Four Ways To Get Camera Ready
How to ensure you’re (Insta-)ready for your close-up
For a privileged few, the blinding flash of a professional camera is part and parcel of daily life. For the rest of us, the ubiquity of smartphones means we are forever at the mercy of Instagram, bad angles and poor lighting. We have to put on our good face, both literally and figuratively, despite all the photographic obstacles.
The camera may not lie, but in our experience, the lens does a whole lot more. It ruthlessly amplifies the truth in high definition. Stray hairs become an iconographic halo of frizz, a fine line morphs into a dehydrated facial fjord and pores look like bottomless caverns of despair. And, as for the infamous 10lb that the camera decides to add? Make that 20.
There are, however, a number of hacks from wily industry experts that will get you camera ready in relatively little time. Most of these techniques and products are used by celebrities in the run-up to red-carpet events, but now that they’ve made their way into the public domain, they can be exploited by us all.
Upgrade your facial
There’s only so much you can do to overhaul your face at home before calling in the professionals. Ms Debbie Thomas, who is famed for her high-tech approach to skincare, recommends the HydraFacial, a machine-driven facial that cleanses, hydrates and plumps the skin for an instant camera-ready glow with no downtime. The treatment occurs in stages. First, your face gets vacuumed with a contraption and then, through a kind of dark magic that we don’t fully understand, the tip of the machine starts to drive an antioxidant and collagen-rich serum deep into the dermis.
“It’s good for photoshoots because the hydration goes deeper into the skin, so you get plumpness and a glow but no shine,” says Ms Thomas. “And by exfoliating the dead skin, you are revealing a healthier and brighter surface underneath. In terms of imperfections, such as pores or fine lines, the look of these will be diminished, too.”
The high-frequency ultrasound works on key muscles, causing them to shorten and tighten for an instant, non-invasive facelift. Ms Hagelquist’s lauded handiwork makes an appearance, too, as she uses lymphatic drainage and muscle-toning techniques to de-puff and tone skin. “It’s the combination of the lymphatic drainage and the HIFU that ensures the contours of the face are redefined, emphasising the cheekbones and jawline for the perfect picture,” she says of the marathon treatment. This makes The Supreme Facial a more suitable option for gents with jowls and/or multiple chins rather than congested skin.
Resist the lather
For guys with short and textured hair, it’s hard to go wrong on a shoot, provided you’ve invested in a good wax, powder or gel. The issues come when your hair is a little bit longer. Mr Daniel Martin, session stylist and global styling ambassador for Goldwell, has some counter-intuitive advice for gentlemen with longer locks who don’t always get it right in front of the camera.
“The problem is normally freshly washed hair,” he says. “Yes, everyone needs to stay clean, but freshly washed hair tends to have flyaways or have too much volume. There’s a fine line between hair looking naturally shiny and that point, usually day two or three after washing, when it just looks greasy.” In other words, you don’t want to overgroom, but you don’t want to abandon washing altogether, either. Somewhere in between those two extremes is your moment.
“The trick is to figure out how long you need to wait after washing until your hair has reached its optimum condition,” says Mr Martin. And this, dear reader, is simply about experimenting. If you absolutely can’t go a day without washing, then invest in nourishing hair products that don’t have too much alcohol in them. We recommend playing with leave-in conditioners, control creams, such as Christophe Robin Moisturizing Hair Cream, or gels, such as Bumble and bumble Bb. Gel, to make the hair look and feel like it hasn’t seen running water for a couple of days.
Pre-Photoshop your face
Skincare technology has come a long way in the past few years, and many brightening products emulate a healthy glow by way of tiny, light-diffusing particles. These cunning ingredients make an appearance in concealers, “radiance” serums and moisturisers. But it’s the light-refracting prisms in NIOD’s appropriately named Photography Fluid that will get you the best results on camera. The formula combines light-refracting prism with tone-correcting ingredients, which makes it a lot like Photoshop in a bottle.
The bio-silica prisms reflect light in thousands of different directions, which has the benefit of evening out skin tone. The blurring nanospheres (think Vaseline lens) reduce the appearance of blemishes and minimise pores. Finally, the hue correctors reduce redness and offset yellow tones. It’s all smoke and mirrors, of course, but it means you’ll spend less time toying with the final image in post-production.
If you plan on going shirtless or wearing form-fitting clothes in front of the camera, we’re assuming you’re already on a fairly strict workout regime. But there’s one (fairly controversial) trick fitness models use in the run-up to a shoot to get that extra bit of definition. Water loading is a way of drying out the body so that you lose as much subcutaneous water as possible, making you appear more “cut” on the day of the shoot.
“I wouldn’t say this is a healthy thing to do, but the process involves drinking a huge amount of water in the days running up to the shoot,” says Mr Matt Hambly, associate style editor at Men’s Health who underwent a radical body transformation for the magazine. “This will cause you to wee. A lot. Then you have to cut right down to just a cup the day before the shoot. You’ll keep flushing water and eventually dry yourself out, revealing what, if any, six pack you have.” He admits that water loading feels horrendous and that messing with vasopressin, the antidiuretic hormone, isn’t exactly sensible.
Mr Chris Miller, a personal trainer and teacher at Triyoga, underlines the pitfalls with the method. “Unless you have a body fat percentage of nine per cent or lower, the visible results will be negligible,” he says. Moreover, the risks of hyperhydration are well documented. “Water toxemia is a disturbance in brain function that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside safe limits by overhydration,” he says. Don’t do it.
Another, far safer, and much better option on the day of the shoot is to stuff your face with Haribo and sweets while doing pushups in a corner. This may sound counter-intuitive, but scarfing down carbs will saturate your muscles with glycogen, causing them to “swell” for the camera.