Makeup Artist: why are they essential for you and how to find them

In the beginning, I did not understand the importance of having a good makeup artist in the team. Fabiana always has, and if we did not fail in this field is just thanks to her. If you are like me, or if you are just struggling to find the right person to work with, this post is for you.
Today we will dig into the reason why a good makeup artist is vital for your shoot. What makes of a professional someone we want to work with and how do we try to keep our contacts happy. What we are looking for in someone to bring on board and why.
Then we will give you some tips on how and where you can find makeup artists and how can you see if they are the right match for you. If you are just starting up, this is an extremely valuable post for you, because after you will realise how much valuable a makeup artist is for your work, you will want to have someone with you, and we are going to tell you how you can do it.

Why a professional makeup is so essential?

If you are like me –either a man or someone with little understanding of the world of makeup… or both– you need to understand why a professional makeup artist is such an essential element in your team.
Let’s start from the technicalities. The camera eats a lot of makeup and what everybody think looks good is generally washed out in camera. A professional makeup artist who has experience in the photography world knows this and will be able to prepare your customer for the camera, and not just for her eyes! What she will do on your customer will make sure that she will shine in your images, without the need of working hours in post process. Pampering your customer is a key to make sure to do a great impression on them, and the makeup is an integral part of it!
You want to take care of your customer, of her poses and her smile. Your makeup artist is there to take care of her skin, lips, eyes and hair, for them to be ready for you!

You want an ally to relax your customers

Imagine you are my customer. You are excited and scared at the same time, you feel the pressure as you will be posing in your underwear. What is the best thing that can happen to you just before the shoot? In our opinion, a smiling person, who is merrily chatting away with you while applying your makeup, who knows the photographers and is happy working with them is on the top of the list.
Have a bubbly artist, and your work will be easy; when your customer is ready, she will be already quite relaxed.

Where to find make up artists?

Even if we have a wide list of makeup artists we work with, we are always on the lookout for new people to work with. Maybe it is for a specific skill they have, maybe because of their cultural origin they can be better suited for some specific customers, maybe because as we are in London people can get really busy and booked up. We have two main sources to find new artists: Model Mayhem and Twitter.
Model Mayhem is a network of professionals and semi-pro in the industry. You can open an account and start looking for makeup artists in your area. On Twitter, you can simply start searching for profiles online, shortlisting those in your area and contacting them.
I am sure there are plenty of other sources you can tap into (makeup schools and Facebook for example), these are just the two we use more often when we want to test with a new team!

How to make sure you are in touch with the right one?

Testing is the answer.
We are amongst those photographer who photograph for passion, and we photograph as a test even if we do not make any money out of a specific shoot, especially if the test allows us to get in touch with new creatives in the market.
One of the things you need to understand in the world of testing is that the one with the better portfolio gets paid. If you are starting out and the makeup artist you would like to bring on board for a portfolio shoot has a fabulous portfolio, you may have to pay her. Vice versa, if your portfolio is very strong and an up and coming makeup artist approaches you for a test, she might pay you. We know that there are makeup artists who “do not test“. Well, they simply won’t work with us, as they clearly do not share our vision of the world!

That’s it: once you organise a test shoot and you bring a makeup artist on board you can see if she is compatible with what you are expecting;

  • Is she a kind person who can help your customers relaxing?
  • Can she apply a good makeup you do not have to retouch in post production?
  • Is she capable of doing hair as well?
  • Can she prepare your customer in a timely manner?
  • Do the two of you go together well on a personal level?

If all the questions are a “yes“, you have found a good Makeup Artist you can bring on board for your customers!


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