A Makeup Career

Makeup artistry is an exciting field of art to work in, although it can be difficult to navigate if you are doing it alone. The plus side is you get the profit and the credit, the downside is how are you going to be noticed?
My advice is to refine your makeup skills. In some U.S. states you have to get licensed from a school before you work on others in salons. If you go into special effects you probably will need good classes. However you don’t have to go to a beauty school and many successful makeup artists don’t.
-Learn proper sanitation
-Practice on as many different faces possible. (age, color, gender, race, skin types, etc)
-Practice on your friends.
-Use a variety of brands by researching the top products.
-In the beginning you most likely will not get paid.
-Make and dedicate an email for only makeup related jobs to stay organized.
-Be careful what kind of photographs you put out there (on the internet or in others hands) of yourself or work you’ve done. You don’t want to be embarrassed later on by a naked photo a shunned ex took of you in happier times or an nude of a model with your name credited to the makeup.  Not good to begin your career with.
-Start a blog. Eventually you can turn it into your personal website.
-Network on the internet and real life heavily!
-Have some business cards made and pass them out. Post them places.
-Paid or not, always ask for a signed model release form from your models to give you clear rights to publish their photos.
-Be picky with whom you choose as your models..google their names (real and internet) and check out their resume’s. (its for your safety and reputation!)
-Remember everyone has their own idea of beauty and everyone photographs differently so don’t choose just because you think they are “pretty”, have a variety. Do the same with the photographer’s names.
-Some models and some photographers do and do not want to be credited. Make sure you write this information down. Make sure you keep their names, numbers and emails even if they aren’t credited.
-Have a portfolio of your best work… i’d say no more than 10-12 high quality color photographs in the size 11×14 on high quality paper, so potential clients can see your skill easily.
-Learn how to use your camera well, for the first pictures in your portfolio you’ll need a few headshots, a smiling picture, a bridal picture, no nudes, an angled facial shot (however you’ll need to take a lot of pictures for that each choice, possibly thousands), work on a variety of people. Have normal makeup, to heavier makeup and possibly a creative shot of “different” makeup. If you have a photographer friend, ask them to help you with photographs. (network with them too!)
-If you don’t have 10-12 superb shots take out the so-so shots and work with only your best for now, build up as you get better, but picture overload in a portfolio is ultimately boring.
-Don’t use 2 pictures from the same shoot and try to use all different models. Network!!
-Don’t use photoshop. This defeats the purpose of your makeup skills. If you must do anything, it would be adjusting the brightness/contrast or the exposure, but the photographer should be good enough so that you will not have to do this.  I am not  a makeup artist, so I play with photoshop, not to change the color completely, but to attempt to make the picture on my monitor look the same as on my face.. without the proper equipment and knowledge of photography it is impossible for me at the present moment to do so.
-You, your model and photographer choose the best 200 or so from the 1500 photo shoot pictures, the professional pictures. Listen to them, sometimes your choice is not the best. Keep in mind light, composition, and exposure. further narrow down your choices by asking friends.
-Make a smaller informal portfolio with more photographs for carrying around in your purse or put it on your coffee table.. you never know when an opportunity may arise at an odd place. Keep these high quality too.
-A portfolio on a disk is a good idea too, but it does not replace the feel of an actual book. 72 dpi or pictures that don’t require you to scroll the page to see the entire picture. This is more for you, incase something happens to your prints. Also have backups elsewhere…on a memory stick kept safely, a private picture hosting site, etc.
-Keep yourself looking great, no one is going to hire an unstylish makeup artist with bad skin and a bad attitude. Mind, body and soul.
-Answer ads on Craigslist, Facebook, etc. for jobs that need a makeup artist.
-Advertise on Craigslist for models that will work for photos and photographers that need makeup artists in return for you to show their pictures or not.
-Respect the models, stylists and photographers you work with. Play as nice as you can but still be professional. It’s a close collaboration and each has an equally important role to play, however but only 1 of the 3 will benefit most.
-Don’t expect to get paid much or anything for your first jobs. Pay goes up as experience and your skill is shown through pictures and word of mouth.
-For actual “photo shoots” you may not get paid in money, but in photographs and connections.
-Eventually you’ll be able to retire your first makeup pictures and replace them with professional ones. Hopefully your newest photographs will be your best, so your portfolio is always fresh.
-Remember the seasons and who you are marketing to in the beginning… prom season, bridal makeup(although beware brides want to look perfect their special day and will have a fit if they do not look how they want), holidays… test the waters of many things and if you find a particular avenue you just love and are good at stick with it for awhile. or forever if you are successful.
-Eventually, if you choose, you can make specific portfolio’s for potential clientele..for example a bridal portfolio, but make sure your makeup looks and models are diverse enough to show your range of skills and are of great quality. You could also make a crazy makeup look portfolio with your wildest avant-garde photographs.
-Get in good with the best photographers…ultimately people look at the picture as a whole, not just the makeup, so you need to have the best to get jobs.
-If you end up being widely successful you will no longer be doing bridal, prom or makeup of that nature. Most likely you’ll be after editorial work or film. Fashion week is only twice a year and you can’t make a steady paycheck like that.
-If you work through an agency remember they are going to take a chunk of your money.
-When you have an agency review your portfolio first make sure your photographs are of the same style as theirs. If not, try another agency.
-While many make it on talent, some make it on hard work, dedication and not giving up. Not everyone will like you or your work. But the one that does could change your life forever.

-If your photographs do make a magazine you can bet that the makeup you did will have been manipulated somehow.  If you do not think this will happen then look at nearly every other picture in the magazine and judge for yourself.

There are a ton of other tips I could give you here. I love makeup but I have a phobia of touching people’s faces I don’t know. I applaud and admire the people that can do that. I like photography too, but it doesn’t allow same creative outlet as makeup application does. For now I read and read on the subjects. Most likely this post will continue to grow and get edited. If you have something to share or correct I will gladly consider it.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lee Orlian
    Aug 26, 2012 @ 00:51:48

    You have a fabulous blog. I am a make-up artist too and am wanting to put up a blog like my own to let everyone know about my work and my talent in the greater Chicago area. Can you help me with something? How did you start with your business and do you think online promotion would be good for me too?


  2. zulema2
    Aug 01, 2010 @ 21:30:33

    You have a Fabulous Blog.. I just love it 🙂


  3. jessiicadiane
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 12:17:08

    Loved the tips. & you are doing amazing work.
    Keep it up!


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