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Professional Makeup for Senior Portraits | East Mesa Professional Photographer

Last year, best year! High school is filled with so many milestones, so let's make your senior photos one of the highlights of senior year by helping you look your best for your photo shoot with these makeup tips!

Makeup Do’s and Don’ts for Senior Photos

From junior prom to getting your senior photos taken, these are all milestones in your high school life that will stick with you for years to come. It will be one of these photos that it will get be shared online and given to all your family, friends, and loved ones. It will also be the photos that will be remembered by classmates and friends, and lovers will remember you by when you get older. No pressure at all…

Have you been spending months trying out the best poses for your senior photo? Or perhaps the best way you can wear your hair or how you can emphasize your sparkling, brace-free pearly whites? This is the day you’ve been waiting for, so let’s get you as prepared as possible! Having beautiful makeup will help you look and feel your best! 

Makeup Ideas Senior Pictures Mesa AZ

Hiring a Professional Hair and Makeup Artist

Are you thinking of hiring a pro? There are benefits to letting the professionals help with your senior portrait hair and makeup. 

  • Professional makeup artists have experience in makeup application for photography
  • They know how different makeup will appear in camera
  • They have high quality products in every shade imaginable
  • They know how to contour and choose colors that highlight your best features

If this is something you’re interested in, I have just the hair and makeup artist for you! Deb is my go-to girl for all my seniors and she does a fabulous job! I won’t go into detail here, but she’ll have her very own blog post soon!

If hiring a makeup artist isn’t in your budget, no worries! Below are some great guidelines to follow that will have you camera-ready.

Senior Portraits Red Hair Beach Waves Chandler Arizona

Makeup Do’s For Your Senior Photos

  • Go for makeup on the more natural-looking side.
  • Apply eye and lip makeup slightly darker than normal. Cameras don’t pick up the contrast & definition our eyes see in person.
  • Set foundation with translucent powder that reduces shine. Shine is hard to Photoshop.
  • You might not normally wear lipstick, but I recommend it for your session, even if it’s a shade close to your natural lip color.
  • Mascara is a must. Clean not clumpy. At least 1 coat, 2 if you normally wear mascara.
  • Go for a medium or dark or rich-toned eyeshadow. Browns and golds are pretty safe!
  • Avoid heavy black eyeliner, which makes your eyes look smaller. Go with gray or brown and blend well if you’re wearing eyeliner.
  • Wear your hair in a way that you would normally wear it.
  • Go easy on the jewelry and choose simple ones. When accessorizing, less is more.
  • Make sure you’re well hydrated! Sick skin will look apparent in photos and one of the ways to avoid getting this is to stay hydrated and avoid getting exposed to germs or dirt. 

Makeup Don’ts For Your Senior Photos

  • Avoid makeup with SPF & mineral makeup. While great for everyday use, they can create an unflattering shine. Go for more natural-looking glowing skin.
  • Don’t go overboard with layers of heavy makeup. It’s hard to photograph cakey makeup.
  • Avoid pastel eye shadows since this will look washed out on your photo.
  • Avoid any sparkles and shimmers. Matte makeup will photograph better!
  • Do not wear glasses that have glare. It will ruin the photo altogether. 

All set? Remember that key to having a good and iconic senior photo is to keep it lowkey and simple. The point of our senior photos is to be a remembrance for one of the most important periods of our lives, so there really is no need to overdo yourself. Stay true to who you are and how you look like on a regular day. Memories become more meaningful this way!


  • I love this! Make up for senior photos shouldn’t be too overboard. I want to see what they look like everyday, not glammed up for a photoshoot! Great tips for photo makeup!

  • We often hear how to correctly apply make up, but I love that you are addressing with your potential senior high clients what not to do in order to get it right. You are honest and candid and this professional advice makes seniors look their absolute best! Success!

    • Thanks Andrea! You know, after years of doing this I’ve seen the good and the bad, gotta make sure my seniors don’t make the mistakes I allowed when I first started shooting!

  • Great advice for makeup do’s and don’ts for professional senior portraits! Something on the lips and mascara are definitely a must!

    • Right?? I wasn’t sure I’d love lashes, but man do they make a difference on the right girls! And then the next girl doesn’t want them and looks just as fabulous because filled lashes would be way over the top for her. Both are great, just gotta match the right look to the right senior!

  • Great tips for professional makeup for senior porportraits. Its hard to know how much is too much if you don’t apply makeup for a living. Leave it to the professionals!

    • Hey Jodi! So many of my seniors are capable of doing spectacular makeup…but it might not be the right look for a photo shoot! But yes, the pros know what do add and how much without going overboard!

  • Love these tips! Keep it natural with a pop on the lips and eyes and less is more! Wonderful reminders for those seniors as they prep for their senior session!

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