Tips: make-up without an artist

Many productions can't afford their own make up artist so it's down to the presenter or production to apply their own. John Woodbridge offers some simple techniques to help presenters look their best on camera, saving time and avoiding re-takes.

As a presenter, first impressions are very important. A smart, professional image can help communicate a polished and concise story. But presenters are not always surrounded by an entourage of make-up and hair artists. Quite often, they are working in smaller teams, left in charge of their own appearance and with the added pressure of high definition.

"Even a single strand of hair, caught in the breeze, can be very distracting in HD." – John Woodbridge

According to professional make-up artist John Woodbridge, being out and about with HD shouldn’t be an excuse not to look your best on camera. There are techniques you can learn to help you look good in HD if you haven’t got access to a make-up artist like him. All you need to look good on location is a few minutes to do these three checks.

Spot check
Any blemishes, spots, red ears or razor nicks can be easily fixed with a dab of colour matched concealer or full coverage foundation. Any professional make-up outlet can help you find the correct shade for your skin colour.

Compressed powder foundations are easy and quick to apply, give good coverage but aren’t messy to use. You should also use this makeup to cover any areas of excessive redness as these can really show up in HD.

Female presenters should pay particular attention to lip colour. Always carry lipstick or lip gloss ready to reapply if necessary.

Male presenters should check for an overly strong beard shadow. Unless it’s part of your image, a rugged five o’clock shadow might need to be toned down by applying a little foundation over the beard line.

Oily complexions and perspiration are not ideal for HD. Make sure you blot problem areas such as the nose and forehead, with a tissue before you apply powder to mute the shine. Removing excess shine with a tissue before powdering stops the powder from clogging on the shine which could make the situation even worse. So even if these aren’t normally concerns for you, always take 30 seconds to check for shine in your makeup mirror before going on camera.

If you’re filming in bright ambient light, or are using location lighting, it’s helpful to check for shine in those lighting conditions, ideally in the spot that you’ll be standing in when you’re delivering your piece to camera.

This is a quick check around the perimeter of your on screen image to make sure that there’s nothing there that could distract your viewers. Even a single strand of hair, caught in the breeze, can be very distracting in high definition.

These three checks will help you look great in HD. But here’s one extra check that should definitely be in your HD prep bag.

Use a suitable sunscreen before you apply any makeup, making sure you don’t forget the back of your neck and the tops of your ears. Pop this into your HD prep bag along with your location kit to make sure you always look great in HD.