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This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

We’ve all experienced getting ready for an outing where we think we look pretty good, so we say to ourselves: “why not take a selfie?”

To your horror, the minute that phone makes contact with your reflection, all that hard work you spent time and effort on goes out the window.

The next thing you know, you’re half an hour late to your dinner reservation because you spent a full 20 minutes running around your apartment like a headless chicken, looking for the perfect lighting to take a good selfie.

Finding the right lighting that makes you look your best can be daunting and a little soul-destroying.

We’ve got your back, though, and we are going to help you find the perfect lighting that will make you look completely flawless.

Understanding Light Color And Applying Makeup

If you are someone who wears makeup, ensuring you are standing in the correct lighting when applying it is very important.

If you are putting on makeup in certain kinds of light, it can influence the application process, and you could be applying too much of one product. For example, if you are standing in more yellow light, this can make you look tired, which could lead to you adding too much concealer.

If you are standing in more fluorescent light, this could make you look washed out, so you are likely to apply too much blush or bronzer.

What Is Kelvin?

When purchasing light bulbs, you are likely to see a number with the letter ‘K’ next to it. This ‘K’ stands for Kelvin and is a unit that refers to the color temperature of the light. To give you an idea, here is a guide on a few Kelvin values:

  • Anything with a number less than 2000K, will have a dimmed glow, resembling a candlelight.
    From 2000K to 3000K will give you a soft, slightly whiter glow, which is common for outdoor spaces and living rooms.
  • Slightly brighter lights from 3100K to 4500K are what you’d normally find in bathrooms, kitchens, and workspaces.
  • Lights with numbers from 4600K to 6500K are bright blue light, most similar to daylight, making them suitable conditions for makeup.
  • Highs of 6500K, are lights that are most commonly found in retail shops and museums.

When it comes to applying makeup, the recommended light color is from around 4800K to 5000K, because it is not too warm or too cool. Ensuring you are applying your makeup with the appropriate lighting, is a step towards looking your best.

However, it doesn’t mean to say, that this kind of color will make you look your best. This is a light color that is good for precision and seeing what kinds of bronzers and concealers you need.

What Color Is Most Flattering?

According to photographers, people with any skin type will usually look best in lighting that measures around 2700K. If we scroll up to our guide, this is what is described as soft white light. Therefore, something that isn’t too harsh, but also isn’t too dim is a step in the right direction.

As important as light color is, we cannot ignore how the position of the lighting will impact how you look.

For example, overhead lighting may give your living room space a clean look, but when photographing someone, overhead lighting can create quite sharp shadows on the face, which can enhance imperfections and wrinkles.

The same goes for spotlights. They can be quite harsh, adding too much brightness to one subject.

You may be asking what will cast you in the best light? You can think of it as asking yourself what kind of light do you enjoy looking at most? Try picturing a warm sunset, or a cozy fire.

Both of these have soft, golden tones which are flattering when reflected on all kinds of faces and skin tones. They are usually pointing at you from the side, creating a lovely, rosy effect on the face.

How can we replicate this indoors, you may be wondering? One way could be using a floor lamp that points up towards the ceiling. The light this gives off, if you look carefully, really resembles a sunset!

However, If you do have that dreaded overhead lighting, you can find some fixtures that enable them to be moved in all kinds of directions. Having them face different angles, will make the light bounce off the walls, creating a nice effect on a person’s face.

When it comes to bathrooms, light fixtures that are circular, resembling ones you may find in a dressing room, are great for the face, making them similar to ring lights! If positioned around the same height as you, the light will soften your appearance, making you look radiant!

Natural Daylight Takes The Cake

Natural Daylight Takes The Cake

While finding the right kind of artificial light is possible and will really enhance your beauty, there is nothing quite like natural daylight to really make you look good, and as a result, feel good.

The key is natural diffused light. When using the word ‘diffused’ we mean natural light that has no harsh dark spots, and no harsh light spots. Everything is evenly distributed and there is a natural, soft light shining down on that beautiful face.

There are several ways this can be achieved. If you are at home, you can start by facing a window. You’ll instantly notice how wonderful you look in that natural light.

Be sure to turn off any lights inside the house, to really notice that daylight. Be aware to make sure you are not squinting, as this kind of light will be too bright and won’t look as good.

You must do this at a time when the direct sun isn’t streaming in through your window, so either wait for the sun to have moved to the other side of your home, move to a part of the house where the sun isn’t directly shining, or you can experiment with using a white, sheer curtain against the window.

If you decide to do this outside, be sure to find a spot that isn’t being hit by the sun. This can cause unflattering shadows on the face. An overcast day will really ensure you are in a diffused light setting, and no unwanted shadows should be visible when taking photos.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Don’t I Look Good In Pictures?

If you are wondering why you are not photogenic, it could be because of your proximity to the camera. Camera lenses can distort parts of the face, making certain features appear bigger than what they actually are.

Can Good Lighting Make You Look Better?

Good lighting, such as natural diffused light can smooth out your face, and get rid of any imperfections, making you look very good on camera. It also emphasizes your eyes, which are a good point to focus on when taking photos.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, it appears that everyone looks their best in natural diffused lighting. These photos do need to be taken during the daytime, but if you are photographing yourself at night, you can experiment with ways on how to position yourself, or your lights to get rid of those unwanted shadows.

Another good idea is to experiment with photographing yourself at sunset, as the warm light hitting the face at angles can be very flattering. Once again, if you are not able to visibly see the sunset from where you are, you can replicate this by experimenting with little lamps and sidelights.