Category Archives: Senior Portraits

Here’s the 3-1-1 on SMP Tip Tuesdays

… Or is it the 9-1-1? 9-1-1 doesn’t seem right since this isn’t an emergency. Pretty cool stuff – but not anything alarming.

I’m horrible with remembering the right quote from a movie or the latest lingo, but what I’m trying to say is – here’s a short run-down of what you’re missing each Tuesday over on the Instagram page @ShiningMomentsPhotography

See! Not as catch-phrase-y as, “Here’s the 3-1-1!”

Every Tuesday on my SMP Instagram page I come up with a new piece from photo ready makeup to making quick smoothies so your teen doesn’t get you out of bed at 6:00am to show him what to put in the blender {that could be a level 9-1-1. Life saving intel for any parent who isn’t a morning person}.

My Shining Moments Photography page isn’t just showing one headshot or senior session through every scroll, I’m on social media to give tips, some inspiration, or just a laugh in my quirky world of Instagram Stories. Howeva, a big, creepy, red-eyed spider on my car wasn’t anything to laugh about, until it was heading down the road 😉

Life can be pretty random, sometimes hard, really exciting, or just a little quirky. Why not share it together?!

More ideas to come on my Instagram!

💖Cheers – Andrea

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    New Jeans – DIY Style

    Do you love jeans?

    It’s no secret that I live in jeans.

    DIY, jeans, fall-fashion, style, SMP, senior-photographer

    I wore business suits + biz casual for the first half of my life, but now most of those suits sit and collect dust because working my own small business + mom life lets me to declare it casual-Friday…

    almost every day!

    A few weeks back I was going through my pile of old jeans {yes, when they’re ripped jeans they all look old}.

    Instead of donating this pair, I tried a DIY project. A NO SEW DIY.

    If you want to try repurposing a pair of jeans the style options are endless when you walk down the ribbon aisle at Hobby Lobby. I showed a step-by-video on my IGTV yesterday so you can create your “new” pair of jeans for the Fall.

    It’s waaaayyyyy easier than you think to create a new look + get a longer wear out of your clothes.

    DIY, jeans, fall-fashion, style, SMP, senior-photographer
    DIY, jeans, fall-fashion, style, SMP, senior-photographer

    Every week I do a new Tip Tuesday on my Instagram page from photo-ready makeup to next week jumping into Fall with the yummiest drinks at home. Click-on-over and get some great ideas + some day-to-day HAPPY!

    Until next week…CHEERS!


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      Makeup:: 3 Must Haves For Photos…At Least These 3

      Do you wear makeup everyday or just for the special occasions? Today I have 3 must-haves to get photo makeup ready!

      Last week over on my IGTV Tip Tuesday {@ShiningMomentsPhotography} I showed some photo makeup tips + suggestions.

      I’ve preached for years that wearing a few key pieces of makeup for your headshot or senior images can make a REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE.


      Wear foundation, eyeliner, and mascara to help balance your skin tone and accentuate your eyes for the little bit of pop. Foundation evens out your skin and gives a smooth finish. Eyeliner + mascara helps your eyes standout {especially on those close-up shots}.

      SIDE NOTE:: Thrive is my Summer/Fall color and the Chanel foundation is my winter color.

      What if I never wear makeup?

      I know alllll about that… My own high school senior doesn’t wear makeup on a typical day, but she’ll indulge me for two events::

      • Her Mama’s photo sessions
      • Stage night for her musical performances
      makeup-tips, foundation, makeup

      If you don’t wear makeup on the regular I offer the names of a makeup artist to get the job done.

      If you’re thinking about trying makeup or have a makeup-guru-friend, first head into Sephora or Ulta to get help matching a foundation color to your skin. We color-match the foundation to our skin tone so you have a natural look, and not a painted Bobo-the-Clown look.

      AFTER foundation add a concealer to your under-eyes + dark spots. My fav has become CREASELESS by Tarte. My teens don’t have to worry about those pesky little age lines like I do, but genetics, lack of sleep + not enough water gives us those dark circles that we get at any age.

      I discovered that I don’t like to use my fingers to put on my concealer so I stopped using the BYE BYE under eye, but a lot of people swear by this one {pictured below}. Urban Decay had more of a matte finish, but that one {silver tube} wears better on the younger crowd {settles into my fine lines too much}.

      makeup-tips, concealor, tarte

      Foundation FIRST.

      Concealer SECOND.

      Eyes THIRD. A caveat would be if you’re going to wear eye shadow. Put the eye shadow on FIRST then do your foundation + concealer. If any of your eye shadow falls onto your face it’ll be a cinch to get off.

      makeup-tips, mascara, makeup, eyeliner, eye-brows

      The golden real estate with close ups + headshots is through our eyes and mouth {eyebrows too}. It’s our expression zone and we want both to leap off the page {or screen}.

      How do you express yourself without any words at all + jump off the page?

      You jump out with eyeliner {+ eye shadow if you want} and mascara. Bonus points for brow pencil. When we’re shooting headshots or close-up shots you are giving off all your expression through your eyes, eyebrows {yes, I’m serious}, and your mouth. The other three-quarters of your body is out of the picture so all the focus is up close and personal.

      makeup-tips, makeup, eye-shadow, charlotte-tilbury


      Every time I tried to put on eye shadow in that fancy runway model way I’ walk out of the bathroom looking like someone punched me in the eye. No kidding.

      So, when I found Charlotte Tilbury’s little pots of gold I was was giddy! A few swipes across my lid + brow bone and I’m ready to go. If I’m feeling really creative I add some contrast with the darker color along the crease and outer lid…eye shadow complete!

      Makeup shouldn’t be a mystery nor take half the day to apply, but it does make a difference in your finished portraits. You will shine through in your images with a little touch of pop, but the photos will still BE YOU. I’ve created everything we need to make makeup prep easy + fun in my photo makeup guide that I give to all of my headshot + senior portrait clients. And if I’m not the right photographer for you, you can always have a peek at my Tip Tuesday to help.

      Until next week…CHEERS!


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        It’s On – Have You Started Seniors {Juniors Too}?

        Senior year is full of lasts, the same + all new.

        shining moments photography, SMP, high school seniors, sycamore illinois photographer

        The lasts I talk about a lot – and then a little bit more. Celebrating the final homecoming week, last year being in the student section, last soccer game, music concert, play…

        The ‘sames’ that should be on repeat are getting good grades, strong study habits, adding to your service hours and extracurriculars.

        Then you come to the all new side going into senior year…

        College visits, figuring out where your top 3-5 colleges will be, filling out the Common App + FAFSA and other senior-only tasks.

        We’re going to focus on the new and your college adventure!

        Have you visited any colleges?

        Will you be visiting more this Fall?


        • Does the college offer your major + many other areas of study {18-year-olds have been known to change their minds mid-way through}?
        • Are professors available to students {in + out of class}?
        • What are the class sizes for 100-200 level class + area of study?
        • Will the academic programs challenge you?
        • What are the internship + study-abroad opportunities?
        • Will the school offer financial aid?
        • How affordable is the school after any financial aid?
        • What’s life like outside of campus {city/town life, weather, distance from home}?
        • What athletics or arts does the campus offer?
        • What are the dining options?
        • Is career counseling available, along with alumni success stories {graduation rates}?
        • While you’re on campus does it feel like it could be a home away from home {is it a good fit for you}?

        You’ve got your questions ready – what’s next?

        September – February

        1/ VISIT:: some campus’ in the Fall:: Most campus’ have scheduled visit days

        2/ RANK:: your short list:: 3-5 schools is plenty to apply to

        3/ STAY FOCUSED:: Colleges still look at your senior year grades + activities

        4/ ACT/SAT:: If you haven’t done it already take the ACT or SAT in the Fall {you can re-take in the Winter + Spring}

        5/ MAKE A LIST:: Start a spreadsheet with all the deadlines so you don’t miss out

        6/ CONNECT WITH COUNSELOR EARLY:: Might surprise ya, but you’re not the only one asking your counselor to send transcripts or getting letters of rec – START EARLY

        7/ COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATIONS:: Get your applications filled out + essay’s written for your short list schools {Common App opened August 1st}.

        8/ FAFSA:: 2020-2021 opens October 1 + some college scholarships are FIRST COME – FIRST GET!

        9/ REVIEW COLLEGE FINANCIAL AID:: If you file early the award packages should arrive by late November – keep on top of your short list schools.

        March – July

        10/ LAST PREP:: Not happy with your ACT/SAT score then retake them one last time

        11/ TIME TO CHOOSE:: Notify your lucky school by May 1 that you’re coming

        12/ CONFIRMATION:: Have you received your FAFSA confirmation? Your award letter?

        13/ GET TALKIN’:: Attend scheduled college events, connect with your roommate(s), go to the summer orientation

        It’s a BIG YEAR, but remember to make it a FUN YEAR! Celebrate all the lasts this year + look ahead so you can go into the next chapter prepared and ready to live YOUR best college life.

        TIME SAVER #1:: Common App opened August 1st. Save time by checking out which of your schools use Common App so you only have to fill out one application to send to multiple schools. After talking to a few college admission advisors we were told that she receives the applications and it doesn’t tell her which comes from Common App & which were filled out on their website.

        TIME SAVER #2:: Essay writing – Edit your main essay question in a document you save so you can revise it to fit future application essay’s when possible. Your focus still needs to be on your studies, activities, enjoying your LASTS…not obsessing over essay number nine that you need create.

        Want more college help?

        Have a peek at these past posts::

        Just Starting the College Search

        5 Tips to Help with the College Search

        College Tips 2.0

        CHEERS & SPARKLES to your search!


        P.S. We started college visits sophomore year to get some easy questions out of the way {big – medium – small school feels better / sports matter – don’t matter / how far from home} Can’t hurt to get a head start.

        P.P.S. Know someone who would like these tips? e-mail them this link to help out so they can stop stressing and keep having fun in these last high school years {or months}😉

        sycamore-photographer, st-charles-photographers,college-tips, high-school-tips
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          10 Reasons Why You’ll Fall Head over Heels in Love with Senior Year

          My heart is always a little bittersweet as I get ready to send off my seniors!

          senior-portraits, senior-photographer-near-me, professional-portraits, senior-pictures, Geneva-IL, Geneva-IL-photographer

          Although it’s always a little hard to see these amazing young people become adults, my emotions are ALWAYS overwhelmed with excitement more than anything else! I’m a mom myself + feel that tug of these seniors leaving the nest, which leaves me excited + anxious at the same time. Senior year is amazing and filled with last memories.

          All of your school moments that you’ve experienced – from bummer to breathtaking – have brought you to this year. This is your year of lasts & it’s time to celebrate it! True, there’s also a lot of planning to be done, college applications, {and I have a checklist to help with that}, take the ACT one more time…but TODAY, in this moment,

          there are 10 reasons I want you to fall in love with your senior year!

          You can make THIS year outshine the rest!

          1. You’re finally at the top

          You’re finally a senior which is great! You have a lot going on, but remember those first years, + help out that lonely or confused freshmen. Those at the top shine brightest when they lift others up!

          2. Your brain is not a day, week, month planner…It’s time to get organized and start making a list of what needs to get done

          Whether it’s a paper list or app, NOW is time for Organization 101 – it relieves a lot of stress. I’m the queen of stress…and also the queen of lists. Don’t leave your high school halls still writing with a Sharpie on the back of your hand #whatpaperisduetoday

          3. Remember that every game, concert, play…is your last as part of the student body – don’t sit home all year – go out and enjoy a few of the LASTS! Yes, study hard, but also make time for the fun stuff!

          4. Get those senior pictures done. Seriously! 

          …But even if I’m not your senior photographer {I know, crazy talk}, GET SENIOR PORTRAITS!

          Capture your best self NOW, before you head off to live your best life!

          And for the guys, I know it seems like the worst day ever to go get senior pictures, but it makes us Moms over the moon happy – if not for you, do it for your Mom.

          5. Careful what you post on your social media

          I’m sure you’ve already heard this a 100x, but whenever you put something out on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and the next big social app – it becomes PUBLIC for anyone…including a future boss and college admissions board. Keep it clean!

          6. Be real!

          I’m as guilty as the next person of being attached to my phone, but when you’re sitting in a group of friends – BE WITH YOUR FRIENDS – you may not see most of these people ever again once you toss your grad hat in the air on graduation day.

          7. Work hard + play hard

          Yep, your grades, clubs, extra curricular’s are all important, but equally important is having fun with your friends & family. Keep stress in check!

          8. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye

          When one door closes, another one opens is a phrase that rings true:

          This is a year of LASTS, so yes, it’s a big year. But moving out into a new chapter to start living your best life is exciting too. No need to be scared of it, look at it as your next great adventure.

          9. If there have been things you’ve been scared to try – this is the year to try it!

          You’re still at home + have your family near if it fails and need someone to lean on…which brings me to my next point

          10. This is the time to appreciate your family

          Don’t forget to love and appreciate the people who helped you on your journey so far! Make time to take your siblings to ice cream, or to write your parents a note.  Appreciate people who’ve been there for you.

          senior-pictures, senior-portraits, senior-portfolio, senior-photographer-gallery, Geneva-Illinois, Senior-pictures-sycamoreShining-Moments-Photography, Senior-portraits, Senior-photographer, senior-pictures, urban-photography, geneva-illinois-photographer

          Your senior story tailored to you down to the little details. Let’s make sure we tell your story before you’re off to live your next chapter!

          2020 Seniors click your badge of honor to reserve your senior session today!

          2020, seniors, graduation, graduate, 25-tips, tips, photography-tips, senior-photographer, senior-photography, senior-pictures, senior-portraits, batavia-il, geneva-il, st-charles-il, sycamore-il


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          I capture your best self, before you head off to live your best life!



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            Shining Moments Photography | Sycamore, IL | 815.751.2247