Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog?

by Paris B on · 65 comments

in Discussions,Simple Blogging Tips (for beauty bloggers),Tips

extreme closeup Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog?

Hello all! icon biggrin Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog?

I haven’t been talking about blogging tips for a while (cos I’m never very sure how helpful it is, seeing as to how there are so many other wonderful bloggers out there doing a much better job of it!) but I was thinking about this one recently as I did some image searches on the internet.

I notice that it seems de rigueur for many bloggers who blog about beauty, to include an extreme close up of the product being reviewed in action, primarily, makeup. This could be an extreme close up of their lips, eye and especially, nails.

I’m curious to know if you feel, as a blogger, that an extreme close up of your eye, lips or nails is “necessary” when you blog about beauty. Is it something you feel compelled to do because everyone is doing it? As a reader, as much as we appreciate the work and detail that goes into an extreme close up, do you think it “necessary”?

I don’t pay a lot of attention to nail polish but I find online swatches very helpful when deciding on a colour, if I’m looking at a brand unavailable locally. The thing is, more than once, I’ve seen a beautiful extreme close up online, showing off a beautiful smooth application and lovely shimmer only to find when I receive it that it may not be quite as beautiful. I may realise that the shimmer is only detectable close up, as in the extreme close up online, and not when viewed from a normal viewing distance. Few of us thrust our nails in the faces of others, I’m sure so a lot of that beauty is probably reserved for personal pleasure. I have nothing against nail bloggers – I could never do their job; but I would really appreciate a distant shot as well as I do the extreme close up just to see how things look from a distance.

This is true also of other examples of extreme close ups of eye makeup and even lips. I do these close ups too, which a lot has to do with peer pressure (haah!) but I have realised when going around the blogs and the internet, that plain and clear swatches and/or a “look” done to show how the colours work overall helps me much more than an extreme close up does, because it shows how it works from a natural viewing distance. Not only up close and personal. In fact, I find 2 eyes more helpful than just 1 – also true of seeing. You have to use 2 eyes to see the full picture icon razz Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog?

You may think me hypocritical to raise this, considering I too am as guilty of it, but I am doing a bit of reconsideration in terms of presentation of reviews, because as I said, I realised that the way something looks generally gives me a better idea of how it works than an eye or lip in isolation (unless there is a colour comparison going on in which case, it can be quite useful). Perhaps, half a face, or a portion of a face, if one is not inclined to show the whole face, just to see how that pretty eye looks, when you pull away from the tight macro shot. Is the detail noticeable from a distance? Does a wonky eyeliner really matter when one isn’t looking at you from 2cm away?

But that’s just me so I’m opening this up for discussion icon biggrin Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog?

Do you find it necessary to have extreme close ups in a beauty blog? Do you find that it helps you?

I personally don’t think it necessary although I have to admit that I admire the work and detail that goes into it. I don’t find it helpful per se as I find that a shot that is pulled further back helps me more than a tight one. I salute all the bloggers who do extreme close ups beautifully and in fact, the majority will. But sometimes (or maybe not just sometimes) it can be a little unnerving stumbling across a hairy lip or an unruly brow in extreme close up icon razz Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog? Ah the perils of blog hopping icon wink Simple Blogging Tips: Are Extreme Close ups of Makeup Necessary in a Beauty Blog?

Paris B

Simple Blogging Tips are some simple tips I have for fellow bloggers, based on my own experiences. I’m no ‘guru’ but I hope they will help you. You may read up on previous Simple Blogging Tips here or please feel free to ask your question in the comment box or in email.

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[ 65 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

dani January 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

I think both are important! I think with close ups, you can really see the nuances of the product — shade, shimmer, texture, etc. But you’re right, it’s also incredibly helpful to see a product used in an entire look because you can then see how it works with other shades and textures.

Like you, I’m now considering doing more full-face shots when reviewing individual products. But in all honesty, I like to stick to close-ups coz I’m too lazy to do my whole face. :p
dani recently blogged…Lipstick Bandits: The Secret Santa Look SwapMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

You’re right about close-ups, Dani. I suppose its helpful to know just how a product looks when blended on skin, maybe. Perhaps it looks chalky up close when it might be lovely from afar. Just that I’ve been following some blogs that don’t do close ups of facial parts anymore and I realised that it was just as helpful to me. That said, its also much easier to just have to e.g. put on a lipstick for a review instead of slapping on a whole face just for one lipstick review :D

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Teri
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

As a reader I really appreciate both. Like you said, it’s nice to see the overall effect from a distance but it’s also great to see it a bit closer. That’s why I do both on my blog. Sure, it takes a bit more work but I just know how people can prefer different views so it’s nice to be able to cater for both :).
Teri recently blogged…Givenchy Noir Couture MascaraMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Ah you do your photos so well too, Teri! I like how you do the close up and the full shot. It helps me understand better how a colour or eye look may look “in real life” as opposed to just on a disembodied eye :D

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kuri
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

You make a good point – the close-up doesn’t reflect the actual effect of the product, so it’s often misleading.
This is actually why I stopped reading nail blogs – everything looks fantastic but I really can’t start wanting everything.

Still, close-ups are really pretty :D

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I admire anyone who can apply makeup well AND take a good close up! Oh without all the bits of random hairy bits that might creep in :P I don’t really look at nail blogs unless I need to have an idea of what the colour will look like. Most of the time I’ve found that some (especially if they take under artificial light) tend to look too shimmery and I get disappointed when I see it in real life because its not.

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Mirifique Beauty January 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

I have just read this post and also on the bottom was another post about 10 things bloggers may not tell you. You had me in stitches, brilliant and i completely relate to every single one of them points hahaha.
On this post, I love close ups but i also check out many blogs to get an overall view on the same product.
The ones i hate the most are the pics and videos done in artificial light. Natural light is the only way to go and no shade looks good or true in artificial light. So message to the bloggers who do that out there. Don’t ! It does you no favours and i never check back to them sites.
Lovely clean pics in a neutral background every time and your a winner with me

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casey23 January 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I must agree with Mirifique Beauty, rather than close ups, artificial lighting is more of an issue for me. Blog reading is of course for fun but I usually get notes to buy products and lighting really needs to help me. Brands already use photoshop and artifical lighting for their promo pictures, I don’t believe any other artificial stuff is unnecessary.

But to talk about the subject, I don’t want to sound mean or shallow but I rather want to see pics of nails, lips or eyes in better condition too, especially nails..

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm

You’re not shallow, Casey. I think if one wants to put their face/eye/lips/nails out there, they should ensure they are putting out something that looks good and clean and neat. I’m sometimes guilty of being a little slipshod but I try to clean up as best I can! :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Glad you enjoyed the other post! :D I had great fun writing it. You’re right about natural light – its the most helpful in terms of colour but I suppose for some, artificial light may have to be the way to go due to weather or free time available. My beef is not so much with the use of artificial light, but with the failure to apply the white balance and adjust the colours to better reflect the real colour.

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LeGeeque January 11, 2013 at 9:15 am

To be honest, I don’t care much for pictures. To me, it really is a bonus. What draws me in (or repel) – the words. Nerd :P
LeGeeque recently blogged…11/31: Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in MacaroonMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Haha if only everyone thought like you do! :D

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Tine
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 9:18 am

Hahaha I thought you might write this up after I saw your tweet about asking if people actually hold your hands up to their faces to see your nail colour :P

Good one! For me, oh yes I need to see things close up for makeup. The ability of having such detailed shots of eye makeup, nail polish, etc is what separates beauty blogs from magazines. It allows me to decide if I want to get a specific nail polish or lipstick (or not) from how good it looks close up on the blogger. Of course, I’m never going to have anyone right in my face to see what my eyeliner looks like, or have my fingers shoved in people’s faces on how my nail polish looks like. It’s good enough for me to know.

The thing with the unruly brows and moustache? It’s a wakeup call for us bloggers to get that sorted out if we want pictures of ourselves that close up! :D

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Christine
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Tine, my colleagues actually do hold my hands up to their faces to see my nail polish. Funny things people do eh.

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Tine
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Yikes! Talk about pressure to keep your cuticles tidy >.<

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Yeah, I wasn’t going to write it but then Juan asked if I was and I thought, hmm… why not? I’m clearly in the minority here for not prefering extreme close ups but I can see how useful they can be to others who may be a bit more particular than I am about texture up close :) I actually prefer good close up swatches because that shows me the actual texture. Application is to me, arbitrary :)

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Lily
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 9:41 am

I think both are important. I like close ups because I want to see how the different colours are placed, especially for eye makeup. The details can only be enjoyed up close in real life, so that means us appreciating it ourselves. However, I’ve had some friends asking to look at my eyes up close, because they wanted to see how I put it together.
An overall look is also great because we get an idea of how to put everything together, so I’m with Dani, saying both are important, but when I don’t post a complete look, it’s because I’m lazy -_-
Lily recently blogged…Easy Step by Step Guide to Sultry Eyes with Dior Rose CharmeuseMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm

The only way I can manage to post a full look is when I have it on in the morning and take the picture before work so I do literally wear my FOTD out to work, however extreme (or not) they may be :) I’m usually too lazy to even put on any makeup on weekends even to do reviews but I can see why some people do prefer viewing close ups of application. My personal preference is for close up swatches for texture but I suppose that’s what makes us all different :)

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xin
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 10:15 am

I think taking a closeup lip shot is a tricky one, esp when we can’t control the growth of whiteheads or moustache…or whatever isn’t concealable… I guess if under those circumstances, best to take on overall shot
xin recently blogged…New Brand from New Zealand: Linden Leaves Absolute Dreams Body Oil ReviewMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I think for many, an overall or at least a more distant shot is preferable to one close up complete with hairs :P

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peach_ January 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

Are you talking about me? :P

I take close-*er* up than life-size photos, too, because I *do* hold makeup right up to my face to admire its texture, subtle color nuances, micro-shimmer, how it responds to light, etc. I just really enjoy cosmetics, not only as pampering products, but also as something of an “art form” to be admired. I appreciate seeing them from a different set of “eyes;” from the bloggers’ photography, which is an art form in itself.

On a helpfulness level, no, it’s not “necessary,” but nothing really is. I like seeing both close-ups (the glitters looked like THAT?) and zoomed-out views (that lipstick really brightens up her complexion!) No need to feel guilty for doing or not doing something; just enjoy the process. :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Never you Peachy one! :D I think its primarily because you go for creamy nail polishes vs shimmery ones so the colour is true whether close up or far away. Also, you tend to do a slightly further shot that shows all your fingers and then a nice tight close up one so it gives me a good idea of what it’ll look like. Its the ones that have all purely tight shots that make it hard for me to gauge nail colour as a whole and I guess it bugs me >.<

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Sabrina
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

yep! its very useful! i am more attracted to it because i want and in dept reviews of it. in terms of makeup tutorials of probably pore product review. but it really depends.. i adore clear pictures when reading blogs!

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Sabrina :) I think clear photos are definitely key. Its so hard to appreciate a review when the photos are blur or dark

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Jenn
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

I appreciate both too! The clozeup are necessary IMHO especially for eye makeup (for makeup noobs like me to learn how to place colors) and lip products (to see if it settles into the lip lines, goes on evenly or not, etc) while the overall picture is to see if it suits my skin tone or not (especially if the blogger has the same skin tone as myself).
Jenn recently blogged…Product Review: Essence Stay with Me Longlasting Lipgloss in 04 TrendsetterMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I think I’m the only one not finding eye or lip close ups not useful LOL! I tend to gloss over those images maybe because I am not terribly adventurous in how I do my eye makeup >.< I do find sometimes that lip close ups show too much - dry lips (not perhaps attributable to the lipstick) hair, etc >.<

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nicoles mirror January 11, 2013 at 11:08 am

Hmm…I don’t feel that I have to do it because everyone is doing it. But I do love it when bloggers includes close up photos. Since close up allows me to scrutinize every single details…I think why not. ;)

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

That’s a good point :) I guess I tend to gloss over these sort of details hence I don’t pay too much attention to them on any blog haha! :D

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Nikki January 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

As an online researcher for cosmetics, I appreciate both! Extreme close up is great as I can see the texture and exact shade while those that are pictured quite far is still ok for an OVERALL view…as long as the photos are clear! that’s more important to me! :D
Nikki recently blogged…AMW Reviews: Benefit Dallas BlushMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Haha I agree with you Nikki – clear photos are the most important, whether for close up or far away!

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Cas January 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

It’s not necessarily important but it would help us gauge a better idea of the color. But then again, if someone is really keen on buying, regardless they would still go to the store to sample the color in person, coz sometimes what you see in photos online,might differ in person and might not even suit your skin tone. So long the photo is clear (even if it’s not a close up photo) it’s good enough for me :)
Cas recently blogged…The Window To The SoulMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I actually prefer close up of swatches vs close ups of application because when I shop online and need to check colours of items we can’t get here, it is the swatches I find most useful. But yes, clear photos. They trump it all :D

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Seline January 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Hmm…now that you mention it, I do appreciate the overall effect of the colour on the face as a whole more than a close-up shot of it. However, having a few close-up shots of the product would be helpful at times, eg. mascara on lashes. I find that some nail colours don’t photograph well, though. Would there be a difference between the zoomed out and close up shots?

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Do you mean for nails? I personally find that there is a difference for me. Sometimes, the extreme close up of a nail polish on nails shows all sorts of gorgeous colour or shimmer but when viewed from a normal viewing distance (zoomed out) the details may not show. Also sometimes close up, its hard to gauge or imagine how it really looks overall, just like a lip in isolation. Its hard to gauge how that colour may look in an overall face shot.

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Victoria January 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm

As a reader, I would prefer both. Having said that, close ups does not necessarily influence me to buy a product because I still need to try it out to determine if it would look good on me. For make-up both methods are helpful as it would entice me to test it on myself but for facial stuff like oils, sunscreen, moisturiser, etc, a thorough explanation about its texture, effects, how good it is and so on (which you are doing a great job here i must add) is more important to me.

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thank you Victoria. The close ups would be mostly for makeup and I suppose it does play a part to influence someone to check a product out, when they see how pretty it looks in a close up picture. The importance of that of course, is that it has to be a well executed eye/lip/nail to start! Can’t imagine a close up of a grotty look (which I’ve seen and wish never to have >.<)

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Hanny Daforcena
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

I agree with most of the comments – I prefer BOTH ^.^ Actually I do extreme closeups for my FOTDs esp: the eyes. Sometimes I even show only one eye! However, I also present the entire face as well, to show how the look pulls together.

However, I believe that closeups are necessary for stuff like eyeliners and mascara. You can show a lot in terms of wear over time with those, i.e. how much they smudge, how long the lashes will be after application etc. etc.
Hanny Daforcena recently blogged…Hanny’s Summer Holiday Haul! (AKA: Hanny’s 400th Post, WOOHOO!)My Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I suppose if one was more prone to doing a before/after shot of wearability then maybe it matters. I guess I’m just not fussed about detail, since I go for simple looks and so don’t feel the need to experiment too much haha… But I do appreciate the work that goes into doing extreme close ups! Its tough!

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Kay January 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I like both, it just depends on what is being shown. For lips, blush, foundation, I prefer the full face. For eyes, I want to see close ups as well as a full face. However, if they are missing, the blog can still be great, e.g. The Beauty Look Book. And sometimes when they are included, I cringe because certain parts of their face (e.g. lips) are not particularly attractive and look bad magnified 10x. Taking good representational photos without offending is really an art and I appreciate the work put into them.

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Oh yes, I think good swatches and good clear photos are sometimes enough. A look or an image of how to wear a product is optional in my book, although imminently helpful :) I do tend to agree with you too about the photographing technique that goes into taking close ups. Often, people forget the fish eye effect when going too close or they ignore elements like enlarged nostrils because of camera angle etc. It can be quite a shock to the system seeing those haha!

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Issa January 11, 2013 at 4:02 pm

for a reader’s point of view, it is helpful in a way but it would be more helpful if there’s a photo from a distance too. so for me, it is not necessary, it’s just an added bonus. :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I like that – a bonus! :D Actually, I think any blogger who puts out a face/feature shot is already a bonus! :D

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Sam
Twitter:
January 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I like the close up of lips for colour and the nail ones (good for checking opacity, if the polish is streaky). The eye ones are not as important, but good to try to attempt the same look. Saying that, any picture is good as long as it’s in focus!
Sam recently blogged…Lasting Damage by Sophie HannahMy Profile

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 20, 2013 at 8:57 am

You know, Sam if I were to take close ups of all my nail shots, no one would ever buy the polishes, coz they all look streaky on me LOL! My application sucks. I have one that is terrible on me but I see that others get it so smooth. So I think its got to be me! But as you said, good clear pictures are probably best, nevermind close ups or not :)

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Marla January 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Sometimes closeups are my favorite pics. I really like to see both a closeup and distance shot in order to see if I like a product.

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 20, 2013 at 8:58 am

I think having both is ideal :D

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Jyoan January 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm

I must admit that I have been influenced by Temptalia a lot. I didn’t started out doing extreme close-ups.

However, the reason I took to extreme close-ups is because I personally find them very useful! For eyes especially, I find it essential because the close up shows how the colours layer over each other and blend into each other, which gives me a good idea of how good the quality of the eyeshadow is, and thus how easy it will be to work with that eyeshadow. I am not so particular about one or two eyes because I know that if the quality is good, I will be able to create a good look for myself on both eyes. I am not an MUA, so my skills are not good enough to work magic out of poor quality eyeshadows.

I also find close ups of lips important enough because it shows the quality, like chunky or not chunky, sheer or not sheer. I am very particular because I only want to buy opaque enough lip products. And I hate chunky lip products. However, for lips, I think it is extremely important to have the full face, and preferably matching full face makeup too, because lip colours seem to look different with different colours on the cheeks and eyes. As such, I myself am very particular that I provide the full face when talking about lip products, unless it is a mass review (haha, just did one). For mass reviews, I do try to collect my FOTDs over a period of time, so that I can provide full faces for all lip colours. But sometimes, really it is way too much to do, so I end up only providing lip swatches.

For blushes, full face is more useful as well, especially since blushes look different on different skin tones and skin colours. However close ups are still important enough that I will provide it. I normally do an FOTD with blush reviews. haha, and I admit that I am lazy enough to use the same FOTD to review several items… oops. =PPP But I think using the same FOTD isn’t that bad, because it provides readers with makeup combination, like what colour will go well with what other items… … So I don’t have much guilt doing this.

Nails, I think close ups are a must. But I would appreciate far away shot, perhaps the hand holding a clutch bag or pen, etc.

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 20, 2013 at 9:03 am

Thanks for your thoughts on this, Jyoan :D I personally find close ups of swatches very useful to evaluate texture but I suppose I’m not fussed about how it applies on eyes primarily because I realised I rarely if ever, apply shadows the same way as everyone else LOL! So sometimes a technique that gets the most out of a certain product doesn’t work for me because it risks looking muddy when blended the way I do. Still, I guess its all helpful one way or another. The only thing I suppose that bugs me is that some people who do extreme close ups, don’t show their eyes/lips/nails at their best :P

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Jyoan January 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm

By the way, I’ve said it before, but I would like to say again, how much I love your fashion shots style photos.

I think it is a great way to showcase a product in real life. So I know how I can match makeup with say, a hat, a sunglass, a clutch, a top, or even shoes.

haha, it is something I hope I can provide for my readers one day. But I am still not accustomed to running outdoors in brilliant sunlight, putting the tripod there, and crazily posing. I don’t have anyone to help me with photography, so… … I realise I am going cock-eyed because I do too much self-photography. Really want to change this.

Love Xiao’s blog also because of this… she is great at doing more than headshots all the time.

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

Oh and thank you for this! I didn’t realise I did fashion shots posts hehe… I think I’ve only done 2 to date and then I realised its too hard. I don’t have the flexibility time and location anymore and I also realised that to have a good fashion photo you really need someone who knows how to take photos for you. A tripod only gets you so far and is pretty inflexible. Otherwise for when I do take photos at home, its the tripod for above the waist shots and for now, that’s all I can manage :D

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Catherine January 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I love to look at close ups of nail polish. Im also guilty of trying to find something imperfect in close ups of celebrities (LOL). I dont think extreme close ups are necessary, I find the pics of full make up using reviewed products much more useful :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

Nail polish close ups mesmerize me! But when I get the product, I’m like “Erm… is this it?” haha…

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S. Drama&Makeup January 11, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I love when you talk about blogging Paris, you always make me think more about what I do. I’ve recently shared some of your past posts on the subject with some italian blogger friends, they always offer an interesting prospect on stuff.
Talking about this particular topic I have mixed feelings.
I love seeing a complete look and a close up as well but I never do them. I feel like I don’t do anything particularly special/good with my makeup so I don’t feel the need to share it.
Recently I’ve started showing lip products directly on my lips but I’m not quite sure this is a good thing… I mean, we all have lips with different pigmentations, right? So my pics could be kind of useless…
Alright, my comment doesn’t make sense at all.
I missed commenting on here but I often read your post before going to sleep on my blackberry and then forget about coming back to leave my thoughts. I know, I’m awful.
Hope you’re doing great x
S.

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Paris B
Twitter:
January 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

Hi S! I’ve missed hearing from you too but I’m glad you haven’t abandoned me LOL ;) I hope you’re doing well where you are and thank you for enjoying the blogging posts even though they are few and far between. Its great to know it helps you and your friends as bloggers going forth. Actually I disagree with you about lip swatches not making sense. They do make a lot of sense because it shows the product against your skintone. Although our lip pigment are different, we can always mention that in the post, but how the color shows up against the rest of your face helps me, and could help someone who has the same skintone as you do. Somehow, arm swatches just aren’t the same, to me :) So I think its terribly useful so keep it up! :D

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