Like fashion, the beauty industry is dominated by a one-word concept: current. Ironically, it dates thousands of years back to times as early as ancient Egypt, when kohl was used to accentuate the eyes. By the turn of the 20th century, it became a career path for women in a time when there were all too few. As the roaring 20s took shape, glamour was at an all-time high. In New York City, Elizabeth Arden had already opened her first salon on 5th Avenue a decade before, introducing the world to in-store makeovers and travel demonstrations, not to mention travel-size products. Also, she played an often overlooked role in the women’s suffrage movement, supplying suffragettes with red lipstick. This became both a part of the typical rally uniform as well as a symbol of emancipation. As the time period between the Second World War and the late 1990s defined New York as the international fashion hub it is today, the beauty industry naturally rose to prominence right with it. Generating billions of dollars every year in The Big Apple alone, many companies are based there or have flagship stores in the city. Because of this, beauty photographers in NYC are a necessary part of promoting the many brands that “make up” today’s world of cosmetics as well as the businesses that sell them.
At Wonderful Machine, we define beauty/cosmetics photography as images of beautiful faces, bodies, and hair used to promote cosmetics, fragrances, hair and skin products, jewelry, or glasses. Often expertly retouched, they can also include still-life pictures of the makeup products themselves. As new trends continue to emerge and define the times in the city that never sleeps, here are the best NYC beauty photographers on the scene capturing them.
Adrianna Favero is a photographer primarily focused on fashion and beauty photography. A California native, Adrianna now calls Brooklyn home while doing both advertising and editorial work all over the world. Her work often features models wearing beauty products with a sparse, yet evocative background involving only a color. This always both highlights and compliments the product, while the models on occasion are posing with key ingredients within it. Celebrating diversity across products and subjects, Adrianna is very successful in presenting every person in her photographs in a way that showcases what makes each individual special. With imagery that is sharp in its detail, her work is always attractive in the authenticity of her subjects’ expressions.
My style is intimate, sensual, and romantic. I am focused on showing a more equitable world through my work.
Adrianna’s work focusing on the products themselves is immersed in color and ingredients that accentuate the experience of using them. A true master of allure.
Exploring product imagery with light, color, and movement, Amy Roth brings excitement to the cosmetics side of beauty photography. With an impressive portfolio of food and liquid photography, Amy utilizes both to bring a fresh sense of immediacy to the space around each product. This can be in the form of ingredients, splashes, colors, and in some cases a prop that is evocative of the product’s appeal. Often there is a degree of action in each image, giving Amy’s work a near 3-dimensional quality.
I’m drawn to water, liquids, bubbles and splashes in the way only a Pisces can be, so when it comes time to play in the studio, I love getting my hands wet (along with too much of the set).
Amy’s experience beyond photography also makes her a versatile asset for any business looking to bring cosmetics to the world. Her approach to each is completely different and unique to the message manufacturers are seeking to convey. Fortunately, Amy is a brilliant translator of these concepts into affecting images.
As a former art director with a keen eye for layout and photo details, I work well within parameters defined by my client’s creative team or agency, but I’m just as happy to take the lead as needed, especially for my client-direct shoots.
Melinda DiMauro has been working across many photographic specialties for over 2 decades. Earning a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University with an emphasis in Art Direction, Melinda worked in New York City before moving to both LA and San Francisco for 6 years. Now based once again in the Big Apple, she brings the sunny elegance of the west coast to her phenomenal portraiture work while also highlighting her home base’s cosmopolitan grace. Even among such a vast number of beauty photographers in NYC, Melinda stands out in her creative use of each image’s background. Unlike many, she is unafraid to use the city itself as a backdrop, as well as mirrors, windows, and washes of color. When she employs a near-blank space beyond a shade or hint of a reflection behind the model, she goes for makeup that involves bright and neon colors. This embraces the inherent striking quality of the products by allowing them to be at the center of the work. With fashion work that is known for embracing international locations as backgrounds for her models to interact with, Melinda has the human side of glamour and cosmetics thoroughly, and beautifully, covered.
Beginning his career in London, Mo Daoud is both a photographer and director with 20 years of experience. Defining himself in the nineties with his exceptional work documenting Hip Hop culture, Mo has a style described as “polished rawness” in his stunning portraits. Yet his beauty work is refined and distinguished, whether he focuses on models sporting cosmetics or the products themselves. Alternating between bursts of light and regal, elegant darkness in his photos of cosmetics, Mo also even directs short advertisements. These draw on his deep roots in capturing music scenes and celebrities with sounds as current as the products he’s showcasing. Hypnotic, glittering, and dreamlike, Mo achieves a multisensory experience in his motion work. When working with models he boasts an incredibly diverse portfolio of subjects and cultures in his portraiture. Yet when working in the realm of cosmetics, Mo brings the same dreamy quality by employing a bright white background behind his model, making you feel as though you have just woken up. This is one more reason Mo stands out not only among NYC beauty photographers but also directors and cutting-edge artists.
Both a photographer and director, Terry Doyle stands out among NYC beauty photographers for the vibrance in both color and feelings that she brings to her work. Her models are having a blast and it’s authentic. This is special in a world, like beauty and fashion, that can often take itself very seriously. Providing an alternative to this in humor and comfort on the part of her subjects creates a sense of freshness and accessibility. With so many kinds of outlets for beauty products, this is a real strength as many retailers prefer to foster an environment of cheer and happiness in their image. Preferring to focus on models over products, Terry makes a strong, yet impressively subtle, use of color in the background of her shots to accentuate each model’s personality, outfit, and makeup being displayed. Often white and lighter shades will be employed, yet some looks go better with pink, bright yellow, marble, and black. No matter what the ensemble calls for, Terry does a beautiful job delivering a complete and uplifting image.
Clients include: Nordstrom’s, Macy’s, Target, Walgreen’s, Avon, Bali, NuSkin, Kohl’s, Origins, PeopleStyle, Nickelodeon, Champion, Beauty By Brent, and many more.
Saloni Agarwal has a very unique story in photography. Having earned a Master’s in Computer Science at NYU, her professional life began in a very different world working as an engineer for companies including WebMD and Goldman Sachs. Yet per passion for imagery made her take the brave step of leaving this behind to pursue photography at both the School of Visual Arts and the International School of Photography.
Though I made my living in tech, I always saw the world through a lens, creating stories in color, light and movement. I left the corporate world behind to study photography
A true lesson in following one’s heart can be learned, here, because today Saloni is among the best beauty photographers in NYC. Her portfolios in fashion and portraiture are equally stunning and refreshingly diverse. Using this talent for portraits, she sticks to the human side of beauty photography, with very up-close and expressive moments captured with all of her models. You can tell they are at ease, safe, and happy to let genuine expressions show. Pairing that with the striking colors of makeup they are often sporting makes Solani’s work all the more compelling and engaging. Follow your dreams!
Based in Brooklyn, Ben Ritter is a photographer and director known for his emphasis on current youth-oriented trends. As far as beauty photographers go, Ben is as New York as it gets. If one could sum it up, it could be easy to recommend checking his portfolio for looks that will soon be abuzz on the internet. Street styles that exist only in Manhattan but for the work of photographers like Ben become known to the world for that very reason. Fashion and beauty, in their race to grab that next piece of the future to create the perfect expression of the present, need scouts like this who not only identify but also communicate these concepts. His work is often shot on location, bringing a streetwise edge to his work that you’d find in younger, hipper blogs and publications. His many shows in both New York and LA over the years past clearly inform the virtuosity with which Ben defines the looks of today and tomorrow.
Clients include: About-Face, Dermaflash, Alice + Olivia, W, Elle, Nylon, Coveteur, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, Adidas, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Elizabeth Arden, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Avon, Vogue, and Glamour
In a marketplace that competes to bring the latest trends out in the fastest ways, there is a need for many different kinds of beauty photographers in NYC. Whether it be a focus on products, people, or both, all play a key role in showcasing cutting-edge looks across magazines, website banner ads, and billboards. Check back with each of these talents to see what looks are coming next.
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