Makeup and Photography Workshop

On Tuesday 4th February, our Year 10-13 girls’ media students hosted Karen Wagner to run a makeup and photography workshop.

Karen Wagner is a London based Makeup Artist who was trained at The Christine Blundell Makeup Academy. Karen has experience working in film, TV and theatre. The students especially liked that Karen worked on the latest Aladdin film and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Students from Year 10 and 11 focused on the iconic styles of 1920s, 1960s and 1980s makeup. They brought in clothes and accessories which also evoked these eras for their photoshoot. Our Year 12 and 13 students worked on horror special effects. As part of the course is looking at different genres, the girls were very keen to understand what goes into the makeup behind the scenes of a horror film. This was a fantastic way that all students worked together as a department to understand the pre-production for a media production.

One of our Year 11 students wrote: “In class, I was granted the opportunity to explore on-screen makeup in a studio setting. First my class and I were introduced to a professional makeup artist, Karen Wagner, who specialises in film and TV. She taught us how to create fashionable looks from past decades, using mood boards, demonstrations, and a verbal tutorial.

Afterwards, we were able to experiment creating these past decades’ styles on each other. I chose to do an 80s punk theme look on my classmate, as I believe that this look would allow me to experiment with colour and contour more than the others. Altogether I found it really enjoyable as I was given an insight to the cosmetic side of the cinematic industry, as well as gaining a better understanding of how different makeup styles represent different characters. For example, a meaner, more intense character would be presented to have darker eye and lip colours, in order to suggest an internal toughness and create a sense of mystery for character. I have gained more skills and a better understanding to how makeup contributes to the overall mise-en-scène (setting the scene) to the film.

After the makeup, we were given the opportunity to take photographs of our classmates in a studio environment. We set up a black backdrop and professional studio lights in order to produce clear and professional photographs of each other. The pictures that were taken were mainly portrait and mid-shots of the subject, in order for the audience to clearly see the makeup designs on the models, however, I believe the mid-shots were more successful as they showed the body language of the models, including their facial expressions, whilst the portraits only contained the latter quality.

In conclusion, I found this workshop very successful as I have developed new photographic skills. I have also learnt how lighting is an essential part of cinematography, as it can drastically change the atmosphere of a photograph or scene. Additionally, now that I have gained personal experience, I feel like I can analyse other photographic work to a higher quality.