Skin CareMakeup and Beauty

Best foundation for flash photography in 2023

As your special event approaches you might start to think about how you will achieve that perfect look in front of the camera. We all want to look our best in our photos as these will be shared with friends and family, with work colleagues, or even with our employer.

If you know you will have a photo session be it for a family portrait, a celebration, or a portfolio, you need to choose the best makeup products to give you a healthy flawless look. You need to choose the best foundation, one that will resist during flash photography sessions.

When choosing your foundation, take into account that you need a long-wear formula that will stay put under the flashlight, will not dry your facial skin, and most importantly will offer you full natural coverage.

Read here: Makeup trends to try this season.

Flash photography includes:

  • Wedding photos
  • Engagement photos
  • College photos
  • Graduation photos
  • Christening and baptism celebration photos
  • Modeling or acting portfolio
  • Family portraits sessions

How to choose the best foundation for photos and flash:

Here are some tips on what to look for when selecting your foundation:

  • Waterproof – to fight off sweating under the flashlight and avoid streak marks
  • Hydrating – to keep your skin moisturized under the intense light during the photo sessions.
  • Matte finish – to give you a flawless look and avoid reflecting back the flashlight
  • Coverage – You need a formula that offers excellent coverage and hides skin imperfections such as pores, wrinkles, dark spots or redness
  • Blend in – choose carefully your color and buy a formula that blends well into the skin to avoid looking like wearing a mask
  • Illuminating – for that youthful and dreamy expression
  • Long-wear – you want to apply your foundation only once for your photography session to avoid leaving marks on your clothes
  • Pro camera – look for products specially made for photographic sessions

How to apply your foundation for photoshoots:

To give your facial skin a softer, plumper look, apply a good moisturizer cream and even a primer before putting on your foundation. Then apply the foundation by using brushes, sponges, or your fingertips, the way you apply your day to day formula.

Ideally, you should apply your make-up under natural light, daylight. This is because under artificial light you might apply either too much or too little.

When your makeup looks good under the natural light it will also look good in the flashlights as well. If you apply your foundation under artificial light, you need to bear in mind that fluorescent light gives the skin a bright, pale coloring and you might be tempted to apply more makeup than necessary.

Normal light bulbs give a softer light and you need to pay attention to cover all imperfections well and smooth aging lines.

LED and halogen bulbs are closer to the light used in a photo studio and mimic the daylight so applying your foundation under these is a good option.

Remember to take your foundation and concealer with you in case you need re-touches before or during your photo session.

To help you make the best choice we spoke with a professional photograph, a makeup artist, participated in a photo session and spoke with few clients to find out their choices.

After researching the market, we tried and tested a few products and we selected our top picks.

Top picks:

  1. Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation
  2. Yves Saint Laurent SPF 19 Le Teint Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation
  3. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15
  4. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
  5. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil-Free Photo Edition Foundation
  6. Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation
  7. Dermablend Cover Creme Full Coverage Foundation
  8. Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin Perfecting Duo
  9. MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation
  10. Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation
  11. Mary Kay TimeWise Matte-Wear Liquid Foundation
  12. Lancome Renergie Lift Makeup Foundation
  13. Sephora 10 HR Wear Perfection Foundation
  14. Clinique Superbalanced Foundation
  15. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup Foundation
  16. Luscious Cosmetics Camera Stick Foundation
  17. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric
  18. NARS Foundation
  19. Zelens Age Control Foundation
  20. Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Where to buy the best foundation for pictures:

You can find these products online on Amazon, following our links, on the brand’s website, and in shops. Amazon does a lot of discounts and is a great source of reviews from real users so it’s worth checking online your chosen product.

Our makeup recommendations for your flash photography session

1. Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation


  • Offers 15 hours of coverage
  • Is designed for wearing during photographic sessions
  • Excellent coverage for skin imperfections
  • Hydrating formula
  • Glowing healthy look
  • A little goes a long way
  • It comes in 22 shades


  • Comes in darker shades and is a bit runny

Smashbox is widely known for selling products that are made to be used during photo sessions.  The company started with a real photo studio.

No wonder it makes sense that this product was tested and tried by us and went straight on our list.

Another selling point for this product is that it is very easy to match up with a Smashbox primer and a setting powder for the perfect coverage.

2. Yves Saint Laurent SPF 19 Le Teint Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation


  • Illuminates your complexion
  • It offers SPF 19 protection
  • Smoothing action
  • Vitamin E amongst other ingredients
  • Lasts up to 8 hours
  • Comes in 30 shades
  • Excellent coverage and blends in easily


  • Very dry skin might need extra moisturizing as this formula can accentuate dryness symptoms

Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation made by the well-known luxury French brand Yves Saint Laurent made it on the Glamour Beauty Power List due to its excellent coverage offered and the soft illuminating glow that makes it one of the best choices to wear on special occasions.

3. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15


  • It comes in 13 shades
  • This formula is oil-free
  • Moisturizing
  • SPF 15 protection
  • Glowing effect on the skin
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Smooth texture
  • Suitable for older skin
  • Natural look


  • A bit costly but worth the money

A professional makeup artist developed Bobbi Brown cosmetics. The aim is to offer products that give a natural look to its users.

4. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick


  • Offers excellent flawless coverage
  • Nude, natural look
  • Recommended for photo sessions
  • Suitable for older skin
  • Covers redness
  • Doesn’t dry the skin


  • couldn’t fault it

This product was highly recommended by a makeup artist that works in a photographic studio.

The stick is easy to use and store. It gives a natural look and hides skin imperfections.

For the application, it is best to use a face brush.

5. Laura Mercier Silk Creme Oil-Free Photo Edition Foundation


  • Suitable for dry and sensitive skin
  • Is oil-free
  • Suitable for flash photography
  • Natural coverage
  • Weightless
  • Created by a make-up artist
  • It comes in 16 shades


  • Can’t find any

Laura Mercier products were designed by a well-known makeup artist, with years of working experience in choosing and applying the most suitable products for photography.

6. Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation


  • It is color-matching – through pigments
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Oil-free formula
  • Suitable for dry skin
  • Hydrating


  • It dries quickly
  • Unusual packaging choice

Josi Maran products were the idea of a model and actress, working together with makeup artists to bring on the market products infused with naturally sourced ingredients, to offer the best makeup solutions to their clients.

Their products are infused with precious Argan oil.

Argan oil is one of the most expensive beauty ingredients, originating in Morocco. It is well known for its benefits on skin and hair and has been used since ancient times.

7. Dermablend Cover Creme Full Coverage Foundation with SPF 30


  • High color pigments
  • Hydrating action
  • Creamy texture
  • Easy to apply
  • High SPF factor 30
  • Suitable for dry and sensitive skin
  • High-quality coverage
  • Excellent cover for scars, marks, burns
  • 21 shades
  • Non-comedogenic


  • Oily skin needs more attention during the application process

Dermablend is a brand created by a dermatologist.

Their products are suitable for a range of skin needs and mixed the use of ingredients under the highest dermatological standards with the use of makeup artistry knowledge.

Lancome Teinte Visionnaire
Best foundation for pictures: Lancome Teint Visionnaire

8. Lancome Teint Visionnaire Skin perfecting duo


  • 2 fantastic products in one: corrector and foundation
  • Hydrating
  • Vitamin enriched
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to apply
  • SPF factor 20
  • Suitable for all types of skin
  • High-quality coverage
  • Designed to perfect your skin covering scars, dark spots, pores, and even wrinkles
  • 7 shades
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Suitable for all ages even over the 50s
  • It even has a mirror


  • A bit pricey but you get real value for your money
  • An applicator for the corrector would have been handy

Our choices:

After our discussions with other users, reading opinions and reviews, asking for expert advice, and ultimately testing foundation formulas suitable for flash photography, we recommend Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick. This product offers excellent coverage and is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a natural look.

The second place takes Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation.  The company’s history and the products that complement this foundation makes this a winning formula for any flash photography activity.

We highly recommend that you also look into choosing a good primer to use before applying foundation, especially for aging skin. This helps smooth your skin and will make applying your chosen foundation easier.

If any of these products caught your eye please click on the photo and follow the link to buy.

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