Tag Archives: make-up artist

Shooting Beauty

An artist never stops growing, improving, learning and experimenting.  I am constantly pushing myself to develop my craft and technique because challenges are what keep you driving forward.  Putting words into action, I recently shot with photographer Patrick Mackey to create a series of beauty images.  The purpose of the shoot was to try new techniques in a setting where only your creativity was the limit.

Our model was the lovely Cristina from London Model Management and together this is what we created…


The first look was soft and natural. Well defined brows and neutral tones on the lips and eyes.

I focused on keeping the skin looking fresh and added a softly bronzed contour to bring dimension to Cristina’s face.  I blowdried Cristina’s hair using my H2d hairdryer and ran the irons over it for a sleek slightly ’90s look.  Nails were painted my favourite nude shade by L’Oreal “Rose Paradise“.


In black and white this translates to:

Reminds me of a Calvin Klein ad!

Reminds me of a Calvin Klein ad!

The next look I created featured a white graphic liner design.  Graphic liner is one of my favourite things to play around with on editorial shoots and what better time to practice than on a beauty shoot where precision and symmetry is everything.


Great pose and lighting set up makes for a strong shot!

I also like the graphic liner I did for this editorial which featured in Cellophane Magazine earlier this year.


Model Woan Ni is one of my favourites and it’s always a pleasure shooting with her. Thank you for letting me get graphic on your face Woanster!

Then for something totally different, I decided to use some gold leaf for the final look.


The finale! In order to bring balance to this shot, I added stronger metallic gold eyeshadow along with liquid liner, a few false lashes and a glossy berry lip.

Working with gold leaf is never an easy process.  It is extremely time consuming and precision is a must along with a lot of patience and a sense of humour.  However when you get it right, the end result is always worth it.

These shots are now in my portfolio and serve as a reminder to never stop challenging myself and most importantly, to enjoy the ride along the way.  Shooting beauty with a fun team is a great way to do both.

You can view more of my beauty work here and read up on other editorials I’ve worked on here and here.

Hope you enjoyed this post.  As always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below!


© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Witchery SS15 Make-Up & Hair

Last week I was invited to attend the Witchery “Spirit of Now” SS15 runway show and it was a pleasant reminder that summer is on the way! I was taken backstage to preview the new make-up collection by Witchery and also talked through the hair looks by the Aveda hair team.

Make Up was directed by one of my favourite artists, Kellie Stratton, whose covers you might just recognise!


Image courtesy of The Artist Group

Inspired by Lauren Hutton, Kellie Stratton designed a beautiful bronze ’70s-inspired look that I think anyone could wear this spring/summer because it was so light and fresh. Hooray for I’m a bit lazy and or low maintenance simple chic SS15 make-up!


Effortless chic make-up designed by Kellie Stratton for Witchery SS15 runway show. Image courtesy of La Tessa Photography.

Here’s a look at the make-up collection used backstage.


L to R: Gel Nail Polish in “Taupe”, Lip Gloss Wand in “Shell”, Lipsticks in “Dusty Pink” and “Nougat”, Eyebrow Pencil in “Blonde” and “Brunette”, Fibrelash Mascara in black, Cheek Palettes in “Crimson” and “Sorbet”, Eye Shimmer Pots in “Quartz” and “Sahara”, Bronzer in “Sahara”, Eye Palette in “Hazel” and kabuki brush.

Standouts for me were:

The Bronzer


Witchery Bronzer in “Sahara” – Non-orange, not too shimmery, great pigment and easy to blend.

The Mascara


Witchery Fibrelash Mascara – can be layered over and over again without clogging.

The Eyeshadow Palettes


The eyeshadow palettes: great pigment, minimal fallout, great blending power, modern shades

This is what the full range looks like and you can click here to shop the look or find out more about the make-up.


The Witchery Make Up range

Directing hair was renowned session stylist Alan White for Aveda. Alan and his team created two different looks, both giving a nod to late 70s/early 80s.

The first look was “nonchalant poolside hair” and I love the contrasts of textures in this style .


Undone but without flyaways, shine without the weight, loose waves but polished.
Photos courtesy of La Tessa Photography and Aveda.

The second look was “a slightly 80s architectural top knot” that worked well when styled with the new Witchery Balance activewear.


Sleek and simple so as to keep modern and avoid looking too retro.
Photos courtesy of La Tessa Photography and Aveda.

Then I got to take my seat and watch the show come together.

It was great to see some familiar faces on the runway (and had to resist the urge to wave!).

Walking for Vivien’s was the lovely Woan Ni.









With whom I worked on this editorial.


“The Seidler Garage” for Cellophane Magazine.

And also walking for Vivien’s was Ben…









Who provided us with plenty of entertainment for this editorial.


“Heat in the City” for Absorb Magazine.

Back to the runway…


Some of my highlights


The finale

Stylist at Elevate Styling and fashion assistant at Woman’s Day, Orla Molloy had this to say:


Orla’s standout pieces were the white slouchy tuxedo and espadrille style flat sandals and says that the colour palette of crisp white, nudes and a touch of indigo will blend seamlessly into our current wardrobes. Couldn’t agree more Orla, always a welcome face at Sonia Allen Make Up.

I left this show feeling really inspired for Spring/Summer 2015 and I love the direction that both Alan and Kellie took the hair and make-up styling.  And I may have already revamped some of my wardrobe at Witchery… multiple times.

Which product are you now wanting to try out?  What was your favourite runway look?  Leave me your comments below.













© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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You know you’re a make-up artist when…

You’re up at 5am blowdrying brushes that didn’t get a chance to dry overnight before your next job that day.

Dry my pretties.  Dry!

Dry my pretties. Dry!

All your clothes have a make up stain on them somewhere.

And so does your carpet. The bloody unforgiving carpet. I am slowly running out of strategically placed rugs in my place and hope Mr Allen never reads this post.

Guilty dog

I know the feeing buddy.

You feel like your motto should be “heave ho heave ho” from lugging all that kit around.

You notice the beauty in everyone.

Especially when working with brides on their wedding day.   Happy people are beautiful people.

Especially when working with brides on their wedding day. Happy people are beautiful people.

Make up shopping is part of the job and feels like Christmas (sometimes every week!).

MU Shopping

No shortage of these bags at my place.

You work with fun people. All the time!  Musicians, singers, actors, dancers, models, photographers, stylists…. And realise the world is full of talent.

Charles' Dickens House

With Benjamin Von Wong, one of my favourite photographers of all time.

You love what you do so much you never really feel like you work. Except when you have to heave ho.

You have impressive upper body strength.

You double up as a photography assistant and have mastered the art of holding the reflector.

Sonia with the relfector

Can’t fake that enthusiasm

You get to see the best parts of the city in which you live and find out about its hidden gems.

Whether it is rooftops in London...

Whether it is rooftops in London…

Or cliff faces along beautiful beaches...

Or cliff faces along beautiful beaches…

Or a 500 year old house where Charles Dickens used to write...

Or a 500 year old house where Charles Dickens used to write…




Or aboard this UK Navy ship...

Or aboard this UK Navy ship…




Dream Work Locations

Or this party house where INXS used to record…

A good shoot gives you the best high.

You are never completely “happy” with your work and it can always be better.

You find lash glue in your hair at random times.

You have a room in your house dedicated to your kit.

You have a hard time convincing insurance companies that yes, your kit IS worth that much.

The only time you take selfies is when you are delirious on set and want to document how very un-fashion you are.  They never get posted anywhere until you have to update your blog and forget you promised never to let the selfie see the light of day.

So fly.

So fly with Josh, my partner in crime.

Your make up brushes are one of your most valuable and personal possessions. No airport security you may not touch my brushes, I will get them out for you. True story.

I now know how to say "don't touch" in four languages!

I now know how to say “don’t touch” in four languages!

You can look past judgmental people’s judgment of what you do because you know that unlike them, you love what you do, you wouldn’t want to do anything else and you are happy.

You are your own boss. Epic win. For so many reasons.

You walk into IMATS and never want to leave. This truly is your happy place.

Sonia at IMATS

IMATS = International Make Up Artists Trade Show but in my speak IMATS = immabouttolosemymind!!!

You notice everyone’s eyebrows.  More on this here.

You work with so many pretty things!!






Shoes & bling

Shoes & bling…  See where I’m going with this!?

You work 80hours a week to avoid working 40hours every week.

You never get sick of hearing “so what’s your favourite product?” because it changes every week.

You play Blendoku instead of Sudoku.

Blendoku.  All about colour theory.

Blendoku. All about colour theory.

There are many highs and lows to being a full time professional make up artist. It’s not always glitz and glam and the uncertainty can be hard at times. For me, I keep chipping away because at the end of the day I know that I am living my dream. And it drives me everyday.

Sonia Allen at Work

What do you love most about your job?  If you’re not already doing it, what would your dream job be?


© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Sonia Allen Make Up at One Fine Day

Fist times can be… nerve-racking, exciting, suspenseful and exhilarating. Throw in some fun and creativity and this summarises the lead up to my first time as a vendor at the One Fine Day wedding fair in Sydney’s Australian Technology Park.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD

There were months of PPO. Planning, Preparation and my middle-name, Organisation. You should have seen the folder with its colour coded filing system! The good people of Officeworks on Pitt St know me by name.

There were also many people who helped along the way. My thanks go to:

Talented stylist and assistant on the day, Orla Molloy of Elevate Styling – I can’t thank you enough for your vision, dedication and my new-found addiction to banana bread.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 16

Orla from Elevate Styling – stylist and visual merchandiser






Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 14

And also lots of fun!







Graphic and web designer Ben McArthur for all your artwork, website updates and for knowing when to say, “No Sonia, it doesn’t need a floral border”. You were right, you always are and that is why it’s been such a wonderful partnership for so many years.





Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 8





Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 5





Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 4






Photographer extraordinaire Tim Engelbrecht of Hello Sweetheart for your help putting together my video and for capturing the day. The only photographer I don’t run away from. I even smile!

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 1

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 2

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 10

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 6Multitasking models: Moira from Moira Hughes Couture who also leant her boutique to film (couldn’t dream of a more beautiful space); Mel from Oak & Linden who arranged my flowers and Ash who had good chat!

Moira Hughes and myself on filming day.

Moira Hughes and myself on filming day.

Flowers arranged by Mel from Oak & Linden

Flowers arranged by Mel from Oak & Linden

Born to Party’s resident ballooner Shannon for the biggest bunch of balloons I’ve ever seen. Your enthusiasm is infectious and your creations can’t help but make people happy.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 12Thanks also to Grain and Co for making my custom sign, Ashdown & Bee and Chair Hire Co for the furniture loan and my editor Fiona who even dropped by to say hello.

And finally to my family. My mother-in-law who sewed my backdrop, my sister-in-law who gave great advice and Mr Allen who is in need of lots and lots of beer. Thanks for all the support, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Highlights from the weekend included sharing my passion with so many people…

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 17

All the excitement and happiness under one roof is a feeling I’ll never forget.

And hanging out with all my fabulous neighbours: In an Instant Photography, Bridesmaids Only, Pearlys, Grew & Co., The Cake King, Top Cat Catering, Savvy Brides, Wedded Wonderland and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel.

I posed in photobooths, “sampled” a lot of cake (when is too much!?), showcased my moves to Snoop Dogg (DJ’s choice not mine I promise, although I loved it!)… and I may have even ordered a little something from Viktoria Novak for a very special bride this coming September in London.

In An Instant Photography- Sonia & Orla

Photobooth time with In An Instant Photography.

All in all, a top weekend! Thanks for having me One Fine Day. See you all next time.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 9



© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.










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A thank you from Corina

There are moments in life where you think, yes…  this is why I do what I do.  I recently received a lovely note from one of my brides Corina and had that very moment.

Photo courtesy of Livia Giacomini Photography

Who says three’s a crowd!?

“It’s hard to put into words how happy I was with my make-up on my wedding day, one of the most wonderful days of my life to date. Sonia was so calm and professional on what was a very busy day (and very organised!). She is a true professional, yet so personable and wonderful to have around. She made me and my bridesmaids feel relaxed and confident. I would absolutely recommend her for brides who want a thoughtful and talented make-up artist, who is responsive to suggestions, yet has a very clear vision and a keen eye for accentuating your best features. Sonia knows how to make a bride look beautiful and that is exactly how I felt on the day. It was so lovely to have Sonia be a part of our day. We were all so impressed by her talent. I cannot thank her enough.”

Photo courtesy of Livia Giacomini Photography

With a future wife like that, I can understand why the groom is so happy!

I wish you all the happiness as you start your married life together.

All photos courtesy of Livia Giacomini photography

If you’d like to know more about the make-up look I created or products used, fire away with your questions!


© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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