In many portrait photography or lifestyle shooting sessions, our eyes can often be the vessels in our facial expressions that tell our story in the final images – ones of happiness, excitement, sadness, and even in some cases seduction. Many expressions portrayed in our imagery are led with the power of our look and the gaze in our eyes as photographers capture mesmerizing eye photography. While there are many variations to the craft of eye photography, there’s something special about creating the ultimate sultry look to bring out your personality when shooting and focussing on eye photography.
From the artistry in the makeup to the cunning stare behind our eyelids, there’s a technique behind the trade, and it’s one many models aspire to create. So, if modeling for an upcoming shoot and looking to master and create the sultry eye look, read on as we review the tricks of the trade and how to lock the iconic facial look.
Practicing Eye Health
First and foremost, if looking to draw in and captivate the camera and your audience with your eyes, you must focus on the overall health of your eyes. Many times our eyes can experience unnecessary dryness, allergies, and irritation which will alter the eye’s physical appearance and show on camera. This can range in symptoms, from showing redness to vision ailments, and even glossy or liquid to form around our eyelids, Below we’ve outlined a few details to remember when it comes to maintaining optimal eye health before an eye photography shoot.
Avoiding Dry & Red Eye – There’s nothing worse than looking through images and noticing your eyes have been completely bloodshot. Unless you’ve hired a retoucher, there’s not much to do about canceling red-eye in your imagery once you’ve arrived on set, so the care must take place beforehand. Many things can lead to dry eyes: lack of humidity in the air, if traveling for a shoot the dry air in airplanes can contribute to dry and red eyes, even overexposure to the sun without UV protectant sunglasses can cause eye redness.
*To make sure you’re keeping your eyes is hydrated at all times, keep eye drops with you for the week prior to your shoot and apply every couple of hours to maintain hydration.
Keeping Your Vision Sharp – Contacts can be a great tool for correcting vision without the hassle of wearing glasses. Unfortunately, contacts can also lead to eye disturbances like irritation and retinal scratches which can ruin your upcoming eye photography shoot. Instead, when you know you’re shooting, wear glasses for a week prior (if possible) to give your eye’s some breathing room before being on camera.
Unnecessary irritation – Things like allergies and reactions to contacts are harder to avoid in our daily routines, but those aren’t the only factors that can lead to eye irritation. Factors like an unknown, used, or borrowed makeup can also affect the appearance of our eyes. As a general rule of thumb, you want to avoid putting products in, on, and around our eyes like our body’s aren’t familiar with or that have been used by someone else. This includes liners (especially waterline eyeliners), shadows, and mascara (even with a new wand). Make sure that prior to your shoot, you or your makeup artist use your own products or new (out of the box) products – as you don’t want any adverse reactions on set.
Help Brighten Your Under- Eye
You’ve mastered keeping your eyes fully hydrated, and bloodshot free, so how do you show the same love and attention to your under eyes to help brighten your eye photography shoots. With the combination of combating puffiness and baggy skin under our eyes, while also trying to create a lit from within look, it seems almost impossible to master. However, there are a few key maintenance routines and products to help ease the process and create beautiful under eye.
Masks – Before the night of any big shoot, it’s recommended to enrich your under eye area with a soothing and hydrating mask. Not only will this add moisture to the area, but it will certainly add a great deal of brightness. While it may seem like completing a mask the night before may not do much given the time so close to the eye photography shoot, it’s amazing what a couple of hours can do – as it can create a world of a difference. Some of our favorite masks are:
- Belmond Beauty’s Fresh Eyes Rejuvenating Eye Masks
- Sephora’s Eye Mask Selection (in particular cucumber)
Eye Cream – Unfortunately the skin underneath our eyes is particularly thin, with this comes the need to prevent fine lines from occurring. While boosting hydration and adding additional moisture is an ideal way of combating the skin’s thin elasticity, it can not be done with ordinary creams. This is where it’s important to seek out specialized under eye cream that can add that extra oomph to your under eye.
Some example to try include:
- La Mer Eye Balm
- Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream
- Kiehl’s Eye Fuel
- Shiseido Ultimune Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate
Avoiding Baggage – When our bodies miss out on sleep or are overworked, they tend to store excess fluid underneath our eyes. This build-up can lead to under eye bags, which are never fun to catch on camera. Along with receiving the ample eight hours of sleep, as well as not over-stressing your body with stress and work, there are a few additional remedies and beauty supplies to help ease your baggage for your next eye photography shoot.
- Apply Green Tea bags – Steep the tea bags for five minutes, after the bags have been cooled off in the refrigerator apply then to your under eyes for fifteen minutes at a time.
- Try No More Baggage from Dr. Brandt’s skincare line
Concealer – If comes down to the wire, and you’re out of time to naturally freshen up your under eye, there’s something out there to help make them magically disappear – concealer. Concealer is a lovely makeup tool as it hides the dark circles and helps minimize the appearance of puffy bags. The general rule of thumb when it comes to concealer under our eyes, it to get a shade lighter than your skin tone to create a brightened and awake look (as opposed to concealer for spot correction that is used to hide pimples or blemishes).
Some great examples of concealer on the market include:
- Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer
- Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Concealer
- Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat Face Brightener
Don’t Avoid Your Brows
When it comes to shooting eye photography, many people forget to pay attention and care for their brows. Our eyebrows can do wonders on lifting the appearance and shape of our eyes, whether it’s trimming, waxing, shaping, or accentuating, our brows deserve and little tender, love and care – and trust us, your eyes in your images will thank you!
Shape – There are many different styles of eyebrows and alternating preferences on how to shape them. Between threading, waxing or tweezing, there’s a choice for every type of groomer. The benefits between the three vary, many prefer waxing for the speed and cleanup while others prefer threading and tweezing to help give the brow a definite shape. The cardinal rule of thumb to follow when shaping your eyebrows (if doing at home), is that the slight downward angle should start where your edge of the iris starts on the outer side of your face.
Fill – Having a full and thick brow can matter on camera just as much (if not more) than the brows’ shape. There are both products and treatments out on the market to help individuals fill in their eyebrow. First, many salons offer microblading which is embedding permanent pigment underneath the skin (like a tattoo) to replicate the appearance of real hair on the brows (this is also different from complete tattoo brows). The only downside, those who have tried microblading comment on how it affects the growth of the natural eyebrow hair as well as causes eyebrow hair to fall off. Instead of microblading try some of the listed products below to help fill in those patchy spots on your brow:
Set – Once you’ve shaped and filled in your brows, it’s now time to gel those suckers up and make sure they’re locked in place. There are many gel products on the market to help each hair stay in place, but we’ve listed below our favorites on the market.
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel
- Victoria Secret’s Brow or Never Eyebrow Gel
- Urban Decay Brow Tamer Flexible Hold Eyebrow Gel
Highlight – A vital step in completing your eyebrow look for an eye photography shoot, and to especially make your eyes look enticing and sultry, is applying highlighter. Placed both under and over the brow bone, highlight helps clean up the brow as well as create a more dynamic shape while showing the high points of the eye. You can either go matte or shimmer when deciding between which finish highlighter to apply, both are excellent choices. Matte is generally known to be cleaner looking, while shimmer or metallic finishes catch a more light reflection. Some of our favorite brow highlighting products include:
- Becca’s Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter
- Maybelline’s Master Chrome
- Smashbox’s Step-By-Step Contour Kit (highlight shade)
Accentuate Your Lashes
What’s more sensual and sultry than fierce and bold eyelashes? Especially when it comes to eye photography and capturing daring stares on camera, it’s vital to have a heavy layer of mascara on. There are many different brushes and formula that all play a part in developing and putting to market the perfect mascara. These different styles vary from person to person, so it’s ideal to figure out which style fits your eyes and what you’re looking to gain from your eye look.
Knowing The Differences In Mascara:
While all mascaras come in a tube, there’s a big difference between each one that may seem noticeable to the untrained eye. Below we break down the different types of mascara by their desired end look, some examples of these styles include: volume, angel-winged lashes, length, and fan. Read on to see which is best for you and which you should wear at your next eye photography shoot.
Full Volume – Otherwise known as full body mascara, full volume creates a complete luscious and full mascara by covering every lash with large amounts of formula. The trick to creating this look is the large wand with many bristles and large surface area to store product. Some of our recommendations for the best full volume mascara include:
- Lancome’s Monsieur Big Mascara
- Smashbox’s Full Exposure Mascara
- Victoria Secret’s Beauty Major Lashes Full Volume Mascara
Angel Wings – If trying to create a certain style of winged lashes, try using mascaras that offer an angel-winged affect. By sweeping your lashes off to the side, this is possible by lifting from the root and creating full volume that angles towards the side of your face. This style looks incredible in eye photography as it adds a dynamic and angled look to the center of your face. For an excelled angel wing’d effect try Maybelline’s Falsies Push Up Angel.
Length – When trying to focus on length when it comes to your lashes, it’s important to get the perfect amount of formula from the root of your lash to the very tip – that’s the trick! The way to master this look and create long and beautiful lashes is to buy mascaras with a small and thinner brush. Below, we’ve listed our favorite mascaras with smaller wands on the market:
- NYX’s Professional Makeup’s The Skinny Mascara
- IT Cosmetics’ Tightline Waterproof Full Lash Length Mascara
- Wet N Wild’s MegaSlim Skinny Mascara
Should You Experiment With False Lashes?:
There are many who believe in playing around with false lashes, whether professionally places or simply glued on for the evening. When it comes to individual lashes and installing permanent fibers to your eyelids, there are pros and cons. Pro, these can be ideal for photography sessions that are put in different circumstances that could cause mascara to run. Some of the incidents or places could be: talent are swimming or around water, any emotional setting where crying may be taking place (like shoots at a wedding). The cons, some people claim that permanent fake lashes can cause your real lashes to fall off slowly, so be cautious when applying. The one-time use fake lashes are great for many eye photography shoots. Not only do they lower your risk of losing your own lashes, but you can have any of the desired mascara end look lashes mentioned above.
Playing With Shadow
the is where the true fun comes in when playing around with makeup for an eye photography shoot. While yes, many eyeliners and mascaras come in ranges of color, shadow is the true creative vessel of texture, color, and style. Read on as we go through the ins and outs of master the art of eyeshadow.
Setting A Base:
Before any of the color goes on, it’s vital that a base is set up on the eyelid so that the color stays on perfectly. This is done through a mixture of both cream (or liquid) and powder application.
Liquid/Cream – Believe is or not, just like your skin gets a primer before foundation – so does your eyelid before applying any sort of powder. This helps by creating stickiness on the eyelid that holds and absorbs both the formula and pigment while also making sure the look last longer. Some great eyelid primers on the market include:
Powder – Finishing up on your base, it’s great to go in (on top of the eyelid primer) and add some neutral skin matching eyeshadow all of the lid. It’s been proven that the full eye looks with shadow and all blends together and creates nicer cohesion and consistency when the blending is not done directly on top of the primer – instead of a neutral shade of powder.
Knowing The Difference In Eye Shadows:
Not all eyeshadows are created equal, and it’s surprising that there aren’t too many people that know that. When creating a sultry eye for your upcoming eye photography shoot, it’s vital that you’re aware which colors, textures, and finishes go where on the eyelid. Below we provide a complete 411 on all things eyeshadow.
Mattes – When you hear to a matte shade, it is about the finish of the powder or formula. Its texture is more neutral and is free of any shimmer, glitter, or holographic elements. Many of your palettes will likely come with half matte shades. Some great palettes with only matte shades include:
Metallics and Shimmer – While it’s important to remember, that when you’re creating sultry looks, you may not want to go too heavy handed on the metallic or shimmer – but if done right and somewhat subtly, you’re going to come out with some gorgeous and captivating eye photography images. Great palettes made up on both metallics and shimmer shadows are:
- Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Sultry Eyeshadow Palette
- W7’s On The Rocks Eyeshadow Palette
- Too Faced’s Chocolate Gold Metallic (and matte) Eyeshadow Palette
Transition Shades – These are generally the lighter more neutral shades your swipe across the entirety of your lid as this will be the starting point to where to build up on color and connect each of your shades together. The only two significant takeaways about transition shades, they should be a neutral and matte beige skin tone color that are preferably lighter than your skin tone (by a touch) and they’re swept all across the eyelid.
Crease Shades – This is where you start getting into your darker colors. With a crease shade you can go as bold or dark as you want to, especially if trying to create enticing sultry looks in eye photography. The basic tips to applying crease shade colors to your lid, are to start from the outward corner in. From the outside corner, create a V shape of formula from the lash line to the crease line. It would help if you were heavy-handed on the center of the V and stroking color away from the outward corner working into the middle of your eye (from both the crease and lash line).
Lid Shades – Lid shades are where all the fun happens, this is where the experimenting with fun metallic and shimmering shades come into play. Using your finger, take the lid color of choice and gently tap with your finger onto the center lip of your eye. Once packed on, place a blending brush to work the shade softly into both the transition and crease shade.
Finishing With Liner
The final touch is all about definition and creating detail, and that can only be done with the wonder of eyeliner. And boy, are there lots of different liners out there (all with some many different ways to apply).
Liquid Liner – This type of eyeliner is ideal for the dramatic and sultry eye looks as they created weighted and defined lines on our lids. Fortunately, the art of the application has changed, the difficulty behind liquid liner was drawing from the fact that a freestanding brush had to be dipped in formula then applied. Now there are liquid liners in pencil form that allow for ease of use application, some of our favorites are:
- Tarte’s Sex Kitten Liquid Liner
- Stilla’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
- Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liquid Liner
Pot Liner – This is where the creator is allowed the freedom to use the brush of their choice to create the ultimate unique eye look. The artistry behind these liners comes from picking out the perfect brush and the best formula that will apply easily and work with different style liner brushes. Below are some examples of both pot liners and eyeliner brushes:
Pencil Liner – If you’re looking to create a dynamic smokey eye for your eye photography sultry eye look pencil eyeliners are the perfect option, because not only are they easy to use, they’re capable of being smudged and blended into the shadow to create an incredibly sexy end look. Some pencils on the market to try out include: