Makeup Tips from Birmingham H&MU Artist Madeline Hulsey | Arden Photography

Madeline Hulsey is a professional hair & make-up artist based in Birmingham, Alabama. She works at Wildflower Hair and Nail Studio in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Madeline, better known as Maddie, specializes in hair cutting & coloring, & she has been doing hair & makeup as a career since she was 16 years old.

Maddie never meets a stranger. Her kind-hearted, bubbly personality always leaves her customers feeling enlightened & joyous by her radiant character.

Working in the beauty community for several years now, Maddie knows a thing or two when it comes to preparing her brides & bridal parties, albeit she would never admit that herself.

Here are a few quick & easy tips Maddie swears by to leave your wedding day, at least the hair & makeup aspect, a little more stress-free:

  • Sometimes… less is more. On your wedding day, ensure to enhance your beauty instead of reinventing an entirely new look.

    • You want people to appreciate the beauty you already have shining within you.


    • Water keeps your skin replenished and gives it that top-notch bridal glow.

  • Get plenty of rest. You would be surprised with how much a few extra hours of sleep helps on your big day.

    • More sleep = clear skin, reduced stress, less fatigue, & less bloating.

  • Skincare is KEY for a refreshed look. Start a stable skincare routine a few months out from your wedding.

    • By giving yourself enough time in between finding out what skin products work for you & your big celebration, your skin will be thanking you for giving it that little extra attention & time, & you will be feeling unstoppable.

  • Make sure your in love with your trial run.

    • If you’re not feeling something during your trial, you most likely won’t be feeling it on your wedding day either. Ask questions or suggest something you want to do. It is YOUR big day after all, we just want to make you feel comfortable & special.

  • Get a lip color you adore & take it to your trial.

    • This allows you not to have to worry about pesky touch-ups after the hair & make-up team head out. Some artists give you a complimentary lip color, but that isn’t the case all of the time.

  • Make sure your hair is freshly colored and shiny for your big day.

    • Of course, only if you want to. Fresh color and conditioning treatments just give your hair that extra luster you’ll be appreciating looking back at photographs.

  • Lashes are a MUST!

    • They make your eyes appear more wide awake & bright, & they pull together the final touches of any makeup look.

    • You can also get them customized with individual lashes so that you can control the lash intensity, volume, & length.

Photo by: Arden Upton

Photo by: Arden Upton

Photo by: Arden Upton

Photo by: Arden Upton

Photo by: Arden Upton

Photo by: Arden Upton

Wedding Makeup Tips from Miss Alabama USA 2019 Hannah McMurphy | Arden Photography

Being present in the pageant world has taught the current Miss Alabama USA, Hannah McMurphy, a ton about makeup: what looks good, what doesn’t, and a whole lot of trial and error. But, before her current namesake, and prior to being fully invested in the pageant community, Hannah worked, and still works, as a hair and makeup artist for weddings, pageants, and formal events.

Despite weddings and pageants having vastly different end-products, one ending with a ring on one’s finger and the other, hopefully, a crown atop one’s head, they do share some commonalities in the makeup realm. When approaching makeup in both the wedding and pageant style, here are a few tips and tricks your local Alabama representative has dubbed as fool-proof:

  • Eyelashes are a MUST! They tie together the look and add extra glam and definition to the eyes.

  • Brows are SO important! Fill those babies in, and remember they’re sisters NOT twins.

    • “Usually a shade range of one to three shades lighter or darker of your natural hair color is the safe zone for brow fill-in color.”

  • Bronzing your face gives more dimension and liveliness to your features. Don’t be scared of it! Just remember to build the color up.

  • For a “snatched” looking nose, contour along the bridge of your nose, not on the sides as that can make it look wider. Go in with a highlight and lightly apply it in a thin, but blended, line down your bridge. For added contour, take an under-eye powder and place it along the sides of your nose around the contoured area. This will blend the wider parts of your nose into your face and accentuate only the contoured part.

  • A good under-eye powder will brighten up your face, make it appear more open, and clean up any fall-out.

    • “Under-eye powder is GREAT in moderation. Don’t put too much on, though, it can flash back with flash photography and make you appear like you have white circles under your eyes.”

      • Try: bareMinerals Well Rested Under Eye Powder Concealer

  • Slightly over line your lips for a poutier look.

    • “This tip can go south very fast. You only want to over line the fullest part of your lips right above the natural lip line. I always use a gloss, too, to pack a little more punch.”

Photo: Arden Upton  H&MU: Madeleine Hulsey

Photo: Arden Upton

H&MU: Madeleine Hulsey

Photo: GrantFoto  H&MU: Makenna Henning

Photo: GrantFoto

H&MU: Makenna Henning

Photo: Arden Upton  H&MU: Madeleine Hulsey

Photo: Arden Upton

H&MU: Madeleine Hulsey

Photo: Austin Ryde  H&MU: Austin Ryde

Photo: Austin Ryde

H&MU: Austin Ryde

Makeup Go-To's for Weddings from H&MU Artist Kali Sturgis | Arden Photography

Hi! Kali, here! Not only am I Arden’s intern, but I also do hair and makeup for weddings, pageants, and formal events.

When I think weddings, I think glowing bride. And by glowing, I mean highlight, highlight, and oh, did I mention, highlight?

My go-to makeup for brides and bridesmaids, unless if they know specifically what they want and/or provide examples, is light, shimmery eye shadows, dewy skin, and nude, pink-y lips. I feel that this look gives enough drama to the client while also not taking away from their natural beauty. Enhancing is the goal.

Contrary to most beauty routines, I usually start with the eyes. This allows easier clean up of fall-out and less stress on the artist for accidents. I lightly fill-in the brows before starting eyeshadow, and then I come back in with an eyeshadow primer and/or concealer to clean up the brow and prime the eyes for eyeshadow. Eyebrows are SO important because they are what frame one of the most important features of your face. The key with eyeshadow is to BLEND and build the color. It is a lot easier to make an eye darker than to lighten it up. Pearls and champagnes make for beautiful brow bone, inner corner, and inner eye highlight and ultimately brighten up the eyes and make them appear brighter and more awake. From there, I tend to stick to neutral, warm browns and light oranges as transition shades in the crease, and bronze and deep browns for the outer corner. Whatever I use on the lid, I drag down below the lower lash line. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT to pull together the eyeshadow. It makes the eyeshadow look complete and balances the eye out. If someone likes darker eyeshadows, I’ll add dark gray or black to the outer corner, but like I said earlier, it is much easier to ask the client what they would prefer after the final look is complete. People ALWAYS have different thoughts on what natural and glam makeup look like, so it’s much easier to build up the color than try to take away. For eyeliner, I stick to browns in the waterline because it is not as harsh as black, and on the lid, I usually only use a deep brown or black eyeshadow on a thin angled brush to have a soft, smokier look.

On to lashes! A good mascara is a must, and I love L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise… waterproof of course. We’re talking about the chance of tears looking pretty high, always happy ones though. I always recommend fake lashes to every client. To me, they pull together any look and add extra glam to the bridal party. If clients are wary about strip lashes, individual lashes are a great alternative. They tend to feel less invasive, and they can be built up to suit any person’s preference. The great thing about fake lashes, too, is that they’ll come off when you wash your makeup off!

After eyes, I move on to foundation, cleaning up any fall-out around the eye before applying. Doing it in this order is just preference, though. Personally, I feel that it can make for a cleaner, accident-free session. Regarding foundation, you don’t want something cake-y or drying, so I try to steer myself toward light-to-medium coverage foundations like Fenty Beauty or Estee Lauder. I usually use a damp beauty blender to pat on the foundation onto the client’s face. The beauty blender allows you to control the coverage of the foundation pretty well, so as not to cover up too much. Unless if asked to do so, we LOVE to see brides’ and bridesmaids’ freckles and moles! After foundation, I’ll use concealer to get the under-eye and spot treat any additional problem areas. Remember the goal is to enhance, not cover up.

Once base is complete, I usually go in with a baking or banana powder and set along the under eye, across the forehead, down the bridge of the nose, on the chin, and underneath the hollows of the cheek. To me, this adds extra definition and dimension to the face. A bronzer/contour powder is used next to shade and add more color to the client’s face. It is very important to make sure that whatever shading color you are using is not too orange or too gray. We don’t want Cheetos or the Walking Dead to be present at the ceremony. Then I go in with blush on the apples of the cheek. I tend to be attracted more to rosy pinks, corals, and peaches because I feel they give the most natural looking “blushing bride” face.

Then, to my FAVORITE part. H I G H L I G H T. To me, highlight adds that extra glow, sparkle, and oomph to any bridal makeup. I usually go for champagnes, golds, pearls, and light pink highlighters, as they seem to blend more seamlessly into the skin and compliment a wide array of complexions. I place it along the high points of the cheekbones, lightly down the bridge of the nose, on the cupid’s bow, center of the chin, and my favorite spot ABOVE the brows.

After finishing the face, I do the lips. Most of the time the bride or bridesmaid know what colors they want to use, have to use, or prefer, but if not my go-to is a nude or light berry pink. I fill in their lips with a corresponding lipliner color first, as this prevents lip color from bleeding and allows the color to stay longer and be more vivid. Then, I go in with the desired lip color. I tend to be drawn to lip glosses more so than lipsticks, but it’s always up to the client’s preferences.

Lastly, to set everything in place I use a setting spray (Morphe’s is one of my faves), and then I lightly pat in the setting spray with the previously used damp beauty blender, as I have found that this melds the makeup more seamlessly into the skin.

Photo by: Arden Upton  H&MU: Kali Sturgis

Photo by: Arden Upton

H&MU: Kali Sturgis

Photo by: Arden Upton  H&MU: Kali Sturgis

Photo by: Arden Upton

H&MU: Kali Sturgis

Photo by: Arden Upton  H&MU: Kali Sturgis

Photo by: Arden Upton

H&MU: Kali Sturgis

Laura & Brooks Engagement: Arden Photography

Southern winters are characterized by rain, fog, and long nights. As photographers, this is not such a bad thing. Clearly exemplified by these absolutely beautiful and intimate engagement portraits we shot in Selma, Alabama. This is their family property which is obviously a wonderful setting for photos, but what make these favorites is the soft, quiet romance so visible between these two - aren't you just daydreaming of cuddling up on a rainy Sunday, coffee in hand, bundled up in a blanket with lake views now? Who better for this stylish couple to be represented by than Mariée Ami Wedding Planning? Maybe rainy winter days aren't the absolute worst after all? 


Baby Azok: Arden Photography

We have been there through it all with Billy and Dawn, and we are so happy to finally meet baby William! We just recently shot Dawn's maternity photos, and it was so easy to see how excited these soon-to-be-parents were. Now that he is here, these are the happiest parents in the world, and we felt privileged to photograph the love between these three. We cannot wait for the next chapter in your book Dawn, Billy, and William - congratulations! 

Billy & Dawn Are Expecting: Arden Photography

Everyone has their own definition of photography and what they like to capture best. To us, it is truly about capturing life happening - life stories in progress. Dawn and Billy have allowed us into their life for all of their biggest moments. We photographed their engagement portraits, their wedding day, and now she is pregnant with their first child! We have never not seen this couple quite literally glowing with happiness - we've seen it, we've captured it, we love it. We cannot wait to photograph the new baby, and to be there for another important and happy life story! Thank you allowing us to be there with you Billy and Dawn! 

Julie & Paul: Arden Photography

We loved shooting these engagement portraits out by Regions Field and Railroad Park! That Birmingham emblem blazing in the background makes for great photos! It seems so urban and modern and then you turn the corner and you have the lush green grass of Railroad Park - way to go Big Ham! Julie and Paul blended seamlessly into this landscape with their pet pup! This couple was so cute and affectionate - we can't wait to shoot their wedding in a few weeks! 

Family Portraits: Arden Photography

Family portraits are some of our favorite shoots to do! We love getting to know the family and watching the kids grow up over time as we often photograph the family more than once. We met Melissa at the Botanical Gardens with her two adorable children - I mean look at that red hair! Like mother, like daughter, right? 

Fall comes and goes so quickly around here! Be sure to book your fall family portraits now!

We Love Our Clients: Arden Photography

We loved shooting Brittany and Cory's engagement photos back in August! Can't believe it's already October and they are getting married this Saturday! Looking forward to more fun times out of this cute family! More photos to come. 

Happy Birthday Ekaterina: Arden Photography

It is Ekaterina's birthday today! Happy Birthday! She came by our studio for some quick head shots and portraits. We photographed her wedding earlier this year as well as her engagement story. We love sharing life milestones with all of our clients, and were so happy when Ekaterina came in to have more photos done with us! Take a look back at Ekaterina and Charlie's wedding day:



During the presidential elections we received an amazing phone call from the Democratic party to photograph Barack Obama while he was in Birmingham. At the time we took these shots it was so exciting but now that he is our nation’s 44TH president and we had the opportunity to photograph him on his way to the White House it seems surreal. It is funny how when you are in the middle of history in the making it can just go so fast. I am glad to have a time to reflect on the personal experience I had with photographing President Obama. Take a look at the images!

Melissa Hill Family Photos

Over the holidays I had the chance to photograph my good friend Melissa Hill. She owns Wedding Etc and is a favorite of many of our brides. I think these are great family memories. I hope to photograph her belly soon because Melissa & Caine are expecting twins.

Holiday Card Templates

#1 image goes in black space…front & back two sides shown here #2 front and back two sides shown here.#3 side one #4 both sides shown here#5 #6 two sided, side one shown here #7 side one #8 side one#8 side two #9

Photo Display Ideas

Great Portrait display ideas coming this Holiday season. I know so many of our clients love their images and are looking for help with how to show them off. Brett & Idea have gone to so many of your homes to measure and figure out where to put images. Finally we have a decor inspiration guide to help everyone!

Family Portrait time!

I have been photographing a lot of families recently. I know I usually post wedding and wedding related images but it is high time I start showing off these time images as well. I love to photograph kids! It is like having all the fun with them but not having to have one of your own. This cute little brother and sister Jack and Eliza I am very attached to. I have been photographing them since they were infants and now they growing up to be these amazing kids. They have got the best manners! I love to hear them say “Hi Mrs. Arden” They melt my heart!Chidren_family_portraits_birmingham_ALchildren_family_portrait_photography_birmingham_alabama