I don't wear makeup on a regular basis because it all makes me break out. (Don't get me started on this-- I've tried all types of brands. Really.) But if I'm having my picture taken you better believe I do. So let's talk foundation for your senior portrait: there are some serious do's and don't here, some obvious, some less so.
1. I'm guilty of this-- if you haven't bought your foundation recently there is a pretty high likelihood that it doesn't match your current skin color. Have you been out in the sun all summer? Foundation from the spring is going to make your face crazy pale compared to your neck. And your summer foundation is going to make you look orange come January. Mark my words.
2. Also guilty here-- you only have a few spots that need coverage so you think "I'll just dab a little on those spots." No. Just don't. This is worse than nothing and totally draws attention to those places. All or nothing. Which brings me to nothing...
3. If you have naturally clear skin (*cough* Katherine Marotto *cough*) I would prefer to photograph you with no foundation on at all. Ok? I said it. Nothing. Why? I shoot super high res and can see the texture of the makeup. I do have photoshop techniques to smooth it out, but the texture of clear skin is the obvious winner here.
4. Not foundation but related: highlighters. I *love* the look of highlighter IRL. But I've noticed that in camera they can actually shift the color tint of your skin where they are applied. For example they can shift you yellow. They also can add shimmer which sometimes reads as shine in photos. Highlighters should come with warning labels. Be careful!
What to do with all this? Well, if you are intensely into makeup and are planning out your look for your shoot and know what you want to do, then more power to you. Otherwise, here are a few ideas.
A week or two before your shoot, go to the makeup counter and buy a new foundation. Or, at the very least, get a sample of a foundation that is your correct skin color.
Better yet, make the day of the shoot a day to get pampered. Make an appointment with a professional makeup artist. Pin a bunch of pictures of people with your skin tone and hair color and bring them to your appointment to get the exact look you are going for. If you would like recommendations on who to go to, or would like to see examples of past seniors I have shot who have done this, send me a message through the Contact tab.
To round out your day of pampering, you could also go with your mom to get your nails done. Think about hitting up a dry bar for a professional blow out. This way you won't have to worry about looking too pale or orange, or shiny, or yellow, or frizzy...you will feel fantastic when it's time for your session and will be *R E A D Y T O R O C K I T*.
I am a high school senior portrait photographer in the SF east bay area.