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Thanks to Youtube tutorials and social media, a lot of my recent seniors have been killing it in the makeup department. I’m shocked when they tell me they did their own makeup!

In my 8 years of shooting senior portraits, I’ve always strongly recommended booking a makeup artist. Some years I even required it! That’s because everyday makeup is totally different than on-camera makeup, and a good makeup artist knows how to flatter your face on camera.

But if you’ve got some makeup skills and want to do your own, check out the tips below:

doing your own makeup for senior photos

  • All About That Base. It’s important to start with a good base, so your makeup applies smoothly. Keeping your skin exfoliated and moisturized regularly is a must! A high quality primer is also a huge help.
  • Foundation. It’s not so much about the type of foundation, but the color. To see if the foundation matches your skin tone, try a swatch on your face and look at it in natural daylight. It needs to match the undertone (yellow, peach, olive, etc.) as well as the depth (however dark/light your skin is). Keep your summer tan in mind, and update your foundation color if needed!
  • Coverage. I suggest going for a medium coverage foundation, to keep it natural. Acne can be photoshopped, but keep your freckles and beauty marks visible if possible!
  • Blush/Bronzer/Contour. Makeup tends to fade on camera, so I recommend adding a bit more color to your face than usual. You can add blush, bronzer, contour, or all three depending on your skill level! To avoid looking clownish, see the next step.
  • Blend Blend Blend. Blend foundation into your neck, and blend out any harsh lines with blush/contouring/etc.
  • Highlight of the Day. Highlighting and strobing are definitely trending. I think it looks amazing on the cheekbones and inner corners of the eyes, but go light on the nose and chin so you don’t look too shiny.
  • Lip Balm and Carry On. Get in the habit of applying lip balm before your photoshoot. Dry lips are hard to fix in Photoshop!
  • Lip Color. A lip color can give you much healthier appearance on camera. Since colors tend to fade, go for a shade just slightly darker than your natural lip color.  Matte or glossy? That’s totally up to you. Just bring the color along so you can reapply it if needed. I’d only go for a bold/dark color if that’s something you do in your everyday life. Now is probably not the best time to experiment with a new look! If you are going for a darker lip color, it needs to be applied carefully in line with your lips. Using a lip brush helps!
  • Lashing Out. Apply mascara as you normally would, to really open up those eyes! Curling lashes beforehand definitely helps. If you want to add falsies, be sure to practice beforehand. Lashes peeling off mid-shoot and glue getting in your eye is no fun. Most makeup artists recommend the individual lashes, if you’re patient enough to apply them!
  • Eyeliner. Eyeliner should be applied to the upper lash line, but not so thick that it blocks light from your eyes. You can also apply it to the lower lashes – a smudged line instead of a harsh one. If a winged cat-eye is your thing, and you feel confident in your skills, go for it!
  • Throw a Little Shade. If you want to add some eyeshadow, keep the colors natural. Pinks and browns look especially good on camera! A little shimmer is okay, but stay away from major sparkles/glitter.
  • Brows on Fleek. Brows can fade on camera, so definitely fill them in! You can check out this Brows 101 Guide, or see how I personally do my brows here. If nothing else, add a clear brow gel so your brows stay in place between outfit changes.
  • Setting Spray. Last but not least, finish off the look with a setting spray! This will keep your makeup in place on even the hottest summer days.

If you have questions, or would prefer to book a makeup artist, just let me know! I’m happy to help. xoxo

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Love this bubbly babe to bits! I had so much fun running around in the fields with Sarah and hearing about her love for dance! Here’s what Sarah had to say about our photoshoot:

“Going into the photo shoot, I was kind of nervous because I had never had a stranger take photos of just me before. I definitely had no reason to worry! Working with Allegra was such an amazing experience. All the smiles, laughs, and poses felt super natural. She listened to ideas that I had and suggested her own. When I got the email with my photos, I was amazed by how beautiful each and every photo was! I can’t wait to shoot again with her.”

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Loved working with Tess! She was so laid back and up for anything on the shoot. As much as I love beautiful fields, I was excited that Tess wanted a colorful city background. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

“Shooting with Allegra was such a fun and exciting experience. Going into the shoot, I had no idea what to expect and she made it super fun and natural. I wasn’t worried about how the pictures would turn out, by looking at her Instagram and blog I knew she was an incredible photographer. We walked around North West Portland for about an hour and found walls and greenery to take pictures against. In the pictures, you can see that I have a genuine smile because it was so much fun. Allegra does a really good job at making sure you are comfortable and having a good time, which I think makes the pictures better. I had so much fun with her and I am so incredibly happy with how the pictures turned out.”

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Cammie is so sweet and creative, and was the perfect model! I love that she brought along her instruments to add a personal touch to the photos. We ended up with some really magical images, especially with such a beautifully sunny day!

“Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer to shoot my senior pictures!! Allegra was kind, creative and so receptive during the shoot, and she made me feel comfortable in my own skin – something I’ve always struggled with in front of other people, let alone in front of a camera while posing. She had a great artistic vision, choosing poses that would utilize the dreamy lighting and the beautiful nature around us, and was even willing to experiment with the few ideas I had as well. Aside from the photography aspect of the shoot, Allegra was also just a very easy person to talk to, and I had a great time getting to know her. Receiving my senior pictures was like having Christmas in springtime – the quality was far beyond what I had hoped for. Thank you so much Allegra – my family and I love the photos!”

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