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10 Makeup Tips for Professional Senior Portraits

Your makeup should accentuate your natural beauty, not hide it! Follow these 10 tips to make sure you have perfect makeup for your senior pictures!

10 Makeup Tips to Get You Ready for Your Photo Shoot

Top Senior Photographer Chandler Makeup

Let me guess. It’s just a few weeks until the big senior photo shoot and you’re still stressing over your makeup. Your senior portrait session is both the most exciting and the most terrifying part of your very last year at school, I get it!

It’s these photos that will basically define your entire high school experience. They will be included in your graduation announcement, share with all your family members, proudly displayed in your home, and pinned to the walls of your closest friends’ dorm rooms, so let’s not mess this up!

Senior pictures are a rite of passage. So yes, that mix of enthusiasm and worry is absolutely valid. Aside from turning Google for some style ideas, it’s important not to forget about your makeup. 

Your makeup will complete your look. In fact, it will make or break your senior portrait. It’s easy to go overboard with it, especially if you want to look flawless. But, if you apply too much of it, it might come off as artificial. 

Your makeup should accentuate your natural beauty, not hide it. It should give you confidence, not doubt. I’ve compiled a list of makeup tips below to make your senior portraits look flawless and fabulous!

1. Prep Your Skin

Your face will be the star of many close-up shots, so it’s essential to have your skin in top condition. Address dry skin issues overnight and manage oily skin well before the big day. Begin by thoroughly cleansing your skin before applying any makeup.

Natural Makeup Senior Portraits

Choose an exfoliating scrub that is gentle yet effective at removing dead skin cells. Maintain a fresh, smooth look with an oil-free moisturizer. Prioritizing skincare before makeup application will help you feel relaxed and give your skin a natural glow.

2. Don’t Pick

Breakouts can be more common during your period, but please resist the urge to pick or pop pimples. Apply ice to reduce swelling. If you face a major breakout or redness, stay calm! Remember, I’m your ally behind the camera, and every photo will be professionally retouched, so don’t worry if your skin isn’t perfect on the day of the shoot.

3. Hydrate

Hydration is key for radiant skin. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and flush out toxins, which will directly benefit your skin. Keep a water bottle handy before, during, and after your photoshoot.

4. Flawless Skin

Use a concealer to cover blemishes and under-eye circles, opting for a shade about two tones lighter than your skin. But don’t let a few blemishes ruin your day! I got you…those pesky pimples will be gone before you can bat your eyelashes.

For foundation, choose a thick formula and apply it evenly on your face and neck. Highlight your cheekbones with a translucent, neutral-tone powder. Steer clear of overly pink or red hues as they can appear unnatural in photos.

Makeup Ideas Beautiful Brows Senior Portraits


For foundation, use one that has a thick formula and be sure to apply it evenly on your face and neck. For your cheekbones, you can accentuate them with a translucent, neutral-tone powder. Avoid anything too pink or red, as this will look unnatural in photos. 

5. The Eyes

Waterproof black mascara is a must, applying two coats to make your eyes stand out. For eyeshadow, use a slightly darker shade than usual to enhance contrast in photos. Apply with a light hand to avoid overdoing it. Avoid pastel shades as they tend to look washed out.

Great Spots for Senior Pictures in Mesa

6. Set It

Just as your hair may need hairspray, your makeup needs setting spray to stay flawless throughout your session. I recommend Urban Decay All Nighter.

7. Less is More

In photoshoots like these, you always want to look and feel like yourself, so stick with the “less is more” approach and you’ll have a classic and timeless look. 

8. Trial Run

Be sure to test new makeup products several days before your photo session to ensure they look natural and you’re comfortable wearing them. Comfort is crucial—if you’re uncomfortable, it will show in the photos.

9. Hire a Pro

Not a makeup guru? Hire a professional to do your makeup! Just make sure to communicate your allergies if you have any and let them know the looks you have in mind.

Mesa Senior Pictures Professional Makeup

10. Touch Ups

Don’t forget to bring your makeup bag with you during your senior photo session. Touch-ups will be necessary between shots.

It’s Go Time!

You’ve got your makeup on, your hair is looking exquisite, and you can feel the confidence coursing through your veins—it’s your time to shine! And shine you will. Show off those pearly whites, and enjoy the day!

The most important thing in your senior photo session is to be yourself. A little bit of makeup, some cute outfits, a hairstyle you love, and your confidence will soar! That’s the trick to get senior pictures you’ll love!

Find a Photographer for Senior Pictures

If you’re looking for great senior pictures that show off your personality and your style, you’ve found the right place! At Magical Memories by Michelle, my focus is on making sure you look and feel confident—and that you get to take home amazing senior pictures as a lasting memento of your graduation year. The first step is to grab your FREE download of the Senior Client Welcome Guide to learn more about Arizona’s best senior portrait experience!

Be sure to keep up with the blog, where you can find great ideas, looks, tips, and more! Plus, don’t forget about Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest…I’m always sharing inspiring photos and ideas there for graduating seniors.

8 Comments
  • This is packed with so much great information, including best times to start depend on time of year!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate it!

    • As a recent senior parent, it’s so hard to plan, but this is for sure- you will be overwhelmed the whole year! Getting this scheduled sure does reduce the stress! Great tips!

      • Haha, isn’t that the truth?!?! Our daughter is Class of 2021 so I’m dealing with all the same things this year just like I did in 2019 with our son! I’ve been hearing for over 10 years that earlier is better. When it comes to the last few months before graduation, my early birds already have announcements and invitations designed, gifts purchased, plus they’ve had the images all year long for any banquets or award ceremonies!

  • Omg such good information given. I don’t think you left anything out. I agree, very important to talk to your senior about dates they are available for their yearbook picture.

    • Hi Shunta! We all know how crazy busy seniors get, so waiting means you won’t book the photographer you want or get the best dates. Always start early!

  • Perfect tips for parents of senior’s to think about when scheduling their senior portrait session! Earlier is ALWAYS better!

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