How to Prep for Your Photo Shoot | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist/Wardrobe Stylist | Northern Virginia


So you have found a photographer that you click with!  Great! Now it’s time to prep for your shoot.  The better prepared you are for the shoot the more confident you can be that your pictures will be amazing, and will reflect the most beautiful you possible.

Whether your photo shoot is for your headshot, profile picture, senior portraits, family portrait, or any other reason you have decided to treat yourself to a professional photo shoot, these tips will help you prepare.

Clean Hair

Make sure your hair is clean and dry, and ready for your on-site hair stylist to style.  If you are doing your own hair, make sure your roots appear clean and dry.  It’s a great idea to use styling products that help add volume and body, and keep hair from flying away.  But if you don’t use styling products on a regular basis I suggest you do a trial run the week before.


Here is your excuse to do a little pampering!  You never know when your hands and face will show in a picture.  Having a simple, subtle mani/pedi done before your shoot ensures that nothing will detract from your beautiful face!  I recommend light colors or a french manicure.

Wardrobe Planning

Taking time to plan out your wardrobe before your shoot helps your shoot go smoothly.  Stay away from crazy patterns or items that are too trendy.  Make sure you choose the right jewelry and undergarments for each outfit.  Choose the shoes that are appropriate for the outfit and the setting if you are going to have a natural light shoot.  I recommend trying on your outfit, accessories and all, and make sure you like the look.  Ask your photographer or stylist any questions you may have.  When in doubt, bring an extra outfit so you have the flexibility to change your mind when you are on location.

Touch-up Kit

I recommend that all of my clients bring a touch-up kit with them to the shoot.  It’s so beneficial to have some basics with you so that you can be your own stylist during the shoot.  If your hair gets messy because you are changing outfits, or the wind is blowing, you will need a hair brush.  If you know you tend to get shiny it’s great to have oil-blot sheets or a compact of powder on hand.  And almost all of us have experienced lip gloss disappearing on us.  Having lip color on hand to re-apply during the shoot will keep your makeup balanced and you looking fresh.

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My goal is for you to have an amazing time with your photographer!  I feel that the preparation you do before your shoot will help you feel relaxed and comfortable during the shoot.  And, having a few items with you on location will ensure your last pictures look as good as the first!  The only problem I expect you will have is choosing which pictures are your favorite!


Photo Credit: Angela Goodhart of Goodhart Photogrpahy


Protect Your Fabric With Scotch Guard | Meredith Ehler | Home Decorator | Northern Virginia

Now that the weather is nice it’s time for an outdoor project.  Time to Scotch Guard your stuff!  Protecting your fabric covered items, especially upholstered or treasured stuff, has never been easier.


I am a believer in Scotch Guard.  I use it to protect canvas and upholstered items in my home and wardrobe. Stains stay on top of the surface instead of sinking into the fabric. Water and liquids just bead up and roll off.  It is not to be used on every surface so it is very important you test it out on your item in an inconspicuous place first.  If it changes the look of your item at all do not use it further.

I use it on upholstered items like small stools I had recovered.  My new coach shoes looked like they could be ruined with one misplaced footstep from my son, so I Scotch Guarded them too.  My 3 year barstools still look like new, and we use them daily.

After doing a test to see if your fabric can handle the product, simply spray a light coat, in a well ventilated area, and let dry.  Use a motion similar to if you are spray painting an item, hold the bottle about a foot or so away and make sweeping motions from left to right over the product.  I often do a second coat on items.  Items will need to be re-sprayed after continued use, maybe after 6 months or a year, or if you had to spot clean the item with water.  Cleaning with a wet rag helps remove any stains but it can also remove the protection.  Just let the item dry and re-apply.  Stains can be blotted off and spilled drinks just bead up and roll off.  Remember, it will not work on every surface, so do a test spot on your fabric items.


Prom Makeup | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Washington, D.C.

Prom will be here before you know it. Prom is the time get out of your makeup-comfort-zone.  Gorgeous dresses, sparkly jewels, and a cute date call for memorable makeup. Try a new look for your special night. But do a dress rehearsal before the big night so you know you will like the final look.

I recommend going on Pintrest, YouTube, as well as looking at your favorite websites and looking in magazines for inspiration.  I have amazing looks on my Pintrest makeup board as well as hair inspiration and a prom fashion board. Follow me on Pintrest.

I want you to try a super sparkly eye…use a primer on your eye so the glittery shadow will stick.  Try a pigment shadow from MAC or a mineral shadow from Pat it on with a flat brush.  Or use the same sparkly shadow on top of your lipgloss.  MAKE UP STORE has an amazing line of glitter that you can use on your face.  I use it with ELF‘s Studio Makeup Lock & Seal.

The bottom line is have fun and try something!



Bridal Makeup | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Sterling, Virginia


creation waits pic

Beautiful Ilene!  In anticipation of their first anniversary I wanted to pay tribute to an amazing couple!  Howard and Ilene got married last August as family and friends surrounded them on their special day. The bridal party was gorgeous and the Bride – stunning!


I had such a wonderful time getting to know Ilene.  Before her wedding we did a bridal makeup and hair consultation. She also scheduled one for her mother and mother-in-law. At the consultation we discuss the bride’s style and beauty wishes.  I customized a look for her and her bridal party.  I did hair and makeup for her and all of her bridesmaids on the day of the wedding. It was wonderful getting to everyone!

ilene and me

My goal is always to capture the bride’s style and enhance it so that she feels like a princess! That includes making sure she stayed cool on a hot August day! I was blessed to be a part of their special day!  God bless you both!


Photo Credit: Creation Waits Photography


Makeup Makeover | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Northern Virginia

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My favorite thing about my job is when I have the opportunity to help someone realize how beautiful they are.  I just had a client come over for a “Makeup Makeover”.  She brought her makeup bag with her and we talked about the contents and about her makeup routine.  I like getting to know how my clients approach their face of makeup, it tells me a lot about them. Once I learn about their current routine I then can help them re-design a new, more fabulous face plan for them.

Maybe you prioritize time, maybe simplicity, maybe you are bold and adventurous and want a new, trendy look.  No matter what your style is, I can help.  Of course, working with you in person would be so much fun, but here are a few tips for you to enjoy until then.

1. When in doubt throw it out!  

Every so often we need to give our makeup drawer a makeover!  Start by giving your makeup a “sniff test”.  I recommend to all of my clients that they periodically throw out some of their makeup.  When makeup develops a smell that seems odd or there is now a smell where there was previously not a smell, just toss it!  Makeup can grow bacteria which can cause infections so it’s better to be safe and get rid of it if you notice it changing.

Dry makeup like eyeshadows tend to last longer than liquid or cream makeup.  Lip glosses and mascaras tend to go bad the quickest. It’s a good idea to wipe off dry makeup occasionally to keep the top layer fresh.

2. Cheap is chic!

Don’t be afraid to mix cheap  makeup with expensive.  I love ELF mascara, brushes, primers and powders.  But I never skimp on lipsticks or lipglosses.  There are a few things that you do not have to splurge on…look for that blog post soon!

3.  Try a new look!

Every once in a while try a new color or product.  Having a girlfriend do your makeup or visiting a makeup counter and buying a new product like a primer or a new eye or lip color is a great way to keep your look fresh!  It’s important to keep our styles current and prevent us from getting into a makeup rut.  And new technology is actually making it easier to look better!  Primers help makeup go on smoothly and can reduce the look of wrinkles.  So go and play around with something new.

4.  Invest in tools of the trade!

There are somethings that you cannot do without.  Brushes are the most important tool in my kit.  I recommend investing in brushes that are specifically designed to do a certain step in your makeup routine.  That is the key to looking amazing without having to do a lot of work.  Using the right brush in the right way is the key to a great face!

Have fun ladies!  Be daring and try something new!  Send me a picture or a comment about what you try!  -Meredith


How To Survive Shopping At A Makeup Counter | Meredith Ehler | Makeup Artist | Sterling, Virginia

Believe it or not, clients hire me to go with them them to department store makeup counters to buy makeup.  Some clients feel they need to bring me along with them as an advocate.  Come to find out, they were right to hire me.  I was shocked to see some the lack-luster talent and over-zealous treatment they received.  I am happy to say that my clients all survived and were very pleased with their end result.


One client wanted to buy cosmetics from a very well known cosmetic line.  We went to the counter where we were greeted by an artist who asked how he could help us. I stepped up and explained what she was looking for.  My goal for my client was that she sit back, relax, and tell us if she liked what the artist was doing. Well, I was less than impressed with what he was doing.  The colors he had chosen weren’t flattering and he was not applying makeup that would give her the look she had asked for.  I was also disappointed by the quality of the makeup itself.  It was shocking because we were at a high-end department store, shopping at one of the most popular counters around.  I decided to intervene buy kindly, yet prematurely, wrapping up our time with the artist.  I was happy to do the dirty work so that my client could avoid a poorly applied face of makeup resulting in the the inevitable, uncomfortable, hard-sell.  We made our escape and headed to my favorite store.  The artist at this free-standing cosmetic store is someone I work with often.  She and I pulled together the products perfect for her and she was happy with her new look.

I was happy that I was able to step in as an advocate for my client.  I was able to discern that the first counter was offering less than stellar service and got her out before she received an unflattering makeup jo (which she would be wearing back to her office that day), and got her to a place where she would be well served.  At the end she looked beautiful, and I was happy I could help get her the look she truly wanted.  -Meredith

Closet Makeover Services | Meredith Ehler | Image Consultant | Fairfax County, VA

Can you use a closet makeover?  If you answered “Yes!” you are not alone.  I recently received a comment on this very blog from a woman named Jill.  She was inquiring about my closet services and hoped to have me out to her home to organize her closet.  After exchanging a few emails we scheduled an appointment and I met her at her house.  We got right to work.

my closet.

my closet.

Jill has a great sense of style and knows what colors and styles look great on her so we didn’t spend too much time on those topics.  We spent most of our time analyzing the clothes she has and loves, discussing their condition and new ways to wear them.  Some clothing got sent to a “dry clean” pile because I may have detected a spot or stain.  Some got sent to a “charity” pile.  These items were ones that she no longer is enjoying yet they still have life left in them.  That way she can bless someone less fortunate with her still-wearable clothes.

The clothes we were left with were those that she still enjoys wearing and that still look great on her.  We organized them in a logical way in her closet.  I recommend hanging items in “like groups”.  I put her tanks and blouses together in order of sleeve legnth, color, and whether it’s for work or play.  We started on one end with tanks, then short sleeves, then long.  We hung her “work only” clothing in one area.  As some shirts could be work on both occasions, those were hung with her everyday shirts.  The end goal is that when she is getting dressed she can ignore the “work only” clothing and go straight to the everyday clothing.

We stored out of season clothing in a corner of the closet so that the first clothes she sees are those that she will wear most often.  She had a great hanging accessory organizer.  We purged that as well as a shoe bin.

My goal is always to leave my clients with a new happy place…their newly organized closet.  My wish is that each morning their closet greets them like a new best friend waiting to meet them for coffee.  I want getting dressed to be effortless and accessorizing a breeze.

I just heard from Jill and she is enjoying her new closet.  She said she enjoyed having me and may have me back as the season’s change to do the same thing to her winter wardrobe.  Did I mention she is smart too?  -Meredith



Ekster Antiques Barn Sale – One of a Kind Home Decor | Home Decorator | Meredith Ehler | Northern Virginia

Looking for that perfectly chic and unique piece for your home?

Check for dates of the next Ekster Antiques Barn Sale.

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I first found Ekster about nine years ago when it was a quaint home-decor shop in Leesburg.  Now, located a few minutes further west, on a ten acre farm, Ekster has transformed into a destination that promises to fulfill the dreams of even the most persnickety shopper.  Filled with antiques from near and far, and one of a kind eclectic pieces, you will no-doubtedly find that perfect piece (or pieces) to compliment your decor.  And you may even pass a friendly goat or a chicken as you shop.

As you walk the property, drinking in the beautiful pastoral scenery, the barn and other buildings on the property shimmer with crystal chandeliers that hang above the comfortably staged tables.  Perfectly aged urns from France line the barn’s exterior, each one more beautiful than the last.  The surroundings always leave me inspired!

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The visionary behind Ekster Antiques is owner Caroline Verschoor.  She has an innate way of putting together the perfect mix of old and new, shabby and chic, and comfort and glitz.  I asked her to share her approach to her business with my readers.  It is obvious Caroline hand picks what she sells, this is not a warehouse sale, this is an exquisite boutique…in a barn.

Lucketts 2013 008

Caroline explains, “For me, things have to exude something, whether it’s art, or a piece of furniture.  I would never just “throw” a cabinet on my sales floor, tag it and sell it.  No, the cabinet I purchase is well-thought-about, i.e. Would I buy it? And if I did, where would I put it, and how would I display it.  So, when I set up, I place the cabinets on walls, and I create a scene (a mise-en-scene In French) which would include the antique books one might display in such a vignette, and other collectibles.  I then put sofas, chairs and a table in the middle with books and candles and horns and other great finds, as if it appears that the people who were in that room just minutes ago, just got up and will be back shortly.  That is my thing”.

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“I really buy each and every piece with my heart, not with my wallet”, says Verschoor.  You will quickly see that this is true, even if you are visiting their tent at Lucketts, one just wants to be enveloped by the surrounding decor.

Caroline invites all of you to come and experience this one-of-a-kind place for yourself. “For me, my barn, or whatever building I am working from, becomes my canvas, and I completely immerse myself into it, until every direction I look, I see all the hard work paid off, and the picture finally perfectly pieced together” .

Ekster Antiques is located at 38532 Pheasant Hill Lane, Hamilton VA 20158.  Mapquest should get you there or see their website for a map and directions. Children are welcome (the bunnies, chickens, mini goats and dogs would love some company).  See you there!  -Meredith


Come See Me at the Gaylord! | Meredith Ehler | Image Consultant | Northern Virginia

Ladies, come and join me at an amazing conference in the D.C. area.  I will be speaking at A Passion for Motherhood Conference on April 20th at the Gaylord National Resort at National Harbor.  The conference is going to be amazing.  It is the perfect girl’s day out!!!  So grab your girlfriends and prioritize yourself!   I am sure you will leave there feeling refreshed, informed and inspired to be the best you that you can be. This conference is going to be a blessing to you.

A Passion for Motherhood Conference

The Keynote Speaker is Debbie Phelps, Olympian Michael Phelps’ mother!!!

Register soon!  Click on the link below for more info and a video!

A Passion for Motherhood Conference




Prom Prep | Meredith Ehler | Fashion Stylist | Northern Virginia

It’s PROM TIME!  I am so happy for all of the lucky girls who get to look forward to prom! When I was in high school I loved prom – any excuse to get dressed up and buy a new dress!

Three beautiful girls I had the pleasure of doing hair and makeup for – Sammy, Arie and Kelsey from Potomac Falls High School!

As you are preparing for prom I have a few tips for you.

Dress:  The item upon which all other prom elements revolve!  Once you have your dress you can accessories with shoes, jewelry and the right bag.  Then I suggest taking some time to do trials with your friends for hair and makeup.  Take pictures of each other in your prom dresses with your hair and makeup done.  This way you can see how the dress works with the colors of makeup you have chosen and whether you like your hair up or down depending on the lines of the dress.

Hair:  Depending on how simple or blingy your dress is, you should choose a hair style that flatters the overall look for the evening.  Long and straight with a simple rhinestone barrette, simple curls, or an up-do with tons of interest each add a different feel to your look.  I recommend balancing the hairstyle with the entire ensemble.  Having a crazy hairstyle with a very detailed dress may be a bit much.  Sometimes it’s nice to have one element being sleek while another takes center stage!

Makeup:  Prom is the perfect time to shine!  Don’t be afraid to sparkle whether it’s eye shadow or shimmer on the top of your cheek bones or shoulders.  This is the night to have fun with makeup you would not normally be daring enough to wear.  I recommend trying fake eyelashes too! sells them for just a few dollars.  Practice before the big night because using the eyelash glue can be tricky.  I will post a blog with tips on applying lashes soon!

Friends: Finally – have a safe and fun night.  Start off the night with your girlfriends, and maybe a makeup artist and hair stylist like me!  Take lots of fun pictures and enjoy your night!  I would love to post some of your pix on my blog so message me!  -Meredith