black and white photo of close up of bride getting lips finished


Wedding hacks and makeup tips.

10 Professional wedding makeup tips revealed

Professional wedding makeup tips and industry secrets you don’t want to miss. By professional wedding photographer and leading makeup artists…

If you’re getting married and researching practical wedding makeup tips for your special day, then this is the place for you.

The below article is crammed with advice, industry secrets and real stories from professional wedding experiences to help you get the best out of your wedding day.

What’s different about this “Wedding Makeup Tips” Blog is that it’s from a photographers perspective… You might not be thinking about it now whilst you’re looking at chair covers and arguing over seating plans, but once the day is over, all that is left is your wedding pictures!

With that in mind, you will want to be happy with how you look in your pictures…

My name is Wes Simpson, and I’m a leading UK and destination wedding photographer specialising in luxury weddings and emotional images.

I understand you might be thinking ‘what the hell does a male wedding photographer know about makeup?” But this article will provide you with an unbiased perspective on how to look great in your wedding photos and get the most out of your wedding day. 

During my 15+ years as a Wedding Photographer, I have travelled worldwide and worked some fantastic makeup artists, some of which I’ve interviewed for this article.

I’ve photographed 100s of faces including super happy confident brides and sadly I’ve also whiteness the pitfalls and things not going to plan.

In the below article I will share with you all of the wedding makeup tips that I’ve picked up along the way so that you can look great, feel relaxed and have confidence in how you will look in your wedding photography.

If there’s anything else, just ask! 


Grand picture of bride sitting at makeup table with reflection in the mirror

Wedding planning 

I am proud to say that during my wedding photography career I’ve won multiple awards and seen my work featured in celebrity magazines such as Vogue and Hello! 

These experience together with a background as a camera-man working on popular TV shows with celebrities, models and actors have given me a fantastic insight into the world of fashion and wedding makeup.

I believe weddings are a collaboration. The couple and their wedding vendors are working together to not only achieve the couple’s dream of a perfect wedding day but to use their knowledge, insights and experience to not only meet their client’s expectations but to exceed them.  

Planning the perfect wedding can be stressful and choosing the right vendors can be a daunting process, especially as you’ve not planned a wedding before. There are so many products and services to choose from (especially photographers and makeup artists) and you don’t want to make a mistake. 

So to help you with your wedding planning here is a list of wedding makeup tips you don’t want to miss. These are based on observations from photographing more than 400 weddings together with practical tips from professional makeup artists. 


hand applying lipstick to brides lips

Wedding day makeup timings 

The biggest wedding makeup tip, from a wedding photographers point of view, would be to do with timing. This is somewhat of a controversial topic, often with the makeup artists, hairstylists, photographers and other vendors all batteling for your time. 

But as I stated before, weddings are a collaboration with everyone working together to achieve the perfect outcome. With this in mind, scheduling your hair and make-up for the right time is essential as this frequently runs over.

For weddings at noon, usually, the hair and make-up professionals come to your home or hotel room for about 7 am (obviously, this depends on how many people’s makeup they are doing etc, so best to check with them).

It’s really important that you do not go last as you may be in the situation that everyone is ready but you, due to this you may lose out on photographs before the service. Especially if you are planning a ‘bridal reveal.’ 

Another thing is, and I’ve sadly seen it a few times, if the bride has her makeup done last and for whatever reason, the makeup artist is running late or the bridesmaids have taken longer than expected, the reality is the bride gets rushed!


Black and white photo of bride having make up done my makeup artist Alice Theobald

When to get ready on your wedding day

Just like in a Hollywood movie, you are the star of the show. As a photographer, I am there to photograph you, so with this in mind, I’m guessing you would want to feel confident in your appearance for the photographers’ arrival? 

I’m not suggesting the bride should be fully ready for when the photographer arrives, but having base makeup on or being 2/3rds ready is very logical and value for money. 

When I arrive I usually spend the first half-hour photographing the details, this includes things like the dress hanging up with the excitement of it about to be worn.

During this time I’m photographing in a documentary style, naturally capturing the build-up of the day. Therefore the bride would naturally be in these pictures (although not posed).

Something unplanned and magical could happen during this time (for example, your reaction to reading a surprise a letter or if any unexpected gifts arrive); would you want pictures of this going in your album without any makeup on?  


wedding makeup tips bride with hanging dress getting makeup done

Wedding makeup and natural light 

I usually suggest a room which is tidy and with lots of natural light when photographing the bridal preparations, I stress this when I speak to the couple at the planning meeting leading up to the wedding day. I’m setting myself up for success by ensuring I’m in a tidy room with lots of natural light.

However, the craziness of a busy room can also tell an interesting story, it all depends on what story you want to tell and how you would like your wedding day to be documented.

I can’t highlight enough the importance of getting your hair and make-up timings right. If planned correctly, you’ll have enough time to get fantastic bridal prep images and you will be more relaxed.

The best place to get your hair and makeup done is in front of a big window, this not only provides nice natural light for the makeup artist to work in but your photographer can take beautiful photos of you getting ready.

Window light also gives you a true representation of the makeup against your skin tone. Be aware that the artificial tungsten light in hotel rooms etc will give your makeup a warmer appearance (especially in pictures).


beautiful portrait of taken from above

Bridal reveal and portraits of the bride 

For me, I always try and photograph the final stages of the makeup preparations ‘the hero shots’ and once the bride is ready, I suggest some simple bridal portraits of you looking your absolute best. 

I photograph the day 75% documentary, naturally capturing the story as it unfolds. But, as you’ve hired a professional makeup artist and hairstylist, your hair and makeup are all done, you’re wearing the perfect dress and hired a professional photographer you might as well take the opportunity to get some beautiful portraits! 

By being ready in plenty of time you could plan a bridal reveal and take the opportunity of having some portraits taken. Just think, if it rains or you cry during the wedding you would already have some picture-perfect images of yourself in the bag before you’ve even left for the ceremony. 

Plus, I know all the grooms love these pictures! and let’s not forget, by taking the time to have these precious portraits taken you will have a stunning social media profile picture and a lasting portrait of yourself as a Miss before becoming Mrs. 


Striking a balance 

A lot of makeup artists will contradict my advice and insist on doing the brides makeup last! With their wedding makeup tips being “Get your makeup done last so it will last longer.” 

As a simple man, I never understand this logic, I assume if they are using good products this wouldn’t be an issue… and what about the other 12 hours of the wedding day, if your makeup isn’t going to last an extra hour on the morning? But more importantly, the benefits stated above must outweigh this? 

Wedding makeup final checks 

I come to your wedding from a television background and I’ve also worked with some of the best wedding makeup artists in the industry. One thing I’ve noticed about the very best makeup artists is they don’t leave until the bride is fully ready, in her dress and after the ‘reveal’ if doing one.  

Passionate makeup artists not only want to see the ‘final’ creation of their work but will often ask to check the images on my camera and provide final ‘touch-ups’ as required to complete the look. 

A simple but effective idea for the wedding morning is for everyone to match PJs or dressing gowns as this looks a lot better in the getting ready photos.

Also, it’s a good idea not to wear socks on the morning of the wedding as this can create a ring on your legs and the same goes for a bra if wearing a backless dress.


colour photo of happy smiling bride and groom

The smell of happiness! 

*Bonus tip! OK, technically this isn’t a wedding makeup tip, however, if you smell good, you’ll feel good and if you feel good you’ll look good!

Invest in a new perfume, one that you haven’t used before. The reason being, instead of using your daily fragrance to which you are familiar with, using a new fragrance will help trigger memories and a connection to your wedding when you encounter the smell in the future. 

Plus, for extra fun, you could choose your partners fragrance and send them as gifts to each other on the morning of the wedding day. This would not only provide a talking point as to whether you made the right selection but it might make for an extra photo opportunity. 


Portrait of model bride with white horse

Wedding makeup tips: Ask the experts

As I view weddings as a collaboration I put the question to my makeup artist friends on FaceBook asking a host of professional MUA’s what their favourite wedding makeup tips are, and here are the replies.

To begin with, we have wedding makeup tips from a professional makeup artist that I had the pleasure of working with on a Hello! magazine photoshoot.

Alice Theobland from Wonderland hair and makeup is a highly sought after makeup artist in the television industry. Regularly painting the faces of celebrities on popular TV shows such as ITV’s Downton Abbey and BBC Strictly Come Dancing. 

Alice says, I always try to make the makeup as waterproof as possible as it can be an emotional day for the bride. Professional makeup artists work with the latest and best products, all of which have been tried and tested for success. 

Lancashire based makeup artist Jenny Clayton says – My wedding makeup tips would be to make sure your makeup still makes you feel like you. Always be true to yourself. 

One of the best wedding makeup tips I have is a practical one. If you have to put your dress over your head, place a silk pillowcase on your head before putting the dress on; this makes the dress slide on easier without ruining your hair/makeup or getting it on the dress. Makeup By Emma Brown 

Always have a tissue and a mini lip gloss/ lipstick tucked into the cup of your bra. To stop any tears running down your face and to always have a nice lip throughout the day for your pictures. Kate Christopher 

As an MUA – know your bride’s skin!!!! I’ve seen so many times where a bride has oily skin and the MUA uses a water-based foundation – not good think of oil and water mixing, or dry skin and someone uses Matte which is going to cake the skin! So yes know your skin combinations. Emma Lampkin 


Photo of beautiful model bride with old-fashioned camera

Professional wedding makeup artists top tips

Sarah Jayne Gandy says – My top wedding makeup tips would be to have the lipstick shade we (the makeup artist) use to reapply throughout the day / also a beauty blender with the foundation dregs on, so to speak that we have used that morning to pat the skin if needed after kisses and tears throughout the day.

Also, stay true to yourself not what a typical bride is meant to have – and have the makeup shade/tone that you are used to so you still feel yourself. You always want to look back at pics and smile and not think why did I change my makeup so much.

Makeup artist and former teacher at West Lancs College Gill Johnson wedding makeup tip is to be yourself and have makeup and hair you will still love in 50 years at your golden wedding anniversary. 

MUA Leha Lorraine says – Always have a trial beforehand, so you have full confidence in your makeup for the big day. 

Stay hydrated on the run-up to your big day, drink plenty of water and your skin will glow, and you will also see a big difference to the appearance of fine lines and pores. Maria Murray 


Groom kissing happy bride on neck

2022 wedding makeup ideas 

Sam Jane Marshall Ruby Slippers Makeup & Hair always recommend that brides stay away from current fashion trends and keep everything timeless and elegant. To much contour and oversized lashes will date and not photograph well. 

Steph Elkins Always wear waterproof mascara and make sure your foundation doesn’t have a high SPF causing flashback on your photographs.

Natasha Skelton is one of my favourite makeup artists, not least because I photographed her wedding but in our early years we would collaborate endlessly on test shoots practising our crafts. 

Natasha is an MUA with an incredible CV, not only has she owned a salon but she is a Loreal ID artist and has worked on TV shows such as This Morning. Her wedding makeup tips are:

Have a strict skin regime, monthly facials including face peels, cleanse tone and moisturise morning and night and drink plenty not water. You will achieve a more flawless makeup if the skin is well hydrated. 


Man having turkish shave

Bonus! Wedding makeup tips for men 

1. The best wedding makeup tip for men is to hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to the wedding. 

2. Visit a steam or sauna a few times in the lead up to the big day.

3. Invest in a facial and include eyebrow trim and shaping, this can help to open up your eyes.

4. If having a Turkish shave or a hair cut with a skin fade think about red patches caused by skin irritation and schedule your visit to the barber’s chair accordingly. 

5. Use a decent Matte based moisturiser and don’t be afraid to use additional products to treat dark circles under the eyes, blemishes and pimples. 


Portrait of vintage looking groom with glasses and pocket watch

Wedding photographer 

I hope this Wedding Day Makeup Tips blog post by a professional wedding photographer has provided you with some useful information and has got you thinking about your wedding day. If you are booking me for your wedding photography I’ll have a good chat through all of this and more in your pre-wedding consultation. 

If you’re planning a wedding and would like me to be your wedding photographer; visit my portfolio for examples of work, the blog for the latest weddings, and my approach page to photographing your wedding.

Contact me today for a free wedding brochure, schedule a meeting or to reserve the date. Until then good luck with the rest of your wedding planning.

Similar Posts


PLUS: Special offer – book this month and get a FREE social media highlight slideshow. VALUED at £175.