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Your wedding photos are a big investment and not only that – they become treasured family heirlooms. Because we know you want to look and feel your best, we’ve gathered expert tips from Carolyn Flewelling of Carolyn F. Beauty on how to look your best in your wedding photos. Pulling from her 13 years of experience, she shares insights that will help you achieve that bridal glow you’re looking for!

Photos // Karl Rouwhorst of Luminaire Foto

How to Look Your Best in Your Wedding Photos - Tips from Carolyn F. Beauty

What can a bride do to enhance her natural beauty in her photos?

Everyone has a favorite feature, so it can be really important to focus on this area. From a general perspective, I think the eyes are super important. I always recommend false eyelashes. This is a small thing that can make a huge impact on how you photograph. They help your eyes look open and awake, creating a soft definition. This is a good trick especially if the bride’s vision is to have a barely-there lid without eyeliner. They will achieve the definition they need to really see their eyes in photos, without compromising their overall vision.

How can brides ensure their makeup will translate well in photos?

In some cases, I will ask the photographer for a test shot if they are readily available. Most of the time I rely on products that are tried and true, but I always make sure I test color selection outside. Natural sunlight tells all!

Carolyn F. Beauty - Luminaire Foto

What can brides do prior to their wedding day that will have the most impact on her bridal beauty and photos?

Take care of your skin, take care of your skin, take care of your skin! This is hands down the MOST important step. This is where beautiful, natural makeup begins. Sure, almost anything can be fixed in Photoshop, like a day-of blemish that you can’t stop fixating on, but there is less correction that needs to happen when applying makeup and shooting the look if there isn’t anything to correct. Our beauty studio can create custom spa packages for brides that allow them to get consistent services, whether that be facials and/or waxing treatments, that help them achieve their skincare goals; however, I understand that not all brides have this in their budget. I feel that it’s important to work through all this with my clients either at their trial, or in a separate consultation to get the best plan in place that suits them specifically.

Most of us have heard the phrase “bridal glow” – but how can brides look as radiant as they feel?

Personally, I agree, the “bridal glow” comes from radiating happiness. It’s love, ladies… a good moisturizer doesn’t hurt though! I’m sure I’ve repeated myself ad nauseum already, but self-care is the golden ticket. Our skin is our largest organ and it certainly keeps track of all our dirty secrets. Put good in, get good out! Make sure you are drinking your water and you have a good skincare regimen. A skincare routine keeps our skin balanced, happy and healthy. On the flip side, if we aren’t washing our faces or we’re dehydrated, we can see it and we can feel it.

Food can also play a role in helping our skin glow. There are so many wonderful foods that support our skin health and give us tons of antioxidants that help our skin stay strong and radiant. Do a little research or go visit a dietician to help formulate a plan that works with your body!

Carolyn F. Beauty - Luminaire Foto

One common concern is how to make the lovely makeup artist’s work last throughout the entire event. What can a bride do to help this?

Follow your makeup artist’s direction. If they have told you something specific about your look or a product and how to keep it looking fresh all night, make sure to pay attention to that. I use products on my brides that are tried and true, but I always send them with a little touch-up kit that has everything they need should they have a mishap later in the evening!

Oh, and if someone spritzes you with setting spray, try not to make any facial expressions until it dries. If you are prone to creasing, this can help a bit. If you talk and laugh and move your face around a bunch when the setting spray is still damp you may end up setting your creases instead of setting a smooth canvas. It doesn’t always happen but better safe than sorry!

If you could give only one piece of advice to your brides about how to help their natural beauty shine through in their wedding photos, what would it be?

Be confident! You are beautiful and this is the happiest day of your life! Know that everything else is just a drop in the bucket and all the day-of details are going to be taken care of and everything will turn out just as you dreamed, no matter what.

You have a philosophy of playing up a bride’s natural beauty and approaching this from a holistic stand point. Why do you think that’s important?

This is always funny to me because I actually did not enjoy doing natural makeup for the longest time. I wanted to do all the things that were new and popular, and I wanted to test my limits as an artist. I feel like everyone has this growing period.

When I started doing bridal makeup, everything about my aesthetic changed. It happened so organically. The looks all my brides leaned toward were so clean and simple. It got me out of the comfort zone I had been in for years, and I just fell in love with the purity of focusing on who my bride was and what made her feel beautiful. That’s what made me truly understand that this idea of beauty we all have is so unique to us. We all find it in a different way.

Through this process I came to appreciate how the principle of taking care of ourselves can make a huge impact on who we are. We take a few minutes here to put on a face mask while we read, or we take a few minutes there to dry brush before we get into the shower. We might have a green smoothie for breakfast because it makes our tummy happy, and we might go to a workout class because it makes us feel strong. A happy heart, a full cup and healthy, radiant skin is a reward of putting time back into ourselves. Small steps become rituals. By taking the time to do little things that help us de-stress, unwind and really care for our bodies, we glow.


A special thanks to Carolyn of Carolyn F. Beauty for sharing her expertise. To learn more about Carolyn F. Beauty’s bridal makeup or other services, visit her vendor profile here!

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Karl Rouwhorst