IG worthy makeup photos: Cameras vs IPhones... is there really a difference?
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Instagram is an endless sea of over filtered selfies and candidly posed photos. In the beauty community, it has become the industry standard to make sure our makeup is perfectly symmetrical, skin having no texture, and colors to appear almost three dimensional as they flood our feed.
At the beginning of my career, it was easy to relate to the challenges that many of us starting out have faced. Are these beauty influencers' photos so perfect because they're being facetuned? Was it shot on an IPhone? What kind of camera are they using? How do they get their makeup to photograph so well? These are the questions I pondered and thus navigated to find the answers within my 5 years in the industry, and I've come to the conclusion that... yes, there is a difference.
After graduating makeup school, I put all my money towards my kit and building my business little by little, so that didn't leave me room to buy a professional quality camera. Like most of us, I owned an IPhone 7 plus (still do) and that was all I had to capture my work. For Christmas one year, I was gifted a Sony a5100, a camera that was perfect for capturing the ultimate makeup selfie. But before having that camera, it was so easy to feel discouraged when I would compare myself and my work to that of Instagram. Why did my work look so great in person but not on my phone? Did I need to add more makeup? Am I just not good enough? As I'm sure all of us makeup artists have pondered those questions, the answer is this: whether you have a professional quality camera or an IPhone, it's all about the lighting, makeup placement, and the overall quality of the photo you are looking for.
In these side by side comparisons, you can see distinct differences. The LEFT photo was taken on a Sony a5100 with a flash and ring light. The RIGHT photo was taken with my IPhone 7 plus and a ring light. As you can see, both photos capture the essence of the makeup, but with very different details. The photo taken with the camera captures more of the true nature of the colors and textures that are being used. The photo taken on the IPhone is a bit more grainy and doesn't offer as much color vibrancy. Both are Instagram worthy in my opinion, but when it comes to trying to show the quality and technique that we makeup artists have to offer, the difference is clear. If you have a camera, use it. If you have an IPhone, use it. All in all, the difference in quality is apparent, but true artistry will be captured no matter the device used to capture it.