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Photoshoot makeup tips from a licensed cosmetologist and professional photographer.

April 4, 2023

Hi, I'm Holly.
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As a licensed cosmetologist and a family and wedding photographer in the Upper Peninsula, I know a lot about beauty that can help make getting ready a lot easier and make your photoshoot makeup more successful for your session or wedding day. I have been doing photography since 2007/2008, but I have also always had a love for beauty. In 2015 I went to cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell in Escanaba and learned about both hair and makeup. I was also addicted to beauty youtube and there is no denying that you can learn some great information there as well as hear reviews on products.

When I got engaged I already knew a lot about makeup but I took a lot of time to educate myself on photoshoot makeup to make my wedding photos look great. Every day makeup and makeup for a photo session is a whole different ball game. Since I had the knowledge for makeup, I wanted to do my own makeup for my wedding and not hire another professional. Your wedding day is one of the most photographed days of your life and I wanted to look exactly how I wanted to for my special day.

Photo of myself doing my wedding day makeup. Photo taken by @Lasting Impressions Photography

Some starting tips for photoshoot makeup

  • Create a vision board for your desired look on Pinterest
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Prep your skin by working on your skin care routine months in advance for your wedding
  • Do your makeup before you are wearing your outfit or wedding dress
  • Get ready in natural light
  • Don’t try a completely new look on an important day

Skin care prep

Skin care is one of the most important parts of the puzzle. If you want perfect photoshoot makeup for your session or wedding day, it is important to have your skin in the best state possible for a nice canvas for your makeup. SPF is important, but for this occasion specifically avoid SPF for your photos. If you must use SPF aim for 15 at most. This includes your primer and foundation. SPF causes what is called “flash back” and will cause a white cast on your skin that will make you look like a ghost.

Want an example? Here you go.

Photo credit to Pop Sugar

Makeup primer is not fully necessary but can be very useful. There are different kinds of primers for different skin types but a very popular one is the Tatcha Liquid Silk Primer. It locks down base makeup for hours of wear, does not alter your foundation pigment, and works with both water-based or cream foundation.

Foundation and concealer

There are many different types of foundation out there, which have different ingredients and varying textures. The primary categories of foundation, in that sense, are water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based. Each of these have different finishes and blend differently, working best on specific skin types. Oil-based foundations usually look dewy on the skin, and are not matte. Oil-based foundations are best for dry skin and flaky areas, on the other hand matte foundation is recommended for oily skin. Remember oil and water do not mix and this applies to your makeup. You will know if your foundation or primer/skin care is water based if it is the first or one of the first ingredients listed.

Your foundation should be as close to your skin tone as possible, or the tone of your neck. Avoid simply stopping your foundation application when you hit the jawline. You need to blend it down through the neck.

Good foundations I recommend are

  • Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation
  • Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Foundation
  • Too Faced Born This Way Foundation (I wore this for my wedding)

Concealer is useful for under eyes and any dark spots. The concealer I used for my wedding was Tarte Shape tape, but another good one I recommend is Too Faced Born This Way Concealer. Both are easy to find a shade that will work for you. Use the correct color match to avoid flashback in your photos or have you look oddly washed out. Use a beauty sponge to blend your foundation or for a full coverage look I recommend the It Cosmetics Foundation brush.

Powder to set your makeup matters

Now we are back on the topic of that pesky flashback. Your powder is very important to setting your look. A tinted powder can alter your perfectly matched foundation or cause g flashback. This is one of the products I did the most research on and the best option was Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Set a thin layer of powder on your skin but leave some extra under your eyes until your eyeshadow is complete. Eyeshadow may have “fall out” and you do not want dark shadow to mess with your base. With extra powder under your eyes it protects your base and can be easily wiped away later. If you have oily skin that gets super shiny throughout the day, add some blotting sheets to your wedding day touch-up kit.

Now it is time to bronze. Bronzing adds color back to your face and can give you a sunlit glow. What bronzer you use is important as well though to avoid looking orange. Highly rated bronzers are Hoola Bronzer and Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer.

Finish up your base with some blush. I highly recommend Nars foundation in shade Orgasm or Milani has a dupe option. If you like highlighter add a little bit to your cheekbone with your finger. I really like Jaclyn Hill highlights and that is what I would recommend.


Eyeshadow is one of the fun parts for your look. I would recommend a neutral eyeshadow look. There are so many beautiful options out there. Here is a list of great eyeshadow palettes.

  • Natasha Denona Glam Eyeshadow Palette
  • Natasha Denona Biba Eyeshadow Palette
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Nouveau Eyeshadow Palette
  • Patrick Ta Major Dimension Eyeshadow Palette

Be sure to blend your eyeshadow well. Makeup brush brands I would recommend are Sigma and Morphe.

Eyeliner and Lashes

Eyeliner and faux lashes really accentuate your eyes. A big reminder is to always use an eyelash curler before applying mascara. Even the most simple, natural looks can be enhanced with liquid liner. I would use a black liquid eyeliner such as KVD Tattoo Liner. Do not use black on your lower eye line because it will make your eyes appear smaller. Instead, use a white crayon liner such as Urban Decay’s white liner. White will open your eyes and appear bigger. There are tutorials and visuals for this look on Jaclyn Hill’s youtube channels. Waterproof mascara is recommended if you are a big crier, but some non waterproof mascaras work better. For mascaras I recommend Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara or Loreal Lash Paradise Mascara. I did not use faux lashes for my wedding but I actually do really recommend them to add fullness to your eye look. I recommend Ardell Whispie lashes.

Don’t forget your brows

Eyebrows may seem generally boring but they are important, after all they frame your whole face! An unkempt look can make all your hard work not look as nice, but you do not need to necessarily go all out like the 2016 brow trends. For your brows I recommend products to tint them or a brow gel to use to keep them in place. To reshape your brows I recommend Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow. Anastasia Beverly Hills has great brow products if you felt like you would like a brown liner or powder instead. When it comes to a brow gel I wouldn’t recommend anything other than Benefit brow gel. It’s good stuff and can be used to tint as well. Secret tip, use a light and bright eyeshadow color under your brow bone to open up your eyes even more.


First step, exfoliate. Have a nice base to work with. Lipstick is a fun way to express yourself, but I recommend neutral shades for photos, especially for your wedding. On your wedding day you do not want red lipstick getting on your hunny’s face, on your veil or smear. Mac lipsticks are famous and has a lot of shades that have a cult following. I would also avoid gloss for similar reasons above. Also keep in mind to use a lipliner in the same shade or shade darker to outline your lips to add depth.

Final Tips

Setting spray is vital. The setting spray essentially melts all the powders into one seamless look and makes your makeup last longer. Also, even the best makeup application will need some touch-ups throughout the day, so I recommend grabbing some mini products that are easy for you to carry around. I hope this has been helpful!

Want to book? Visit https://hollyseldenphotography.com/contact

Want to buy recommended makeup? Visit www.sephora.com or www.ulta.com

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I'm Holly and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about my life, photography tips, beauty and style. Stay a while and say hello!

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