how i do long-distance makeup consultations

This year, my first as a full-time photographer, has been more rewarding and thrilling than I could have dreamed. I'm learning so much every single day, and making adjustments as I go along. Part of that includes continually looking for ways in which I can refine and streamline processes in order to shape the best possible experience for my clients.

One of the unique challenges I faced this year was finding the best way to do makeup consultations. Since I live in the US part-time and travel frequently when I'm back in Canada, it's usually not possible for me to do in-person makeup trials with my brides-to-be. I thought long and hard about how I could get around that issue and I've come up with a solution that I'm happy to say works really well.

Through a combination of visual and written communication, as well as Skype chats, I work together with my brides to dream up wedding day makeup looks that suit their taste, personality and bridal style. We have a solid understanding of the look before the wedding day arrives, and we also schedule a little extra time for any last-minute changes on the big day itself. The process generally starts with the brides looking at my Bridal Makeup Looks board on Pinterest and the conversation takes off from there.

Three of my brides, Jennifer, Heather and Karly, were kind enough to share a behind-the-scenes look at how we planned their bridal makeup looks. A special thanks goes out to these three wonderful women for taking the time to share their thoughts!




What is your day-to-day makeup routine? 
I am a simple girl so most days I will put on light moisturizer, curl my eye lashes, pinch my cheeks and wear a tinted lip gloss or lip stick.

Where did you get the inspiration for your bridal makeup look? 
Because I don't wear make-up it was a bit daunting, but I did copious amounts of research on beauty and bridal blogs, but I hit the jackpot with Pinterest. I wanted something natural and feminine and glowy. I wanted to feel pretty and light and was very drawn to metallics on the eyes and a pink lip. I have always lusted after long beautiful lashes and knew that I just had to have them on my wedding day.



Source: Elegant Bride

How did you feel about your bridal makeup look we created together?
I absolutely loved not only how I looked on my wedding day, but how I felt. Like my best and prettiest self. The lip colour Dallas custom blended was a beautiful pink that was inspired by eating raspberries and my eye lashes were stunning. I wore the lightest most comfortable and lovely falsies. Dallas was able to take my inspiration look and customize it to fit me perfectly! I didn't feel like I was playing dress up, on that day I was a bride!

What advice would you give to brides when choosing a makeup look for their big day? 
Knowing how you want to look is important, but be flexible and open to the advice and expertise your make-up artist has in her arsenal. With a clear vision and trust, you will be the best version of yourself!

Snippets from our conversation:

Jennifer: I would maybe like false lashes. Do you think we can do that?

Dallas: Hi Jennifer! I'm so happy you sent me this look. It's PERFECT for you. It's great that you chose a model with your exact colouring — always a great way to tell which looks would suit you. Yes, we can definitely do this. Glowing skin, full brows, neutral/pale gold eyes, a kiss of pink on the cheeks, and a slightly paler variation on the pink lip. That will look lovely on you. Also, we can totally do false lashes. With this look, I would recommend really light/feathery ones, or individual ones applied at the outer corners of your eyes. Exciting!

Jennifer: I am so happy you like it! I love the idea of lighter lashes since I have never worn them before. I think this will make me feel exactly the way I want to. I am thinking Essie Ballet slippers on my nails, it's a soft pink.

Final look:



See Jennifer + Jay's engagement photos and wedding photos for more examples.




What is your day-to-day makeup routine? 
Lately I've been trying to be a major minimalist as a result of going natural with most of my beauty regiment. I use pure sweet almond oil or jojoba oil as a moisturizer (yeah, oil sounds scary but it's been great as long as I apply it to a clean face!) Then I apply a bit of blush to my cheeks nose and chin, being super fair I find this helps brighten me up! Then I curl my lashes and apply a small amount of mascara. I like to wear a bit of coloured lip balm to finish the look off, usually a bright red or a deep maroon, sometimes even a more violet hue depending on what I'm wearing. Very basic but I find less is more for the most part. I like to save the dramatic looks for when I'm going out to dinner or a party.

Where did you get the inspiration for your bridal makeup look? 
I really wanted to look ethereal and natural so I took some inspiration from very classic feminine portrait photography. Certain makeup looks can stand the test of time and I wanted to not only look but feel like the best most natural version of myself.



Source: Hair and Makeup by Steph 

How did you feel about your bridal makeup look we created together? 
I felt it perfectly suited the vision I was going for. It helped tie in the entire look by enhancing my natural features without going to the extreme. Loved it!

What advice would you give to brides when choosing a makeup look for their big day?
I think makeup is an incredibly personal and important part of your wedding day. My advice would be to think about how you like to look day to day, what colours you are drawn to, etc. Take that look and dial it up, maybe one notch, maybe five depending on the time of day, style, and venue, of the wedding. Try to be yourself as much as possible, you are the one your partner fell in love with after all!

Snippets from our conversation:

Heather: I looked at the board and I love the one with the girl with the flowers in her hair, with the berry lips, haha it's so nice and I really want to look ethereal on that day! Like I walked out of some fairytale!

Dallas: I love your description of how you want your makeup to look. I'll make sure you look ethereal and exquisite.

Final look:









See Heather + Spencer's engagement photos and wedding photos for more examples.




What is your day-to-day makeup routine?
I start with a primer (right now I use Cover FX), followed by a BB Cream for my foundation. From there I use a translucent powder to absorb any excess oil (I typically have an oily T-Zone), followed by a small amount of colour on the cheeks. From there I will usually apply eyeshadow (either light browns or a tangerine/copper colours to bring out the blue in my eyes) often using one colour and layering it in the crease to add dimension. Sometimes I will use a dark brown eyeliner if I'm feeling ambitious that day. I will then apply a little highlighter under the brows, corners of the eyes and on the tops of the cheeks. I finish up with a coat of mascara. Total time is about 5-10 minutes.

Where did you get the inspiration for your bridal makeup look? 
My inspiration came from a fashion editorial shoot of Emma Watson in the June/July 2013 issue "W" Magazine. What I liked about Emma's makeup was that it had vintage aesthetic but was still quite modern. It was a polished look that had a nice subtle glow and was topped with a bold red lip which brought a bit of 'Pin-Up Girl' sassiness to the look but in a refined way.



Source: BHLDN

How did you feel about your bridal makeup look we created together? 
I couldn't be happier with the look that you created. I especially love that we decided to go for the bold red lip!

What advice would you give to brides when choosing a makeup look for their big day?
If I could give any advice to other brides when it comes to makeup is to keep it simple and to pick a style that isn't completely different from your own style/typical makeup routine. Of course it is always fun to experiment with makeup and you want to look you best on your wedding day but the important thing is that you also want to look like yourself.

Snippets from our conversation:

Karly: For Make-up I have a couple of ideas in mind, I've attached some photos of styles I like, some I think I snagged from your board :) 

Dallas: Those makeup looks are all gorgeous. A theme I notice throughout all four is the perfect, glowing skin with romantic, rosy cheeks, highlighted cheekbones and sculpted brows. We can definitely do that! My one question would be whether you prefer the natural eye look or the one with a bit more drama (soft, smoky black liner)? Also, are you leaning more towards a nude/pink glossy lip or a matte red one? 

Karly: Is it possible to do a subtle smoky eye, so its a blend of both? For lipstick I am thinking more of a nude/soft pink. 

Karly: I've been looking at photos again for makeup and I think I would actually like to try a red lip, it is the look I seem to be the most drawn too :) I've attached a couple of inspiration photos. I especially like the one that is actually a bride and I think is one of the photos on your bridal makeup board. 

Dallas: Let's go for it. As I said on Skype, you have beautiful full lips so you can totally rock a red lip. We'll find the perfect shade for you. And, once it's on you find it's too much, we can switch super easily to a paler lip. But I think red will look stunning on you :)

Final look:







See Karly + Jonathan's engagement photos and wedding photos for more examples.

Final thoughts

If you notice, all three brides chose inspiration images where the models share their colouring. This is very helpful in choosing a flattering look.

In addition to Pinterest, I happily look at inspiration images from any other media including magazine tear sheets, movie stills, and even other art forms from graphic novels to renaissance paintings!

It's definitely possible that certain clients would prefer an in-person trial, in which case I am always happy to recommend talented makeup artists in their city who are available for trials.