bohemian

sunny days 5

This shoot began with a wardrobe fitting, and a plan as to the hair and cosmetic looks for the outfits that were chosen. Most of the time it’s easier to start natural and work your way into more intense styling. This slightly bohemian look was styled with TIGI Root Boost. The product was placed from roots through the mid-lengths to create lift and texture. The hair was then dried using the fingers to lift the hair at the roots. Once the root area is dry, the rest of the hair was smoothed using only the hands to leave the hair with some unrefined yet delicate texture. The goal was to refrain from over-styling the hair. Because we started with product, it will be easy to keep the volume at the base.

sunny days

The model we were working with has the most amazing skin with freckles. I didn’t want to cover them. Her cosmetics here were very clean.  I used TIGI Brow Sculpting Duo in brunette (only the powder), TIGI Eyes Love It mascara, and TIGI Decadent lip color in Bliss was softly dabbed onto the lips and cheeks to create a stain



Part Two: Royals

For the second portion of this shoot, we started with a quick change of clothes…


…and a little pink added to the pout and cheeks. I also added a dust of rose shadow to her eyelid creases. This rose color is a great contrast to her eye color, which really make her eyes standout.


I used about a dime size amount of TIGI Up Front Pomade to tame her locks.


Part Three: Hats

For this photo we moved the entire session to the studio, changed clothes again, and added not one but two hats… just for interest. The hair was swept back and banded into a low pony held at 45% so the hair would fall into a soft swag to frame her face. Oh yes, can’t forget the lip balm.


Part Four: 60’s Inspired

The last segment of this session was also done in studio.


The hair was sectioned in two with a large “V” shape at the fringe. Both sections were back brushed to the high heavens. The lower sides and back section was gathered into a low pony and banded low on the tail so it could be tucked under and pinned to create this faux bob. The top was then coiffed and formed into a pompadour, pinned and seamlessly molded into the bob.

There was a slight shift in cosmetics. I added Makeup Forever Uplight for a luminante dewy finish. The lip color was brought down to nude and glossed. The power in the makeup was all in the brows. The length and color were exaggerated. This small shift made a powerful statement for this 60’s inspired image.