Graveyard Shift Shoot

When your body has adjusted to going to bed at 10:30 to 11pm every night, it kind of freaks out when you have to be at work from 8pm to 7am–two nights in a row.  I just got done doing an overnight shoot for a casino in Las Vegas, NV.  We were shooting at the buffet and needed to hoard the space, so shooting in the middle of the night was the only way to do it.  I was hired to do two jobs, makeup/hair and photography assistant.  We shot still photos of plates of food and video of the buffet and some of the chefs.

It was very strange getting to work at 8pm, but in the casino time has no meaning.  The first night I felt great, even a little loopy.  The second night I was pretty tired and borderline cranky.  Luckily they kept us well fed with lots of goodies at craft services.

Tracy at the Red Rock Feast shoot  photo by J. Sotirakis

This is our setup for shooting the plates of food.  We had to match the current campaign, so the shots were pretty much just overhead, documenting the food.

Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

This poor buffet worker stayed up all night to help us and was used in a few shots.  He was the pizza chef in this set up.  Of course he groaned in agony when I put makeup on him.  His co-workers laughed and told me to use a really nice shade of lip gloss.  I used a little powdered foundation and regular powder.  A few minutes later I went to check the monitor and see how the shot was looking.  The pizza guy’s face was all shiny looking, so I went to check on him.  He was pouring with sweat.  The pizza cooker was on and it was super hot behind the counter.  I had to keep an eye on him and blot his sweaty face repeatedly.

Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

This wide shot is showing the one of the set ups where the camera is moving and panning over the whole BBQ area, showing all the scrumptious food.  You can see the dolly tracks and Alexa camera, members of the crew and the monitor that is showing the bosses the shot.  The lady in the purple shirt was one of the incredibly hard working food stylists.  We had two food stylists and one assistant and they worked their tails off.  If you think the food you see on TV or in magazines just looks like that without any help, you are way wrong.  I have always respected food stylists but after this shoot, I am in awe of them.

Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

The one good thing about working graveyard is catching an incredible sunrise.  It had been raining all night and when I got back to my room at the hotel I was greeted with this beautiful sight.  You can see the Las Vegas Strip back lit by the sun in the distance.  Very pretty.  After that, I shut the curtains and happily slept all day.

Lipstick Mania!


Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

Is this necessary?  To some, this may be overkill.  Do I need ALL these lip glosses, lip stains and lipsticks in my gigantic purse every day?  Yes!  Most of the time, I apply my makeup at home before work or going out and then do my lips in the car….not while driving though!

Lipstick is very important.  Light to dark, glossy to matte, it makes your whole look complete.  Even if you are rockin’ super dark smoky eyes, you still need some sort of lip goo, whether it is just gloss or a nice neutral tone lipstick.  Bare lips are just boring.  Even the classic Cherry Chap Stick has a slight tint to it.  My favorite lip balm with a slight ruby tint is the cult classic Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper flavor.  It’s pretty and smells good too.

It has been said, “A day without lipstick is like a day without sunshine”.  Very true.  Even if I take a very small clutch purse with me for a quick trip out, there are at least two lip products in it.

Do I look crazy sometimes with my bright coral lipstick?  Maybe.  Do I look like a gothic angel with my light skin and dark berry stained lips?  Absolutely.  It’s fun, looks sexy and washes off if you by chance look like a clown.  At least I will have another color and formula in my bag so I can change it if needed.

So yes, I really need all these lip products.  I bet you have a nice supply too!

P.S.  As I wrote this blog and took the picture, my husband walked by and saw the lip products on the kitchen counter and said that it was absolutely ridiculous.  He just doesn’t get it.

Men Need Makeup Too!

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This picture was from a few days ago while shooting a commercial for Flooring America in Las Vegas, NV.  When I heard about the shoot, I was told that puppies were going to be involved, which can be either a nightmare or the cutest thing ever.  These Labradoodles were very well behaved and did not make any messes on the carpet.  They did shed all over the poor man though.  I used a sticky lint roller a few times and then gave up.

Men also need a little makeup, the poor things.  Most of them don’t mind, usually they are used to it if they are actors or models.  If they are just a regular Joe off the street, they hate it and if their friends or co-workers are around they usually take pictures.

For this gentleman, I just used a lightweight foundation and buffed it into his skin with a synthetic dual fiber brush.  I then set the foundation with some matching loose powder on a powder brush.  For men, you have to pay special attention to the hairline, which can get very shiny.  I went into that area with some pressed powder and a powder puff and pressed it into his skin.  I finished off by combing out his eyebrows with a clean mascara spoolie with a little clear brow gel on it.  He probably thought that I was nuts when I put powder in his ears, but they were pretty shiny and that would definitely show up on camera.

That’s it.  No blush, contour, no lip stuff.  Some men need more grooming, some need less.  Regardless, most are super happy when I take the makeup off at the end of the shoot.  Once in a while, they opt keep it on for the rest of the day!  🙂


How To Apply Blush

If you don’t wear blush now, you should start immediately.  Blush livens up the whole face.  When you apply foundation and powder you take away all your natural coloring.  What you want to do is apply a blush that is going to mimic your natural flushing color and give you your radiance back.  Blush will also enhance your cheekbones, giving your face more structure.

Blush shades can come in peach, pink, mauve, apricot, bronze, salmon, brown, terracotta, fuchsia, red and orange.  For light skin, choose lighter shades.  Medium skin, medium shades.  For dark skin, clear (not muddy or muted) bright vibrant shades look great.  There are different formulas of blush:  powder, cream and a gel.  If you are very new to blush, don’t go for the gel at first.  It’s the hardest to control and you can look like a clown if it’s not done correctly.  Powders and creams are the easiest to use.

If you are going to use a cream blush or gel, apply it after foundation and before powder.  You don’t want to apply anything creamy over something that has already been powdered, it will not go on right and look blotchy.  I believe the best way to apply cream or gel blush is to use your fingers.  Put the blush on your index and middle finger and rub the fingers of both hands together, getting it even on both sides.




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While looking in the mirror, smile to see the “apples” of your cheeks.

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Start rubbing the blush at the outer edge of the “apple” and blend it towards your hairline.  You don’t want any lines or finger marks.  Gel blush needs to be applied very quickly before it dries.  If you applied too much cream blush, use a sponge wedge remove some. If you applied too much using a gel, you’re a little bit screwed.  Face wash or more foundation can fix it.  Apply a light dusting of translucent powder to set the blush.  Lipstick can substitute for cream blush if you don’t have any or if you are in a pinch.

Powder blush can be applied after foundation and powder with a blush brush.

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Use the same placement as the cream blush, starting at the outside of the “apple” and blending out towards the hairline.

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If you applied too much, remove some with a sponge wedge or apply more translucent powder over the blush.

Blush can come in matte or shimmer, it’s up to you which you like better.  Matte will look more natural and is best for photos or harsh lighting situations.  Shimmer will look best under lower light.  Shimmer blush also will be too much if you have shimmery eyeshadow and shimmery lipstick on also.  Shimmer all over will make you will look like a sparkler on the 4th of July.

A few tips: Don’t go too far in by your nose on your “apples”.  Don’t go too far up by your eyes, and don’t go too far down by your jawline.  And for goodness sakes, ditch the horrible stiff brush that comes with a lot of the blushes these days.  If you use it, you risk looking like a lady from the 80’s with her scary unblended stripe.

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Blend, blend, blend!  If you apply your blush like this I will find you and scrub your face clean!  🙂

Wearable Fall 2012 Makeup Trends

What’s happening this fall concerning your makeup?  Trends come and go and it seems like we see a lot of these looks recreated every few years.  What was hot last year may be slightly tweaked to be the newest, greatest thing this year.  Some of these looks only look good on the runway or on the very brave (bright blue eyeshadow!).  Here are a few that are actually wearable by us regular folks.

Smoky Eyes — Especially Browns and Brownish Red
Smoky eyeshadow always seems to be “in”, but this fall brown is making a comeback.  Browns to use would be shimmery golden browns, matte or shimmery chocolates, warm reddish browns or whatever is your preference.  It it’s brown, it’ll work.  Browns look great on all eye colors.

Dark Green Eyeshadow
Remember last year when military green was the coolest thing in clothing?  Now it’s the coolest thing for your eyes.  Dark greens look best on green, brown or hazel eyes, but can look good on blue eyes also, it just depends on the shade of green.  If your eyes are blue, choose a shade that has a tiny hint of blue in it.   If your eyes are green, brown, or hazel, choose a shade that is more of a golden green, khaki or emerald.  If it’s hard to determine if a shade is more golden or blue, take two shades and hold them up against each other.  It’s easier to see the color when it’s against another.  

Flawless Skin
“No makeup” looking makeup.  This look is achieved by using the absolute minimum to achieve your goal of natural looking skin without being too matte.  Start with a tinted moisturizer.  If you don’t have one, mix a bit of your foundation with your moisturizer.  Next, use your fingers to subtly color your cheeks with a cream blush.  If you don’t have cream blush you can substitute with some lipstick, just make sure that it’s not frosted.  Concealer can be lightly used in areas that are in need.  Dust a small amount of powder on your T Zone, keeping your cheeks bare.  Use a neutral skin tone shade of eyeshadow on your eyelids.  A small amount of eyeliner can be used if smudged well into the lash line so there is no definite line.  Two coats of black mascara to bring out your eyes.  Fill in your brows subtly if needed with either a powder or pencil.  Finish off with the lips using either a gloss or subtle lipstick.  No reds or harsh colors here.  The “no makeup” look actually still involves a bit of makeup, but nobody has to know that!

Black Cherry Lips
Think cherry cola, dark ruby, dark raspberry.  These lips are hot and sexy!  Use a lip liner that matches your natural lip color and fill in all the way so the color wears evenly.  Apply your color of choice with a lip brush for the most precise application.  Bold colors need to be accurate and not sloppy.  Bold, dark colors are not the best for very thin lips, it will make them look smaller.  Keep the rest of your makeup subtle, but still using at least two coats of mascara to balance out the face.

Nude Lip Gloss
This one is easy.  Nude lip gloss can go with just about any look or outfit.  Dark eye shadow, colored eye shadow or light eye shadow, it really doesn’t matter.  It’s easy to keep up too, just apply and throw the tube in your purse or pocket.

So there are a few of the looks for fall 2012.  Which ones are you going to try?


As a professional makeup artist, people ask me questions concerning beauty all the time.  I created this blog so I can discuss current topics in beauty, makeup, skin care, fitness and food, and get the information out to those of you who are not sitting in my makeup chair.  Please feel free to ask questions or comment along the way!