The Best Cameras and Lighting for Makeup Artists 2021

Best camera and lighting for makeup artists

If you’re looking for the best camera for a makeup artist, you’ve probably wondered:

How can I get clear shots to show my makeup work and create my portfolio?

Or maybe:

What cameras can take amazing upclose shots of makeup?

In this post, I am going to tell you about the cameras makeup artists use. You will also learn how they use lighting to achieve those clean images that make their job stand out and look like done by a professional photographer.

If you follow these guidelines with the right—and relatively cheap—equipment, you will be able to shoot pictures and videos professionally to build your portfolio or tutorial channel.

When you finish reading this guide, you will understand everything you need to achieve professional-looking makeup photography and video.

Now, let’s get down to business.

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What Kind of Camera Do I Need as a Makeup Artist?

There are three types of camera that you can use: point & shoot, DSLR or Mirrorless. However, if you want to make your makeup photography and video look professional, you will need a DSLR or Mirrorless.

There are different reasons why:

Point & shoot are really bad in low-light situations and won’t allow you to take full control of the video or picture you’re taking.

They generally don’t offer as much high-quality shooting as a DSLR because their sensor is tiny in comparison to a DSLR or mirrorless.

DSLRs and mirrorless have what every makeup artist needs to get high quality pictures and videos.


  • Better colors and image details thanks to a larger and higher quality sensor)
  • They are highly adaptable thanks to interchangeable lenses and manual settings (especially for white balance and exposure)

As a makeup artist, you want high-quality image, perfect white balance and good lighting.

The first two are achievable with a good DSLR or mirrorless camera.

White balance will make your colors look exactly how they are in real life. This is what prevents white tones from looking yellow, for example.

Bad white balance example
Run Away!” by Graeme Paterson. CC.

As you are probably thinking, the ability to configure white balance is essential for makeup. Colors change depending on the type of lighting in the environment.

This means that different times of the day and light situations will make your colors look different.

See how “bluish” the photo to the left looks? This is bad white balance.

These cameras will let you set manually the color temperature, this will allow you to get the right colors in any situation.

Nevertheless, point & shoot and some camcorders also allow configuring white balance manually, but only the high-end ones.

Getting a DSLR or mirrorless around the same price is better since it will give you much more utility in both photo and video.

They also have larger aperture lenses that improve low-light performance and image detail.

If you learn to use their manual settings, you will make sure all your shots are spot on when it comes to exposure and color balance.

Also, it’s very important that you will be able to take pictures in RAW format. This allows you to do a lot of post-production improvements to your photos, especially for color. The best is that this only takes some time and practice to learn.

In general, these large sensor cameras can make your work stand out. They are the only way to go to achieve truly professional photographs of your work.

They might be more expensive and require some basic technical knowledge, but they will serve you well for a really long time if you’re a makeup artist.

But hey, this is just my opinion. Let’s see what other makeup artists on YouTube are saying about what camera they use.

The Opinion of Successful Makeup Tutorial YouTubers

When I was thinking about making this post, two DSLRs came to my mind for makeup: the Canon EOS 90D and the Canon Rebel SL3.

After looking for the best camera makeup artists were using to shoot professional pictures and videos I found that I was, in a way, right. Most makeup YouTubers are using older models of these cameras.

I did a lot of research and found that Canon Rebel EOS cameras are the most common DSLRs between beauty YouTubers.

There are a lot of people on YouTube shooting high-quality, professional-looking videos about makeup with these cameras.

Of course, these YouTubers also use good lighting techniques—which is more important, in my opinion—, but this is something we’ll talk about in a moment.

I want you first to listen to the expert makeup artists that make thousands –and even millions- of people come back to watch their work each day on YouTube.

Sadly, I’m not authorized to say the names of these YouTube makeup artists, but I will tell you how many subscribers they had the moment I did this research. This will give you an idea of the weight of their opinions on this matter.

Here is what camera they use and why:

Makeup Artist #1

  • Subscribers: 3,252,996
  • Camera: Canon 600D/T3i

The T3i is what makes the magic happens

Makeup Artist #2

  • Subscribers: 1,179,017
  • Camera: Sony A77

This one I recommend if you’re looking for doing professional videos on YouTube… It has that very nice professional touch

Makeup Artist #3

  • Subscribers: 478,007
  • Camera: Panasonic HDC-TM90

I’ve been really happy with Panasonic… Everything from how they focus, the reaction time of the focus and everything from uploading on to the computer and the ease of working with the videos…  I recommend a lot Panasonic
The Panasonic HDC-TM90 is the only camcorder I found that was used by a makeup artist.

I believe the reason for this is that she makes a lot of different videos that are not only about makeup. She does a lot of home care tutorials along her makeup videos.

Still, she does use a DSLR (the Nikon D5600 DSLR) to take pictures of makeup.

Makeup Artist #4

  • Subscribers: 72,878
  • Camera: Canon 600D/T3i

It is very popular among the entire YouTube community… so I trusted it would do a pretty good job
This YouTuber also talks in one of her videos about what lens to buy. She says that you should only buy the body of the camera and get a fixed lens with at least f/1.8 aperture—and I totally agree with her, you’ll see why in a moment—.

She uses a Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens for her makeup.

Makeup Artist #5

  • Subscribers: 1,306
  • Camera: Canon 600D/T3i

I would recommend not to go for any video recorder anymore… they’re not as useful as a DSLR.
I like this quote because it’s just what I think about getting DSLRs and camcorders.

With a DSLR you will be able to do exactly what you can do with a camcorder but you will also have better quality, nice low-light performance and more adaptability. Also, although this is kinda less important, the blurred effect background that looks so good in makeup videos is not achievable with a camcorder.

You can get a lens for any kind of vlogging you want to do, and if you learn a little bit about them you will be able to use the camera however you want.

There are camcorders out there that are much more expensive than DSLRs and still can’t accomplish as much.

So, What’s the Best Camera for Makeup Artists?

So, what can we learn from these makeup YouTubers?

Well, we can confirm that DSLRs and mirrorless are almost necessary for this kind of job.

As you can see, most of these artists use a Canon T3i. This model is discontinued and its newer version is the Canon Rebel SL3, which is highly improved with more megapixels and auto-focus for video.

With a Rebel SL3 and a proper 50mm large aperture lens you will have exactly what you need as a vlogger makeup artist.

The reason Rebel Canon cameras are so popular is that they have a really good balance between price and capacity to record professional quality video.

However, if you’re only planning to build a portfolio of pictures for freelancing or starting your own business, you might want a different camera that can take better pictures.

I’m talking about a camera that is around the same price range of the SL3 but that is better for photography than video.

The Nikon D3500 is the best choice if you’re going to show your makeup work mainly with photos. It is cheaper than the SL3 and even better for pictures.

But it doesn’t matter what camera you choose, there’s a particular lens that you should buy with them.

I recommend buying only the camera’s body and get a good fixed lens from the beginning, you can find f/1.8 and f/1.4 50mm fixed lenses for both brands. These are the ones I like to tell people to get. But be careful, it might not be useful for some people. If you want to know more about this, visit this post about what lens to get.

One fixed 50mm focal length lens is what you usually want as a makeup artist. These lenses will NOT cause Perspective Distortion, like wide-angle lenses do. This is really important for your work. You want your model to look as natural as possible. Using a wide-angle lens can make people think your model’s face looks weird, and it won’t be your fault, but they might think it’s because of your makeup.

If the option is available, don’t buy the starting lens kit. Sometimes the camera is not available without it or it costs the same with it. You should check if the starting 18-55mm kit costs the same as the body-only version before buying.

You will want a fixed lens for the improved quality, their higher sensibility to light, better details, and total lack of face deformation —if it’s a 50mm lens. You will only sacrifice having the ability to zoom in and out, which is something I don’t think you should need for makeup.

This is what you should know about your camera. Now, there is another factor that is even more important for makeup work…

Best Lighting for Makeup Artists: The Secret of REALLY Good Makeup Photography and Video

Listen to this:

Choosing the best camera for your work as a makeup artists is a good step, but when it comes to this kind of photography and video, lighting should be your first concern.

Lighting will make a bigger impact in your makeup images anyways, so you want to save some bucks for the lighting kit.

After all, you want to make your work look professional, sharp and highly-detailed. This is simply not possible without proper lighting.

I know what you’re thinking:

“But I don’t know anything about lighting! Hell, I barely know what a DSLR is, how am I going to achieve good images?”

Don’t worry, it is really simple; most makeup YouTubers do it, and they generally don’t start with a lot of knowledge about photography.

Here is the basic equipment you will need to achieve professional-level makeup artist lighting.

Ring Lights


The main light you will need has to be uniform. Ring lights are really versatile and work for every kind of photography, but they’re especially useful for beauty photography. Probably, the best makeup lighting you can get is a ring light

You don’t want any shadow to get in the way of your subject’s face. You also want to create specular highlight, which is the unlocking of certain details that are only reachable when using a proper flash on the subject’s skin. It also creates a natural-looking diffused light.

Another great thing is that it adds a bright ring to your subject’s eyes. This gives them a special effect that catches a lot of attention.

Using ring light for makeup is the secret

Photo by thematthewknot. Copyright is his. License.

An 18″ ring light is what can give you the most diffused, natural look.

The larger the light source is, the more it resembles natural lighting (after all, the sun is quite large).

The larger ring also gives you enough space to set a camera or smartphone inside the ring.

Best Ring Lights for Makeup Artists

  • Adjustable mount for cameras and mobile phones
  • Color filters to experiment different light temperatures (orange, white), Bluetooth Self-timer
  • Size: 18"/48cm Outer 55W 5500K
  • Carry bag
  • Adjustable mount for cameras and mobile phones
  • Color filters to experiment different light temperatures (orange, white), Bluetooth Self-timer
  • Size: 14" Outer/12" on center 55W 5500K
  • Weight: 5.06 pounds
  • Adjustable mount for cameras and mobile phones. This one comes with a lever that makes adjusting the camera easier
  • Color filters to experiment different light temperatures (orange, pink, blue), Bluetooth Self-timer
  • Size: 18"/48cm Outer 55W 5500K
  • Weight: 11.2 pounds
  • Adjustable mount for cameras and mobile phones.
  • Color filters to experiment different light temperatures (orange, white), Bluetooth Self-timer
  • Size: 18"/48cm Outer 55W 5500K
  • Weight: 7.35 pounds
  • Really small, portable and made to use on a table
  • Comes with a small mirror and a mini tripod
  • Size: 8 inches
  • Weight: 2.85 pounds

Fill Light for Background Shadow Elimination

If you only use the ring light, you will most certainly create a shadowy background.

Here is an example:

Ring Light for makeup artists - Photography and video

Photo by Nelson Kwok. Copyright is his. License.

See the shadowy background? You can get rid of it with background light.

This is why you could still use an umbrella or softbox lighting kit to light up the background.

Getting a lighting kit will also allow you to work at any time of the day.

And if you use a background backdrop together with the lighting kit, you can achieve the following result with your ring light:

Fill light and Ring Light: The best lighting combination for makeup artist photography and video

Focus on Imaging” by Barry Zee. Copyright is his. License.

If there are still shadows when you set your lights or your background is overexposed, try moving the lights closer or farther from the wall behind your subject.

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t run into any overexposure problem with the right ISO and Shutter Speed on your camera—something you need to learn when you get your first DSLR.

How to Achieve Great Lighting for Free

If you want to save some money, there are some free ways to achieve good lighting for makeup photography or video.

You can use your windows to illuminate the subject and the background.

You need one window in front of you and a few more behind you to light up the background.

Something like this:

Free lighting setup for makeup photography and video

You might want to put some kind of diffuser in front of the window -like a thin curtain- to achieve the effect umbrellas do with the usual lighting kit.

This is a free technique used by some makeup tutorial vloggers like Carina Stewart to light their YouTube beauty videos.

The problem with this method is that you will need to record or take your pictures during the day. This is not a problem if you own a lighting kit.

Also, some days when it’s rainy or foggy, you won’t be able to get a consistent result. If you’re recording, your video might end up with a lot of brightness variations as the lighting situation changes outside.

With a lighting kit, you can control the light at any time and you can make sure you will achieve that soft and shadowless look you need.

Your Turn to Make Your Work Stand Out

Now you should be ready to start vlogging or building your portfolio as a makeup artist.

Remember to always think about lighting. As a makeup artist you want your work to look as clear and with all the details possible. This is only achievable with good lighting.

Now it’s your turn to start!

You’re welcome to submit any question you have to the comments below.

Good luck and welcome to professional makeup photography!

Will A.

Will is the founder of VloggerPro. He's a YouTube Certified partner and has been reviewing equipment and teaching others how to grow and generate real income on YouTube for the last 5 years.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Bree - June 27, 2020 Reply

I just want to say thank you for putting up this blog!
Such a huge help!
I needed details on which camera to get that will fit my needs for my channel (New Youtuber) because my phone camera just won’t cut it anymore.

I still need to learn how to get the right white balance for my 600D. Haha

    Will A. - June 27, 2020 Reply

    I’m happy to know that you found this article useful, Bree. Canon cameras like the 600d have a function that you can use to get the exact right white balance. All you need is to take a picture of a white piece of paper and use the custom white balance option. Here’s a video showing you how

    Antonia Benko - July 11, 2020 Reply

    There’s certainly a lot to learn about this subject.

토토사이트|토토 - April 20, 2020 Reply

Wonderful article! We are linking to this great
article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    Will A. - April 20, 2020 Reply

    Awesome! Thanks a lot 🙂

Manojnatha Shekhar - April 4, 2020 Reply

Wow.. perfect article I was looking for. As a professional makeup artist, I have to show my previous work to my clients. All the tips and points which you have mentioned in this article are very useful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    Will A. - April 6, 2020 Reply

    Thank you Manojnatha. I wish you great success with your business 🙂

daftar agen judi - April 1, 2020 Reply

Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by chance (stumbleupon).
I’ve saved it for later!

    Will A. - April 3, 2020 Reply

    Thank you, Daftar! Wish you good luck!

souha - November 19, 2019 Reply

Thank you for the information,
i am a starter makeup artist, I already have the Neewer Ring Light Kit:18″/48cm Outer 55W 5500K Dimmable LED Ring Light, Light Stand, Carrying Bag for Camera,Smartphone,YouTube,Self-Portrait Shooting.
I am trying to build up my portfolio by taking pictures from my iphone 6 but the quality are just not that good and they are not doing justice to the makeup in reality it looks way better from the pictures even thought i am using the ring light.
My question is what kind of camera do you recommend there is a lot in the market and i just want one that is easy to use and make my makeup application stand out and of course with a good price not more than $350
please advise
thank you
souha said

    Will A. - November 23, 2019 Reply

    For less than $350, I don’t think you’ll find something better than your IPhone 6’s camera. The the best price/quality relationship camera I can recommend you is the Nikon D3500 that I talk about in the article. It’s just a little bit above your budget, with a little bit more saving you’ll be able to get it.

      Simon Lara - April 1, 2020 Reply

      I am a Mobil Hairstylist and am now venturing into make up and freelance work. I have started my own Mobil styling business, called prestige Beautie The Hair Studio. My goals within a year to one and half years, I hope to open my first location. This is all based on if I do well enough to afford it. My IG is Prestige_Beautie, I LOVE LOVE LOVE! your material & would appreciate it if you followed me, this way I can keep up with your work. I tried to search and can’t find your page, I know it’s something I’m doing wrong. Also the main reason for my comment is what do you recommend I purchase to get great quality photos-(mostly) & occasional videos. Mostly pics for my hairstyling portion of the business, with some of the make-up. Then I am also experimenting with videos for YouTubing tutorials of hairstyling & make-up techniques. I also don’t have the greatest lighting at home all the time. I have many windows but lots of reg sized ones, then the house is further back with many trees around, it’s preventing natural sunlight. I want my work to speak for itself, show the quality, do the work for me in a way but also stay within budget. My clients all mostly have decent lighting in there homes but I would like to be prepared just in case. I would also like to purchase if not everything, what I can that may be easily traveled with.
      To regather my needs and wants, basically I am looking for a good camera/lens for both mostly photos and some videos- YouTubing tutorials, a good ring light just in case one is required for both my hairstyling pics and makeup, some good diffusers and umbrellas that’ll help with shadows when needed, any back drops that may be decent to make it look more professional when doing home visits and taking pictures of my before and after. (Clients sometimes don’t have the tidiest homes) and I’m not sure if flashes have to be purchased separate or required if I have a ring light. If any stands have to be purchased for the tools, keeping in mind I don’t have an assistant, and anything else you may think would be beneficial for me to market myself and my brand. Like I mentioned I want my photos to speak for themselves and show the quality of my work. I’m new to this so need the most help I can get in informing me on what to get. Something easy to use and if motivated easy to learn to use. Hopefully this wasn’t too overwhelming and super long! Thank you so much again!!!

        Will A. - April 3, 2020 Reply

        Hey Simon. For portable lighting, a ring light is the best thing you can use. You can use it to go to work with your clients and for YouTube videos.

        For a camera that is good for both photo and video, it depends on your budget. Check out my recent article about the best cameras for blogging, I talk there about some cameras that are good for both photos and videos: (hint: the Canon EOS m50 is the best place to start for most).

        If you wanna know more about growing on YouTube, I invite you to join my free email list. I have a bunch of exclusive free content there. I also have a premium course you can join whenever you feel ready.

        You can join my email list by click on the button at the top menu “YouTube Business Checklist”.

        Hope this was helpful. I truly wish your business becomes a huge success 😀

Eman - May 1, 2019 Reply

First, I would like to thank you for all the tips and information you keep providing.
Recently, I purchased the Sony a6000 for instagram makeup (mainly closeup shot such as eyes or lips). I also got the macro sony lens for that. But the photos are washed out and they don’t look as professional. I do have a ring light but I think my camera setting is not set properly. I was also thinking of replacing my camera with canon 80D.

Thank You!

    Will A. - May 8, 2019 Reply

    Colors in a Sony camera aren’t as good as in a Canon. However, I don’t think they should look bad either. Have you tried improving them in a program like Lightroom or any other photography retouching program? Make sure to take your pictures in RAW format so you can modify all the colors you want.

Lauren - December 6, 2018 Reply

hey Will, I’m looking washed out in my videos. I find I need to apply waaay more makeup than I usually wear, and even then, it doesn’t seem to show up on camera. I’m using a Nikon 3300 with a 50mm lens-setting typically f3.3/30 shutter speed/and iOS 200-400 with set to auto white balance with a Neewer ring light. I love the brightness with my ring light, but how can I get my videos to look more saturated? Thanks!

    Will A. - December 9, 2018 Reply

    Hey Lauren, this happens because you probably need to increase the saturation in your video editor. Have you tried it out? How to do it will depend a lot on the editor you’re using, but you can usually find many tutorials on YouTube. For example, in Adobe Premiere it’s in the Lumetri Color panel.

Luna - November 6, 2018 Reply

Hi Will!!! I absolutely love everything I just read it was so helpful! However I’m tight for money to buy a new camera now that I have the information though I will save up… However I do have a GE X500 16 megapixel camera, can that be used at all for makeup picture or video? I don’t have a lens for it, I’m not sure if one is even available for it, but I tried taking some photos inside of my house and the quality just doesn’t look great which is weird considering it’s 16 megapixel and some of the Cannons and icons I’ve looked at have 12 to 14 megapixel, is there something I’m missing? I’m totally new to this

    Will A. - November 27, 2018 Reply

    Hello Luna, megapixels is basically the size of the image it takes. You only care about that if you want to print really large picture. Megapixels is not a measure of the quality of the camera; that’s something a lot of people think but it’s not true.

    That camera is a non-interchangeable lens camera so you can’t buy lenses for it, it just comes with that one.

    Test the camera outside during a bright day and take a few pictures to see actually how good it is. A lot of the times is just lack of lighting. You will still want to get a better camera at one point because it is a pretty cheap model so I wouldn’t be surprise if the camera is really bad in low light.

Estefania Giraldo - November 6, 2018 Reply

THANK THE LORD FOR THIS ! this has been so helpful, specially with all the lighting info ! Could I have your opinion ?

I currently have the Nikon D5100, and I was hoping I could still use it for make up shots (including close ups) after a quick research it seems this model is not used by any make up artist/vloger.

Do you think i can still use it by changing my lens? and is yes, what kind of lens will you suggest to get crisp detailed close ups?


    Will A. - November 6, 2018 Reply

    Hello Estefania,

    If you already have that camera, then go for it. The D5100 is a pretty good camera for starters. And the lens you should get is a 50mm prime lens. Good luck!

Lola - October 19, 2018 Reply

Hi! My 16 year old daughter is interested in creating make up videos and be a vlogger on youtube. I am on a super tight budget and was considering Canon Powershot SX530 HS. Is that good for make up videos? What other equipment do I need? Thank you,

    Will A. - October 19, 2018 Reply

    Hello Lola, on a budget the SX530 HS will do for now. I really recommend you get a ring light (around $40), or at least some kind of lighting kit that can cost around $20, that’s what most of the quality comes from. Check this link for some guide about lighting t to help you. Hope this is helpful and good luck!

Robert - August 14, 2018 Reply

Really great article. Thanks for taking the time to explain things in such great detail in a way that is easy to understand.

Anita - June 24, 2018 Reply

Hi. I just stumbled on this page and I must say the info so far has been really helpful. I’m a Make up artist just starting out and I’m torn between the Canon t6 and Nikon 3300 cameras. Which would give me better pictures noting that I will be using the 18-55mm lens that comes with the kit? I’ll invest In an 18 inch ring light but that’s about it. I need help. Thank you. Anita.

    Will A. - June 24, 2018 Reply

    Hello Anita, if you have two cameras around the same price, one Nikon and one Canon, the general rule is that the Nikon will be better for photography and the Canon better for video. This is of course not 100% true all the time, but between these two cameras, I’d stick to the Nikon 3300 for photos.

      Anita - June 26, 2018 Reply

      Thank you so much. You have been of great help.

Katharine - June 4, 2018 Reply

I Thank God for you! This post has helped me tremendously and now I have a genric direction to go and compare. It was still very intimidating but now I have a point of refernce, thanks a lot! You were very helpful to me!

#Freelancemakeup #artistinthemaking

    Will A. - June 5, 2018 Reply

    Hello Katharine, I’m happy to read this. Good luck!

Jenny - May 26, 2018 Reply

Thank you so much for this! I’m a freelance makeup artist but I intend opening a studio soon..ive been using my iphone6s to take and edit my makeup pictures and I’m not happy with the way they turn out..i just want to know if i still have to edit the pictures after using the ringlight and the DSLR camera?

    Will A. - June 3, 2018 Reply

    Hello Jenny,

    If the image has good lighting and the camera exposure is right, it’s not necessary for you to edit them. Although learning some editing basics can help your pictures look more professional.

Arta - May 21, 2018 Reply

Hi Will,please i need your opinion,Im a makeup artist and Im between canon eos 80D and sony A6300,but im more interested in photos,wich one should i pick,or should I go with Nicon cameras,
I can invest in it till 1000 Euro .Thanks

    Will A. - May 22, 2018 Reply

    Hello Arta,

    If you’re using it for both things, even if it’s mainly for photo I’d go for the Sony. I like to think it this way:

    Video = Canon
    Photo = Nikon
    Video&Photo= Sony

ALLYBERRY - March 2, 2018 Reply

Hi Will,
Thank you so much for this article. It was more than helpful as I’m an makeup artist and had no knowledge about cameras and I really needed one, and it’s really nice of you to take time out to reply to everyone’s comment and answering their questions. So my question is (1)- if I get an 18inch ring light and a lens would I still be needing an external flash for my DSLR? And if no, what about in cases where I have to go for a job and decide not to carry my ring light, would I be needing an external flash? And if I do need an external flash which would you recommend (2)- can i use a Canon lens on a Nikon DSLR?. P.s I’m only interested in photographs of my makeup for now not videos or vlogging. Thank you so much. ❤ from Nigeria.

    Will A. - March 5, 2018 Reply

    Hello Allyberry,

    You don’t need an external flash besides the ring light. I don’t think you will get good pictures using only an external flash for your camera. The problem with flashes is that they create a lot of shadows on your subject’s face, and that’s why you normally need another source of light to get rid of the shadows that the flash creates.

    Carrying ring lights isn’t that bad. They come with a nice bag and you could also get a bag for the stand and carry them with you. I know it’s not the most comfortable thing but I don’t think there’s a good alternative. The only one I can think of is getting a reflector and use it with natural light, but you will need a nice, large window for that and you can’t always know if there’s one available where you’re going. You will also need help from someone else to hold the reflector for you while you take the pictures.

    As for the camera, if you only want pictures then get a Nikon. The D3400 is really good for the price and it’s probably the best DSLR for starters. It is also pretty cheap. Oh, and you can’t use Canon lens on Nikon, sadly.

Nancy - January 23, 2018 Reply

Wow, this was helpful. I’m getting a ring light soon but What do u think about Nikon coolpix L330? For makeup photography and videos.

    Will A. - January 30, 2018 Reply

    Hey Nancy, I’m glad it was helpful! That camera is not the most optimal and you should aim for a DSLR, but you can start out with it if you’re on a tight budget and at least you have a ring light.

Sara Perez - January 3, 2018 Reply

Thank you so much for this article!! Im a makeup artist and I just open my own studio so im looking for better quality pictures to showcase my work. Im not a photographer and i have play with my Nikon d3000 and my 50mmm fixed lens for the past years but the images are not what I want. (Im probably doing something wrong i know) . Do you think moving to d3400 will make my pictures improve?

    Will A. - January 7, 2018 Reply

    Hey Sara, Happy New Year!

    Upgrading from a camera that came out in 2011 to one from this year is definitely something that will help a lot, especially when it comes to low-light recording. It will help, but I also think learning to use your camera in manual mode and having good lighting will improve your images a lot more.

Ariane - September 30, 2017 Reply

Great article ! It would be wonderful to have one about the lighting of craft tutorials videos like sewing and drawing tutorials. What would be the differences compared to the lighting for blog videos and make-up videos, etc.
Thanks a lot for any tip you can share !

    Will A. - October 12, 2017 Reply

    Hi Ariene

    I’m thinking on doing an in-depth guide on lighting for any Youtube channel in general. Glad you liked the tips!

Teena - August 27, 2017 Reply

Hi .. First thing, I wanna thank you for the incredibly useful website. very informative. I was looking for a camera to take close up of make up shots and I want a camera where the highlights and the colors will show. I’ve been using my Galaxy s7 edge phone and it does no justice to the makeup done. I will be mostly using this for pictures and maybe for short videos. I do not want something big like a DSLR. I want to setup a small workstation with a minitripod and I when go to clients for makeup I do not want to carry a huge camera along with me. Which camera do you think best suits my needs. I was thinking of the canon g7x ? or the mark 2 ?

    Will A. - August 28, 2017 Reply

    Hello Teena,

    Depending on your budget, I would recommend you a mirrorless camera. They have the same sensor size as a dSLR but are much smaller (they have low battery life consequently). Some good models to look for are the Panasonic G7, Panasonic GH4, Sony 5100, Sony a6000, Sony a6500 all depending on your budget and if you want a flip screen or not. I’ll make a top mirrorless article soon, and those are some models that I plan to include.

Zakia Ahmad - July 11, 2017 Reply

Hi I loved this post, really helped me understand quite a bit. Do you think Nikon D5300 would be good?

    Will A. - July 14, 2017 Reply

    Hey Zakia,

    Sure, it is a good option to start out

Afrah - July 6, 2017 Reply

Hiiii dear
What should be the setting for a Canon D60 camera for a makeup photoshooting??

    Will A. - July 11, 2017 Reply

    Hi Afrah

    There isn’t an exact setting that you can always use as there’s always different lighting situations. What I can recommend you is for you to learn a bit about using the manual settings of your camera (controlling ISO, lens aperture and shutter speed) so you can adapt your recording to the current conditions, and always making sure you got the right white balance. These are all things you can learn from a good online course.

Arden - May 20, 2017 Reply

Hi there,

Would you recommend either of these cameras for makeup/beauty related videos:
Canon Rebel XTi DSLR camera


Nikon D5200 Camera with a Nikon 50mm f1.8D lens

    Will A. - May 22, 2017 Reply

    Hello Arden,

    I always recommend Canon Rebel Tis for video and Nikon cameras for photography.

Fabi - April 20, 2017 Reply

Hi what do you think about the sony a5100 camera? It is also popular among a lot of beauty/makeup artist vloggers.

    Will A. - April 26, 2017 Reply

    Hello Fabi,

    It’s a really good camera overall for vlogging, even in 2017. I still recommend it if you want a camera to carry with you as it’s really light, easy to carry around but still records very high quality videos. However,

    I do prefer a DSLR to record on a tripod from home, but honestly, there’s nothing wrong going for the a5100 or other mirrorless camera for makeup videos, apart from the fact that they have low battery life.

allan paolo gupit - February 19, 2017 Reply

I own an old version of Sony Nex 5 camera. Is it good for taking close up makeup photos? Or is it better for videos? Or should I get another camera? Thank you -pao

    Will A. - February 21, 2017 Reply

    Hello Allan,

    I’m sure you can start taking good photos with that camera if you get some decent lighting, maybe with a ring light

thysia - January 25, 2017 Reply

dis was helpfl, bt can i still get a nikon 3300 with 50mm lens, ring light nd d umbrells lite nd still get beta quality in video?

    Will A. - January 30, 2017 Reply

    Hello Thysia

    If you want to do both videos and photography the D3300 is a good option. Using good lighting will help a lot more than buying a really fancy camera in terms of video quality. But if you only care about video the t5i or t6i are better options.

Yetty - January 20, 2017 Reply

Thank you so much for the post, it is really helpful. I have canon 70d, ringlight +diffusers and a softbox with two umbrellas but i never knew about the light settings until i read your post.

    Will A. - January 30, 2017 Reply

    Hello Yetty,

    I’m really glad that it was helpful!

Aidi - January 20, 2017 Reply

Hi Will.
I just came across your write up. Really helpful. I currently have a Nikon d3200 with 50mm lens to take pictures of my work, Is this as ok as the d3300? Plus any other portable alternatives for the lighting. I currently have the 18″ neweer ring light which is ok. But putting in consideration with carrying my makeup box and chair and camera and lighting. Its all a little too much for my 5″ self. So trying to reduce my load as much as possible. Any other good lighting options that are more portable for when I go to my clients place?

Many thanks

    Will A. - January 30, 2017 Reply

    Hello Aidi,

    It’s not worth to upgrade from the D3200 to the D3300 because the difference isn’t really that big, the most important thing is your lens and you already have a good one. And about your ring light question: it’s really hard to find a portable ring light; it’s something that you will most likely need to deal with if you really want to get good lighting.

Mahwish - November 30, 2016 Reply

Loved the post. Helpful in many ways.

    Will A. - November 30, 2016 Reply

    Helo Mahwish

    Thanks for your comment, glad I was helpful 🙂

jade - November 30, 2016 Reply

Hi pls is the canon t5i the same as 700d?

    Will A. - November 30, 2016 Reply

    Hello Jade

    Yes, it is the same. 700D is the name in Europe.


Allison - November 21, 2016 Reply

Is there a camera that’s good for both makeup videos and photos?

    Allison - November 21, 2016 Reply

    I was looking into the Sony A5100 and the canon 600D

      Will A. - November 28, 2016 Reply

      The Sony a5100 is really comfortable to carry around and very vlog-friendly.

    Will A. - November 28, 2016 Reply

    Hello Allison,

    The Canon Rebel cameras I mention here are really good for combining both.

Sarah - November 15, 2016 Reply

Thank you so much for this post! I’m a makeup artist (just started). I got the Canon 7D camera and I’m thinking of getting a Canon 50mm 1.8 STM lense. What do you think of this?

    Will A. - November 19, 2016 Reply

    Hello Sarah,

    That’s a really smart choice if you’re a makeup artists. You might want to consider getting the f1.4 if you have the money to invest; it’s the best one available and the price isn’t that different.

phoebe - November 6, 2016 Reply

Thanks for all the information it was so helpful I got canon 600 d and recently I bought sony A5000 wih 35 m lens I like the sony better easy to use:)

    Will A. - November 6, 2016 Reply

    Hello Phoebe

    Glad to know the article was helpful. Mirrorless cameras are definitely easier to carry around and that’s why I love them 🙂

Esther - October 4, 2016 Reply

Hello I’m a makeup artist I had the intention of getting canon EOS T5i for my pictures before I read your post. Should I still go ahead with your advice by getting Nikon 3300 and canon EF 50MM 1.4 LENS with a ring light?

    Will A. - October 5, 2016 Reply

    Hello Esther,

    The Nikon 3300 only better if you only plan to take pictures. If you’re going to include filming, the T5i is better. And yes, that lens and a ring light will improve its quality a lot.

Kaylee Bee - September 12, 2016 Reply

Hi there!

My husband recently bought me a Canon Powershot SX60 HS. Is this camera good enough to start out with? It’s a point and shoot if I recall correctly.

Thank you so much.

    Will A. - September 13, 2016 Reply

    Hello Kaylee,

    Yes, you can already start making videos with that camera. Later you can upgrade to a DSLR to increase your quality. As I said in the post, I think you should worry more about your lighting, being a makeup artist.

Daniella - July 26, 2016 Reply

Thank you so much for this blog. I’m starting to confuse myself – I had decided on the Canon G7x because I don’t want a large camera to take on bookings but still need the detail and the colour accuracy, I also like to take a lot of close ups (without necessarily using the zoom). Do you think this is still a good camera choice? I like the sound of the Nikon D3300 but the size and the lenses daunt me. :/

    Will A. - July 27, 2016 Reply

    Hello Daniella,

    The G7X MII is the best vlogging camera out there, and the G7X you mention is also great if you want to save some money. In your case, since you want to go out a lot with your camera just go for the G7X; you can take great pictures with good sharpness and colors thanks to its high quality lens, and it’s easy to carry around (and you can also do good closeups with the 100mm focal length).

    I just recommend DSLR here because most makeup artists record their videos from home, so their size isn’t a problem. But I hate carrying DSLRs around; I would always choose a camera like the G7X to take with me on trips.


Jo - July 23, 2016 Reply

Thanks Will for this post. So helpful.
I got a ring light not the one you recommend but a neewer, that’s the only available in . But right now for shadow elimination I can’t decide if I should get an octagon softbox or a rectangular softbox or just a couple of umbrellas? What would you recommend?

    Will A. - July 23, 2016 Reply

    Hello Jo,

    Umbrellas are more comfortable to carry around but rectangular softboxes provide better control over your lighting (it lets you set the lighting more precisely, which lets you control the shadows on your face a little bit better). Between octagonal and rectangular, it’s about personal taste. They define the shape of the lighting you get. I like octagonal for closeups.

Jackie - July 21, 2016 Reply

This is extremely helpful information! I’m not doing a beauty/makeup blog per se, but will be shooting videos from about 6-8 feet in front of the camera. Do you think a ring light is still appropriate? I have two windows in the room I’ll be shooting in as well. I’ve heard great things about the ring light but I wasn’t sure if it’d work for my videos. Thanks in advance!

    Will A. - July 21, 2016 Reply

    Hello Jackie,

    I’m glad you’ve found this post helpful, answering your question:

    Yeah I think you won’t be able to use that Ring Light that far away from it. It displays a really diffused light that simply disappears if you’re too far away from it. You will need to use lighting boxes at your sides if you’re setting the camera from that distance.

      Jackie - July 21, 2016 Reply

      Thank you!! What is the furthest you’d recommend being from the ring light?

Lisa - July 14, 2016 Reply

Hi! So I’m starting up my beauty YouTube channel. I’m focusing on recording makeup/bodypaint looks so things like autofocus etc are important. I take makeup photos with my phone, and I’m fine with that. What camera/camcorder would you recommend? I would love a DSLR but that is insanely out of my budget at the moment. Cheers!

    Will A. - July 15, 2016 Reply

    Hello, Lisa! It’s hard to tell you which camera would be the best since I don’t know what’s your budget. For lower budgets, the first camera that comes to my mind is the Canon Powershot G9X, but it isn’t exactly cheap. But you can still navigate to my budget posts through the upper menu. There you will find different articles about cheaper cameras (they say for vlogging but they work well for makeup —btw, if you have a higher end phone you might be able to take better pictures than with a cheaper camera, so you might want to save some money for a DSLR; it really is worth for this kind of job.

    Cheers 🙂

Yasmihng - July 14, 2016 Reply

Thank you so much for this insightful article. I have already purchased the light boxes that help cast away shadows based off your advice and I shall be plunging in to invest in everything else you recommended as well from this post. You truly are a blessing!

    Will A. - July 15, 2016 Reply

    Hello Yasmihng,

    It makes me really happy to read comments like this after writing thousands of words. My readers are the true blessing to me.

    Thanks for cheering up my day!

Sandra Amadi - June 24, 2016 Reply

Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate. I got the light out of the way. Do you think I should sell my Nikon and get a canon? Looks like every makeup artist uses a canon. What lens do you recommend for my Nikon to get good quality, clear makeup shots?

    Will A. - July 1, 2016 Reply

    IMO, you shouldn’t sell your Nikon D5200 unless you’re getting a much better camera (one that is at least above $1000 only the body). If you decide to sell, you can go for Canon if you want to record a lot of videos or another Nikon if you need it mostly for photography. That’s the general rule.

    You can visit my guides on Canon and Nikon cameras if you want to know more models.


Sandra Amadi - June 19, 2016 Reply

Hi, thank you so much. This was very helpful. I have a Nikon d5200 (was thinking of selling it for a canon) I am trying to get the best lighting for my beauty photos. However I am considering mobility as I move about all the time. If you could recommend just one light which will it be? I want an overwhelming bright light. Also do you know where I can get customized back drops?


    Will A. - June 20, 2016 Reply

    Hello Sandra,

    A ring light will always be my recommendation for makeup, precisely because they are really bright. You can get a ring light with good mobility like this one. You can find some customized back drops on Amazon, although there aren’t too many.

    Don’t hesitate to ask again 🙂

Wendy - June 18, 2016 Reply

Such a helpful article which was sincerely intended to help. Thanks so much. I have a Sony HX400V but maybe because I do not quite know how to set it manually, I cannot get good pics of my work. Will try your suggestions instead.

    Will A. - June 20, 2016 Reply

    Hi, Wendy

    That’s not a bad camera so you should achieve good pictures with it. Maybe you’re not setting white balance correctly or you just need to use better lighting. That’s why it’s always good to learn about the technical part of photography. I’m thinking about making a course about it for vloggers. If you want I can add you to my email list so you receive a notification when I release it, plus some other free guides I’ll send soon to improve your beauty channel 🙂

      Jo - July 23, 2016 Reply

      Hello! Can I be added to the list too? All this information is so helpful. Thanks a million ! What microphone can you recommend for voice overs and what software for editing ?

        Will A. - July 23, 2016 Reply

        Sure Jo, I will add you soon 🙂

        For voice over, I like to use USB microphones. You can find a list of good options here

        Regarding editing software, you can start with one that comes with your computer (Windows Movie Maker if you use Windows or IMovies if you use Mac)


@jstluv4makeup - June 8, 2016 Reply

This article was so helpful.i have always wanted to get the best camera and lighting too that I can use for my work.thanks so much, it was so helpful.

    Will A. - June 8, 2016 Reply

    You’re welcome! I’m glad it was helpful!

Erin - June 5, 2016 Reply

What sort of microphone works best for makeup vloggers, and what is the best way to achieve close ups of say the eye?

    Will A. - June 5, 2016 Reply

    Hello, Erin!

    If you’re going to speak in front of the camera (while recording yourself) shotgun microphones are the best. But if you want to record from behind you can really just use any other microphone from my list of best vlogging microphones. There you’ll also find good shotgun microphones in different price ranges

    As for eye closeups, with a 50mm lens you will be able to start getting a close shot of the eyes. However, if you really want a macro shot, an 85mm is better.

J - June 3, 2016 Reply

I have the Nikon D3300 but I find that I can never get my makeup to show up adequately in photos, the colours always appear faded or non-existent.

zee - April 15, 2016 Reply

Thanks for this, you’ve just enlightened a soul!

    Will A. - April 15, 2016 Reply

    I’m glad I was helpful to you, zee! Good luck with your makeup 😉

    Mary ann - August 18, 2016 Reply

    Hi. I have cannon eos 1100d. Do you think its nice for makeup beauty shots? Thanks alot 🙂

      Will A. - August 18, 2016 Reply

      Hello Mary Ann,

      Why don’t you test it recording some videos for your channel? In the end it’s more important to start recording content as soon as you can. You can then save some money to get a better DSLR later on if you want to improve your image quality.

      Good Luck!

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