Investigates: What Happens Behind The Scenes at a Beauty Shoot

hannah and derrick

Ever wondered, when you look at the glossy results of a beauty spread on the pages of a magazine or newspaper, just what went on to create the finished look on the model? Well hey -'s here to give you the down-low: a few weeks ago I worked on a Christmas beauty shoot in association with Brown Thomas for my Irish Examiner Weekend magazine column.

Location was the personal shopping area in the Dublin store, makeup artist Derrick Carberry was on board to work his magic and the model was Hannah Devane, who you'll know if you watched the most recent series of Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model. Photographer Paul Sharp from Sharppix was on hand to capture the finished results for the paper, and the resultant piece was published last Saturday.

products used

derrick carberry's brush kit

Derrick Carberry's teeny tiny brush kit. He better ask Santa for a few more, eh?

For starts, we bashed ideas back and forth via email, settling on a fairly classic and achievable combination of a luminous, highlighted base, smokey eye and nude, glossy lip. On the day itself, Derrick had chosen a big swathe of products from the store's beauty counters so he had tons to play with from brands like La Prairie, Mac, Giorgio Armani, Laura Mercier and Chanel.

beauty shoot

Derrick at work making up Hannah's face, and some key products used

Hannah's a great study for beauty shots - her features are well defined and she has beautiful skin as well as the best set of lash extensions I've seen for some time. "Where did you get them?", was the question of the day. Up to my Eyes in Greystones was the answer - so there you go!  Derrick began with base, prepping with La Prairie Gold Illusion Line Filler, €125 (top right). A beautiful shimmering whip, it adds a golden gleam pre-foundation. He then applied Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, €41, with a Mac 188 brush.

Contour and blush were courtesy of Chanel Soleil de Tan Bronzing Powder, €42.50, with Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in No. 82, €36, dusted on the apples of the cheeks. Lumiére Sculptée De Chanel Highlighting Powder, €55, was used on the high points of the face.

Mixing it up and away from the more usual black smokey, Derrick used one of Mac's new Pro Longwear shadows in Through The Night, €20.50 (middle left). Mac shadows in Kid and Contrast, €15 each, as well as Mac Smoulder Eye Pencil, €17.50, on the waterline, were also used. The key to this look is in the blending: pick a brush like the Mac 224 and work it well until you're happy there are no harsh lines. Finally, brush lashes with Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effect Faux Cils Shocking Mascara, €31.

For lips, it's all about soft and pretty - but of course you can vamp it up with a red or a berry colour if you'd like.  Derrick applied Crème de la Mer The Lip Balm, €58, to condition skin, before applying Laura Mercier Lipstick in Brown Sugar, €24. Finishing touches? A dab of Laura Mercier Lip Glaze in Lilac, €27 (bottom right).

pix being taken

Once we were satisfied the makeup was flawless, it was time for Paul's job to kick in and he brought Hannah to various locations around the store to shoot her.


paul shooting hannah

beauty shoot

I had to crop a puzzled looking aul wan out of this particular image ...

beauty shoot

But what you all really want a gander at is the finished makeup, isn't it? Uhuh - thought so!



A beautiful base, super-smoked eyes and a glossy, nude lip. It's a gorgeous look and she wears it so well.

All that remained was for me to write the piece for the paper and for Paul to file his shots to the picture desk.  Above you can see the amateur fruits of my picture-snapping as I documented the action, but Paul's provided me with some of his pro shots as well, so you can see the difference in quality and the resultant images that end up being used in the print editorial:



Pic credits: Paul Sharp, Sharppix

A couple of weeks later I headed to the newsagent to buy the Examiner to see the fruits of all our labours:

beauty shoot results


So, there you go - a look into what goes into the making of a newspaper page.  You'll never look at a beauty editorial the same way again!

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