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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

Makeup Ideas Senior Portraits

Just a few weeks till the big senior photo shoot? Your senior portrait session is both the most exciting and the most terrifying part of your very last year at school. 

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!

Your senior portrait is a rite of passage. So yes, that mix of enthusiasm and worry is absolutely valid. Aside from turning to good ol’ 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 
    Some of your photos will be close-ups of your gorgeous face. Cure dry skin overnight or learn how to control oily skin before the big day. Make sure to thoroughly clean your skin before you apply any makeup. 

    Look for an exfoliating scrub that won’t be too harsh on your skin, as this will help cleanse your face of any dead skin. Keep your face looking fresh and smooth with an oil-free moisturizer. Skincare before makeup will not only make you feel relaxed but will also give you that nice glow.
  2. Don’t Pick
    If you’re on your period and experiencing breakouts, don’t pick or pop your pimples. Apply ice to reduce swelling. If you have a larger breakout and excessive redness, don’t freak out! And remember…I’m your best friend behind the camera and every image will be professionally retouched so you don’t have to panic if your skin decides not to cooperate that day!
  3. Hydrate
    Drink plenty of water to hydrate your body and flush out toxins. These will directly affect your skin, so have a bottle of water ready before, during, and even after your photoshoot. 
  4. Flawless Skin
    Start with a concealer and apply it to any problem areas, such as blemishes and under your eye bags. The best concealer is about two shades lighter than your skin tone. 

    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
    If you don’t have one yet, get a waterproof black mascara. Use two coats as this will make your eyes pop. For your eyeshadow, apply a slightly darker-than-normal color so that the camera picks up on the contrast. It’s easy to go overboard with this, so keep your hand light. Pastel eyeshadow shades are a no-no as they will look washed out. 
  6. Set It
    If your hair needs a bit of hair spray to keep it from flying everywhere, your face needs some makeup setting spray. This will keep your makeup looking flawless throughout your senior portrait 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
    If you’re using new makeup products for your senior portrait, make sure to try them out several days before your photo session just to see if they look natural on you and if you’re comfortable with them. Remember that your comfort is your top priority. If you’re uncomfortable, it will show!
  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.
  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.

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!

  • 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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When it comes to scheduling your senior portrait session, I have several different photo packages, including everything from that quick 20 minute photo shoot to a 3+ hour shoot that includes several outfit changes and even pictures after dark!