The Biggest Problem in the fashion photography Business, And How You Can Fix It



The Biggest Problem in the fashion photography Business, And How You Can Fix It


No matter how much I like fashion photography, especially when I remember the reasons why I got involved with this industry, inspired by Vogue and photographers like Guy Bourdin, Ellen Von Unwerth and Alessio Bolzoni; my relationship with this industry will always be unstable. I do not remember how many times I said “ok. This was my last shoot “or” I’m officially out of this… I’m out”… as if I had ever really been “in”.


I think that fashion photography has lost it’s essence over the years. At some point in history, photographing a celebrity, started to be more important than the true concept of the entire production.


Talking about fashion photography nowadays is talking about how “goddess” is the model you got for next Tuesday’s shooting, about the fact that she/he has 100K followers on Instagram and how that shooting with that famous celebrity will possibly opens the doors to a thousand other productions.


I started to realize the situation when a very good friend told me:


“If you had – a celebrity – in this picture, you would be famous.”


That comment woke me up. It made me realize what I was getting into and how irrelevant my work seemed to be by not having someone important in front of the lens.


Undoubtedly, this industry is led by contacts, followers and fame, leaving talent, technique and the conceptual burden of each production aside. I think that to be effectively good at something, you have to be good with nothing. Without money, without contacts, without fame or agencies that support you. I believe that a good professional must know how to solve a problem with very few resources he or she has, and making the most of them in order to prove how good he/she is.


I definitely think that fashion photography is based on teamwork. Working with good professionals and a team that shares the same moral values and goals, makes the difference in every way. But I also believe that no profession should overshadow the other.


I understand the professionals who are permanently trying to shoot famous models, because of the diffusion that their work would have, and because they would have a minimum possibility for being seen by someone relevant and standing out among the wide variety of photographers in this saturated industry… However, I think it is important not to lose focus, and just stop looking for other’s acceptance in order to let the photographs speak for themselves.


Although I do not consider myself a fashion photographer, I like doing fashion photography. I started working with friends, people that I just met and wanted to be part of a shooting. I consider myself very lucky because I could really find people with whom I do not only share a particular taste for fashion, but I had been able to work with people who really understood my vision and what I wanted to communicate at each shooting. They have always taken it very seriously, and they have understood the concept at a truly meaningful level, which allowed them to transmit it through the body and gaze in a very powerful way.


I believe in old photography; which generated value over things by photographing them. It differs from the current photography in which the things to be photographed are already overvalued. Today the object in front of the lens gives value to the photo, when it’s actually the photograph which has the power to make something worth to be seen, by the decision of capturing it forever. Leave it registered in time. Make it eternal.


I do not think there is a solution to this particular problem, I do not think there is a way to stop it, but definitely each professional can decide how to practice the profession. There are two options:



The first one involves hanging on others fame and recognition without ever really knowing how much your work is worth. And the second is to stop talking about “followers” and start talking about lights and concepts.


If the idea is good, consistent, and if there is willingness to work and a group of people wanting the same goal, the results will not fail. Find the people who respect your work and value it, not because of the fact that they pay you, but because of they want to work with you for your way of perceiving the world.


The solution is to focus on what matters, on the profession, on the team, on the concept and trust your work, believing that this will take you where you want to be. The solution is to keep working focused. I know this is so easy to say but it is the only way to really know how far you can go and the actual value of your work. That’s the most important thing, not only for self-realization and professional self-acceptance, but to stay in this challenging industry forever.


There is nothing more satisfying than getting what you want by having earned it.




By Lucila Abdala




Instagram. @lucilacotero



15 Best Instagram accounts of All Time About a fashion photography


15 Best Instagram accounts of All Time About a fashion photography

Article created by JÖ (Jörgen Paabu), Instagram: @killedbyjo ,


We live in the era like no other. There has never been more artists, fashion designers, trendsetters and photographers posting on social media than now. Our time favourites, avant garde and rising stars. Discover and get inspired by the following list of 15 Best Instagram accounts of All time about  fashion photography.


#15 @duggangram

Ben Duggan grew up in Los Angeles and started taking pictures when he was given a plastic twin lens camera as a teenager. He then worked at A&I in Los Angeles printing for Helmut Newton and then went on to assist Playboy, Miles Aldridge, Francesco Carrozzini, and was Matthias Vriens’ assistant for 5 years. He moved to New York and shot Lady Gaga with Francesco Vezzoli for French Vogue and helped start UltraViolence Magazine. He now splits time between Los Angeles and New York shooting for Guess and Marciano, Nike, Ralph Lauren, Sony Records, BMG and AS Collection.

#14 @chriscolls

Australian born and raised, Chris Colls, developed his creative expression through his interest in photography, art and architecture which he continues to pursue with a relentless passion. New York based, Chris contributes regularly to Interview Magazine, French Vogue, W Magazine, British Vogue & various International Vogue titles. His commercial clients include MaxMara, La Perla, Lui Jo, Frame Denim, Karl Lagerfeld. His Work effortlessly captures the unique intimate relationships that he creates with his subject, enabling him to collaborate with the industry’s iconic talents.

#13 @mertalas

Fashion photographer known for being half of the group Mert and Marcus. They’re known for photographing women and have been featured in magazines like Vogue and Numéro. They are the creative tour de force who have styled and shot some of the most powerful brands and personalities of our time, from Miu Miu to Angelina Jolie, Givenchy to Gisele Bündchen. “One of the most influential photographic practices in contemporary fashion”, says Vogue, London.

#12 @stevenkleinstudio

Steven Klein is a celebrated American photographer who won acclaim for his photography style, which has been described as eclectic, conceptual, sexual, and subversive. Klein has said that the artists Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon have greatly influenced his photography style. Always in demand by today’s hottest and most influential tastemakers, Klein continues to inspire, challenge, and provoke the senses with his work.

#11 @nick_knight

Nicholas David Gordon “Nick” Knight is a British fashion photographer and founder and director of He is an honorary professor at University of the Arts London. Knight studied photography at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design and published his first book of photographs ‘Skinhead’ in 1982 when he was still a student at

the school. In 2016, he was commissioned to shoot official portraits of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles for the Queen’s 90th birthday.

#10 @inezandvinoodh

Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin are a Dutch fashion photographer duo, whose work has been featured in fashion magazines and advertising campaigns. Their list of editorial contributions includes luxury fashion titles Vogue, Paris Vogue, Vogue Italia, W, Visionaire, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, as well as style magazines Purple Fashion, Interview, V, V Man, Self Service, Another, Pop, i-D etc.

#9 @charlie    chops

Charlotte Rutherford shooting icons from Amber Rose to Paris Hilton, and for OKgrl to Sophia Webster. Charlotte Rutherford is a self-taught artist who speaks the language of colors. Her work brightens up everyone on the way. Funky, hyped, dreamy and LaChappelle’isk aesthetics combines the perfect getaway into Charlotte’s colourful world.

Paris x Boohoo 💍

A post shared by 🐢CHARLOTTE RUTHERFORD🐍 (@charlie__chops) on

#8 @milesalridge

Miles Alridge is a London born fashion photographer. His influences include film directors Derek Jarman, David Lynch, Federico Fellini, Antonioni, the photographer Richard Avedon and the psychedelic graphic design of his father, Alan Aldridge. His work is highly controlled with a cinematic effect. Miles cinematic taste of work has reached to magazines like W, Numéro, Teen Vogue, Vogue Nippon, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, The

New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar and more. He has also shot for noted fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent etc.

#7 @mariosorrenti

Mario Sorrenti is an Italian born photographer who’s work is well known for sexual editorials. He has worked with Kate Moss for Calvin Klein and publications are found in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, W, The New York Times, Vanity Fair and more. He said in Interview Magazine that “I was shooting Polaroids all the time, I was creating diaries, I was painting, I was drawing. My work was my life, and my life was my work, and there was a kind of blur between reality and what was being created.” The raw imagery combined with strong aesthetics is beautifully captured in his timeless work.

#6 @luigiandiango

Luigi Murenu and Iango Henzi are a photographic duo who has mastered the black and white photography to another level. Their pure silver-clean, dark, in leather and in motion fashion photography has featured in W, Vogue Italy, Vogue Japan, Vogue Germany, Harper’s Bazaar and collaborated with today’s most wanted models, actors and icons like Gisele Bündchen, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Lawrence.

#5 @elizavetaporodina

Elizaveta Porodina the Moscow born experimental fashion and fine art photographer travels through time and space. Her work is melancholic, ambiguous, cinematic and documentary imagery has featured in Elle, GQ Style, Numero Russia, Schön!, Vogue Germany, Vogue Ukraine. Her work has been exhibited in Berlin, Amsterdam and Vienna. With the integration of painting-perfect touch and fashion forward taste she has developed a new sense and style of fashion photography in these days.

#4 @davidsimsofficial

David Sims is a British fashion photographer who first made his name in the early 90’s with magazines such as i-D and The Face. Shaping the global fashion industry David Sims was initially known for the stark modernism, plain backdrops and the graphic posing in his work. American Vogue remarked that Sims’ work was “setting a new standard” for fashion photography. His commercial clients represent fsahion’s biggest players like

Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Alexander Wang among many more.

Harriet, Vogue Paris, 2016

A post shared by @ davidsimsofficial on

#3 @yourgirlchuck

Caroline H. Grant is a LA/NYC based photographer specializing in Fine

Documentary, Portraiture, Music, Album ART, and Day In the Life editorial. Grant Shoots Mostly Hasselblad, ConTax and the Occasional Digital Image. Clients include New York Magazine, Vice Magazine, Fader, Playboy, Complex, Rolling Stone, Texte Zur Kunst, and Topshop & Lanvin. She is the younger sister of American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey. She has done many photoshoots with Del Rey to promote Kill Kill, Lana Del Ray, Born to Die, Paradise, Ultraviolence, Honeymoon, and Lust for Life.

A post shared by Chuck (@yourgirlchuck) on

#2 @emilysoto

Emily Soto is a photographer residing in New York City. Her distinct visionary and

romantic style characterized by a perennial stream is emotively captivating. Soto’s bold yet playful images appear on magazine covers, in editorial spreads and campaigns for

national clients. Her work has been published in Vogue International, Teen Vogue,

V, Allure, Glamour, Marie Claire, Paper, i-D and S Moda to name a few. Soto’s recent exhibitions include NYC, London, Paris, and Berlin

#1 @patrickdemarchelier

Patrick Demarchelier is a French fashion photographer. For his seventeenth birthday, his stepfather bought him his first Eastman Kodak camera. He has worked with Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Chanel Deline, Dior, Luis Vuitton, Calvin Klein and many more. He has shot the covers for nearly every major fashion magazine. The work of his is classical and timeless yet the brilliance in his work makes him today’s world one of the best photographers.

Dior Couture @dior #diorcouture

A post shared by Patrick Demarchelier (@patrickdemarchelier) on

Banner image by Freiburg fashion photographer Sebastian Schmoellerhttps

10 Things I Love About Being A Makeup Artist

10 Things I Love About Being A Makeup Artist

  • Creativity: Makeup is truly an art. Even when I need to create the more “subtle” and “natural” looks, they still require a level of creativity to make sure I am emphasizing each individual’s features appropriately. Then there are the more “out there” looks, like for Halloween. Those are a LOT of fun!
  • Business: I am fortunate to be able to run my own business making people up, waxing, tinting, and lifting lashes. To successfully run your own business though, you need to enjoy the business side enough to want to grow it and remain professional, even when it’s not easy.
  • Diversity: I love the fact that I never really know what kind of client I will have next. Will they be quiet or excited? Will they be darker or lighter? Will they want the most subtle look or a completely dramatic look? Diversity definitely spices things up and makes this career more interesting and exciting!
  • Eyelashes: Whether I am completing a makeup look with fake lashes or lifting and tinting your own lashes, I LOVE LASHES! So much so that I even have them tattooed on me! I love using individual cluster lashes to be able to fully customize the look per client. I love how many different styles of lashes come in. I love how much they complete a makeup look or open up your eyes, make you look more awake, and make you look camera ready.
  • New Makeup Releases: A great aspect of being a makeup artist is never getting too comfortable with the makeup you always use. The cosmetics market is so saturated, you would be a fool not to try some new goodies every now and then! You never know what could be the next best thing for your kit and your clients.
  • Wedding Day Bliss: I specialize in bridal makeup services and nothing makes me more elated than seeing a stunning, happy bride from the inside out! I adore seeing the whole look come together in front of their eyes and mine. Their confidence to walk down the aisle to their new life makes me so giddy!
  • Makeup Lessons: Another fun part of my business I offer are makeup lessons. I have taught young girls just starting out, makeup enthusiasts wanting to become professionals, and older women wanting to refresh their look. I enjoy being able to fully customize the experience for each client’s needs while providing constructive criticism and a hand on approach to make sure they’re getting the most out of their lesson.
  • Education: Makeup Artistry is definitely a world where you have to take voluntary continued education to continue to be successful with it. I say voluntarily because unlike other professions like teaching and nursing where you are required to take a certain number of hours per year to stay licensed, with makeup it’s usually not required. Every state varies in what is and isn’t legal when it comes to being a makeup artist. I live in CT where you don’t need ANY licensure or certification to be considered “professional”. This means I’m all about the education, certificates, and more to prove that I take this super seriously and want to provide only the best services to my clients.
  • Networking: Not only is networking with other industry professionals like photographers, DJs, venues, etc. important to help your business flourish, it’s also super fun! Once you find your niche in this saturated industry, you’ll start attracting the right kind of industry professionals that will help you flourish both professionally as well as personally. It’s a lot of fun to make friends with people who understand your dreams and sacrifices!
  • Photography: Although I would never call myself a photographer by any means, I love the aspect of photography that comes with being a makeup artist in the 21st century. Social media has become bigger than ever and it’s super important to put out content that is authentic, not overly edited, and high quality – in terms of the makeup AND photography. I invested in a good camera a couple years ago and it has paid off tremendously – not to mention it’s also fun to use!

Credit: Lauren Page – Owner of LA Page Makeup






Banner Image: Talia White




by Hayley Darcy

Can you make a sustainable living off of being a freelance makeup artist? This is a question I get asked a lot being in this industry. The answer is yes, absolutely! I personally know a few artists who have been in the business for a few years that support themselves solely with their makeup business. Anything you invest your time and energy into will eventually manifest itself into success. I am not saying you can just watch a handful of makeup guru videos and all of a suddenly label yourself a “makeup artist.” Don’t quit your day job just yet! Building the right skill, knowledge, and clientele takes time; but you will eventually get there.

Your salary as a makeup artist depends on a variety of different factors. The area where you live plays a huge factor in determining your salary. Where there is more demand, there is more potential to make money. Where there is more demand, there is more competition; something to keep in mind. So it is important to set yourself apart from the rest. In my area, most makeup artists are self-taught. So the first step I took towards becoming a freelance makeup artist was finding a certified makeup school. I felt getting certified gave me the edge I needed to be a cut above the rest in my area. Clients have told me they choose me because they felt safer choosing a certified artist. In my experience, clients have told me artists appear to be more “professional” when certified. Even if you are already a talented makeup artist, there are many tips and tricks I feel you can learn from going to a certified makeup school. In my case, being certified has helped set me apart from the majority of artists in my area, helped me gain some clientele, and helped me acquire a more professional reputation.

Another factor that will weigh into your salary is your level of experience. With any job, the more experience you have the more money you can make. The first question clients always ask me for before booking me for a job is to see my portfolio. Your portfolio should be large enough to show you have experience and should give your client the confidence they need to book you for their event. As a freelance makeup artist, in order to be successful in this business, you need to have a diverse portfolio. Your portfolio should show your client that you are capable


of applying beautiful makeup to every skin tone, and skin type. Having a diverse portfolio will widen your clientele, and therefore help you book more events.

Next, the way you market yourself will help determine your salary as a freelance makeup artist. Investing in a professional website, business cards, and getting onto social media is extremely important. It might surprise you that the number one way my clients find me is actually from referrals. It is vital that you are professional at all times! The way you represent your business and brand will determine your future as a freelance makeup artist. You can have the most professional website, and pay hundreds of dollars in advertisements; but if you have poor etiquette and professionalism, it is all a waste of time. Having a friendly and warm personality is a must when working as a freelance artist. A warm and inviting personality helps clients feel comfortable booking with you and referring you to friends. An unhappy client can do more damage to your business than you might realize. Make sure your clients leave satisfied with your work. Your number one priority when working as a freelance artist should be client satisfaction!

There are many different avenues you can get into to increase your salary potential when working as a freelance makeup artist. The potential income you can earn depends on what type of makeup clients in your area are looking for. It is important that in the beginning, you open yourself up to more than on avenue to increase your earning potential. Depending on where you live, the work demand will be different. Where I live the highest demand is the wedding industry. In my business, I offer wedding trials, bridal shower makeup, engagement shoot makeup, boudoir makeup, and of course the day of wedding makeup. This opens me up to more potential to make money within the highest demand of work in my area. It is also important to know what other artists in your area are charging. Setting your prices too low will raise red flags. Prices that are too low makes costumers think you are not experienced and skilled enough. Having them too high will limit your clientele. Make sure your prices are competitive for your area.

You can most definitely make a sustainable living as a makeup artist with the right

knowledge, skill, and perseverance. The truth is, the makeup artist industry is growing fast. It is a competitive field, and it seems makeup artists are a dime a dozen. If you are serious about becoming a freelance makeup artist then take the right steps towards making this a career. Get serious about growing your business. Invest your time and energy into education, refining your skills, start expanding your portfolio, and sell yourself. Your own determination will determine how much earning potential you can make as a makeup artist. As a freelance artist, you are your own boss. The sky is the limit!

Submitted By

How to Get Hired As a Makeup Artist

How to Get Hired As a Makeup Artist

In today’s beauty industry there is a sea of aspiring, novice and experienced Makeup Artists amongst influencers. So what can help you get hired for a gig?

Every makeup artist has a list of rules that they intrinsically abide by in order to set them apart from the pact. There are also many tools that include literature, classes and working professionals who speak to this very topic. Two of my favorites are Kevin James Bennett and DeShawn Hatcher who are both candid yet truly a wealth of knowledge.

When I started in the beauty industry it was literally trial by fire. I did not initially have a mentor and it wasn’t the popular profession to be a member of. As such, I had to do quite a bit to get my name out there. I began using an alias which was witty and fun but pigeonholed me into one type of clientele. I started doing research on business and marketing and it changed how I wanted to be viewed as an Artist. I improved my environment by relocating to an area where I believed I could flourish. I even went back to school to become licensed and my career took off. I learned to utilize three key elements that continue to help me attain clientele:

• Portfolio
• Professionalism
• Persistence

Sounds simple I know, but allow me to dive deeper.

Portfolio – A portfolio should be a true representation of what type of Artist you are. It should showcase what your specialties include whether it is beauty, commercial, editorial, bridal, special FX, etc. It should also be clean, easy to read and highlight diversity. Despite the misconception do not solely rely on social media to be your calling card. Yes, it is a vital part of any marketing strategy but not the end all be all. Hi-resolution images are best and web size files can be used to create content on social media. A working portfolio should be an online website or a hardcover print book with a variety of 8×11 images. Both formats to include your name, location, experience, and education. Print portfolios are great to have when meeting agents or agencies in person.

Professionalism – The way we communicate plays a huge role in booking a potential client. As such professionalism is extremely important. You do not ever want to come across as a haughty or angry person. Have you ever had a telephone call with someone who sounded like they were having an awful day or didn’t have time to speak with you? It produces a negative effect and your perception is now tainted when you get off the phone. In contrast, have you received an email where the sender’s tone came across so pleasant and warm? A smile should be heard in your voice when speaking and in your tone when writing, it is inviting. When a potential client feels welcomed they will be more open in their communication which in turn helps you to understand their needs. Email communication can be tricky so be aware of grammar and punctuation. Read and re-read before clicking the send button.

Persistence – A potential client can come from just about any source. A web search, a friend, family member or a networking event. A past client can offer a referral and in strong communities, there are other Artists who will refer one another when they aren’t available. An inquiry can turn into a potential client. When an inquiry is received be certain to reply within a 48-hour time frame. We are all busy people but your follow-through is vital. Schedule a date to return the call or email. Organize your thoughts and prepare based off the information you were provided. Carve out a specific amount of time within your day to respond. Have your calendar, laptop and phone at your fingertips. The follow-up call is twofold, answer questions that the potential client may have and ask questions you have in order to get a better understanding. If another call or email is required move forward, however, be concise with what you need clarity on.

Each of these elements plays off of the other. A diverse portfolio showcases your work and opens the door. Your level of professionalism gives the potential client a glimpse into your business acumen. Finally, being persistence and consistent with follow through ties it all together. Once booked remain in contact with the potential client. The only thing left to do is show up and put your skills to work! Stay professional and attentive throughout the gig and after it is complete be sure to send your thanks. It will be motivation for the client to call and rebook you for any future needs.



Jalia Pettis, Licensed Beauty Professional

Banner Image Nikole Ivanova by Polina Viljun

The Most Common Complaints About Freelance Makeup Artists, and Why They’re Bunk

The Most Common Complaints About Freelance Makeup Artists, and Why They’re Bunk


“What foundation are you using? Oh I’ve never heard of that brand”

Understand that the beauty industry is bigger than you can imagine. There are many makeup companies that do not sell to Sephora or Ulta. Most artists will have high-performance foundation palettes in their kit so that they can mix and create the perfect shade of foundation for each skin type and color. This allows the ability to customize the shade as well as the finish of the foundation to each skin type accordingly. Not to mention as far as traveling is concerned, palettes are much more compact than attempting to carry 42+ individual foundations.


“What are your rates? Wow, that’s a bit much don’t you think?”

When asking for a makeup service from a freelance makeup artist, keep in mind the time and money that goes into their kit, education, sanitation supplies, marketing, etc. It isn’t cheap to build a business let alone maintain a career. An artists makeup kit is always growing and always needing replenishment. Even the little things that people often forget as simple as websites, advertisements, business cards, mileage, etc. Asking an artist to lower their prices is almost offensive to their craft. Of course, depending on the circumstances, most artist will accommodate and work with you to manage group rates. It about how things are worded and can be perceived.  


“Do you use airbrush makeup?

There is a big difference between airbrush makeup and the airbrushing tool on photoshop. Personally, I enjoy the process of mixing products and textures to create the perfect customized foundation with the appropriate finish. Airbrush takes away some of the artistry fun. Using different application techniques and products will give more of that “airbrushed” finishing you’re imagining in your head but adjusted to your skin type.  


“I want a simple natural no makeup look, like Kim K”

Just to clear the air, most “no makeup” looks are actually a lot more makeup than you’d probably ever imagine wearing. A “no makeup” or “natural” look can mean dozens of different things to each individual. Someone’s natural look could just be lipgloss and bronzer, while another could be 20+ products. Everyone has a different definition of natural these days, so be clear as to which “natural” look you’re referring to. Also note if the look needs to be photo ready, it will most likely be more makeup than you’d think “natural” would entail. Trust your artist.


“I want something smokey, but natural”

Let’s face it, there is absolutely nothing natural about a smokey eye. What is considered “smokey” to one person could be completely different to the next. Typically a smokey eye is a light to dark gradient. The dark shadow is focused along the upper lash line and blended through into the crease. Most makeup artists will already understand the look you really want, but it never hurts to specify a bit more.


“Why do I need to book in advance? Can I just pay the day of?”

Booking in advance or giving a deposit is just common courtesy. Someone is reserving their time for you, blocking off their schedule for your servicing. Especially if this is for a wedding, the less stress on the day of the event, the better. The last thing a bride is going to want to worry about on her wedding day is payment. Your artist will stay organized and on top of it, but in retrospect, make the payment process as easy as possible.


“I don’t know what do you think will look good on me? You’re the professional after all.”

While that’s true to a degree, makeup and style is personal. Makeup is all about what makes each individual feel like their most beautiful self. Showcasing your best features and making you feel the most confident. While one person may feel confident in a bold red lip, another may feel out of place. Honesty is always a great place to start. Be open and honest with your artist to what makes you feel beautiful and confident and they gather a better understanding of you and how to make you your best self.


Written by  makeup artist Nikki Carmela


Instagram: @nikkicarmela

Banner Image Kate Moss photographed by Chris Levine

15 Lessons & Terms to Know to Survive as a Makeup Artist

15 Lessons & Terms to Know to Survive as a Makeup Artist

Fasten your seat belts as I take you on the cosmetic express of lessons learned and terms to know to have a smooth flight into artistry success.  It’s a wild adventure but traveled the right way can be one exciting career.

  1. Roots to Boots: You are your own walking billboard of advertisement.  You should look the part.  From the roots of your beautiful balayage to tips of your heels, your look should flow and be consistent.  Some artists will disagree, but I have proven it to get me clients, evenstopped on the street and asked for my business card.  Your look is usually how you are remembered so make it a good memory. No one wants to be the homely girl in kicks and messy bun in fashion and beauty.
  2. Pacey! Pacey!: adjective: fast-moving, quick, lively: translation: Move your ass! This is a fast pasted business that calls for detail, like up in their business, right in their face work.  You must move along whether you are on set, in a department store or busting out a bride.  Move quickly but calmly to not add panic to the situation or your client.
  3. Warm and Cool Tones: You need to know these and be able to identify them easily. When matching foundation or choosing a lip color these play a big part.  Choosing the wrong tone can make your model look tired or washed out.  An easy trick to determine is to look at the veins on the inner wrist.  If the veins are blue-cool tones, more greenish- warm tones.  Warm tones usually look better in gold jewelry, cool in silver or platinum.
  4. Natural: Not a foreign term you say?… Well, it could be. Make sure you understand your client’s definition of natural.  For example, my natural is a full face of makeup but softer neutral colors and the “I just threw myself together in 5 minutes,” yet I used 12 products.  Their definition of natural maybe a tinted moisturizer, gloss and a few swipes of mascara.  Ask the right questions to get to know their daily routine.  If a stage setting, know your lights and what you need to use to optimize the look you are going for.
  5. Décolletage: This is the part that runs from your neck down to your chest. Many are clueless about it’s name or the importance it can play.  Make sure skin care is taken all the way down to here or if your model has a low cut outfit make sure to bronze, moisturize or what is needed to continue the look and not leave it to have the appearance of a floating head.  When pulling the décolletage into the look it appears complete.
  6. Baking: No Martha we are not talking about whipping up a batch of cookies. We are talking about the latest viral makeup trend of covering under eyes with multiple layers of translucent powder and letting it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before dusting it off.  This leaves the skin looking airbrushed and brightened.
  7. Beat your face: They say beauty is a pain but have no fear, this is not. This technique involves a sponge, most communally a beauty blender, and working the foundation into the skin by “beating the face” using a stippling motion taping it into the skin repeatedly leaving the complexion looking great from all angles.
  8. Contour: Kim K West and the Kardashian/Jenner Clan put this in the spotlight recently, but this technique started as far back as the silver screens. The woman on tv would have to work with only being seen in black and white on tv and would sculpt their faces by contouring.  I like to call it my “skinny blush” because done correctly it is a miracle diet that can give you the appearance of sliming features in seconds.  Amen!
  9. Strobing: This is the complete opposite of contouring.  Contouring uses a darker color to hollow features making them recess.  Strobing is similar to highlighting areas to make them pop forward.  Highlighting is used with contouring, as strobing stands alone without the contour.  Think heavy light to the cheekbones and halo area of the face.
  10. Holographic: A lot of recent hype about holographic products. Think rainbow, unicorn, fairy glow all in one to visualize this look.  Strobing 90’s highlights, shadows, lip glass to nails are all part of many collocations that have been popular with festival goers and beauty bloggers and picked up by some of the most popular lines.
  11. Tight line: To line the inner wet line of the lower and upper lashes.  This a gamechanger for many!  It can take the eyes to a whole new level of drama or to simply thickening the lash line. The trick is to use a soft waterproof liner and then get your client to look the opposite way of where you are lining to avoid poking them in the eye.
  12. Giving me life! This may be a term overused or your phrase of the month.  This is great, for it has a good meaning!  Just make sure you explain this if you are using it and your client looks confused or laughing awkwardly.  We are artists and some more extra than others but enthusiasm is nothing to downplay so have fun and let it.
  13. Clientele: It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a makeup job but remember, you are running a business and most likely your own. If you don’t clientele you will most likely not have consistent gigs.  Keep in touch with your clients, build a database, stay connected through social media, ask for referrals or be talking about other ideas to have you back or book you on other shoots.  This is a huge key to success and has kept me some of my best clients for many of years leading to great opportunities.
  14. Ring Light: The holy beam of bliss lighting that selfiedreams are made of! This gem is a great piece to invest in.  Good lighting is one of the hardest things to come buy when doing makeup.  A ring light solves this problem for a lit application.
  15. Yasssssss!: Last but not least. The term we all hope to hear our client shout at the end of the completed look.  The pay off that your client is happy and feeling like her best self is what we do it all for.  The head is held higher and an extra confidence boost from feeling beautiful!

Angie Streeter

Banner Image: Avedon Fashion


There is more in MakeUp Artistry than just helping people finding their best look. Times have changed and today we can consider makeup as an ART. The word ‘artist’ comes from one who professes and practices an imaginative art. If makeup isn’t imaginative we are on the wrong path. MakeUp is magic. So let’s see if you’re ready to face a MakeUp Artist career.
So, 1st sign. Are you a wizard? Well you could be if you considered your hundred brushes as magic wands. You love everything in a makeup kit. Blushes, highlighters, the endless eyeshadow rainbow, lipsticks. You name it, you love it. Beauty trends are more important to you than anything else. And if you are ahead of them… what are you waiting for?
Interaction with people is constant. You can find yourself dealing with a nervous bride or a really strict client, even a spoiled famous person. Sometimes the reference they show you is inadmissible for you. Being able to deal with different types of personalities and handling difficult situations is essential in this career. If you like being around people and are easy going you might be hitting the right spot.
Do you love experimenting with different styles and products every time you have the chance? In the fashion industry, you’ll need to find and create new inventive looks that have never been seen before. With bridal or social events clients, we should always consider their style and combine it with ours. In any situation, you need to be creative enough in order to satisfy the viewing eye or the person wearing your piece of art.
You understand that criticism is not always negative. Feedback is really important for a makeup artist. From a client or colleague, maybe you find yourself learning something new. So being able to deal with bad comments about your work and feeling that this is a way of growing as a professional is super important!
You can’t even think of yourself in an office sitting at a desk all day. You like meeting new people, being in new places and working in different environments every time you can. Living with what you create with your hands and imagination makes you happy.
Sometimes you get excited simply by getting a great job done. This happens as a MakeUp artist when you finish a really good photoshoot, with the joy of a bride’s smile or a person that looks at herself in the mirror and loves you because she has never looked better. These are feelings of joy that a MUA gets as a rush of satisfaction, not only about the money you get paid, but because you are fulfilled as an artist. Meeting the clients’ expectations or an amazing photo for your portfolio has made your day.
It’s easy for you to notice MakeUp horrors. It’s impossible to miss an asymmetric wing eye or a wrong shade of foundation. Are you the type of person that always wants to put your fingers in other people’s faces to try to even or clean makeup? Then you’re definitely cut out for this profession!
Have you ever felt it was impossible for you to follow others’ commands? You are a leader. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. You are disciplined, responsible, punctual and able to get the job done in a strict time frame. It’s true that you might start doing assisting jobs, which is good because you can learn from senior MakeUp artists. After you gained some experience and confidence, get ready to be the best head of the makeup department.
 As a Makeup Artist you get that being one of this kind is not just making someone look better, it is an art. The face of the person you are about to work on becomes a canvas, and you begin to fly. If you like stroking your brushes and creating ideas, trying new techniques and get the best out of your creativity you are ready to become part of the future generation of MakeUp artists. Even if you are working in fashion, being a social media influencer… nowadays working with makeup is thinking about trends and being ahead.
So if you feel this is you, perhaps a profession test is obsolete at this point! Go out and check the best makeup schools to develop your new career! I am certain that you will enjoy it. Good luck!
Clara Luelmo
@claraluelmo (instagram)
I am a professional makeup artist and hairstyler with a fashion degree and almost a decade of experience. Working between London and Buenos Aires I have gained experience in fashion, filming, commercial, bridal and theatre. Trained in special fx and fashion makeup and hair. 100% reliable and used to work in a fast-paced environment,  also following time schedules. I have experience both leading a makeup team as well as assisting other makeup artists.
Banner Image
Jessica Stam Photographed by Michaelangelo di Battista

10 Fundamentals About being a makeup artist You Didn’t Learn in makeup School

Makeup artist is certainly one of the most vivid and creative professions. We draw inspiration from everything that surrounds us, we use the textures that surround us, we change the person completely, create a new character, or emphasize the natural beauty. Human being  is our canvas.

Everything you learn in makeup school is about techniques and, sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, about how to find inspiration. It is certainly not enough, there are so many aspects of this profession that you will have to learn by yourself. I will try to tell about them, based on my personal experience.


1) Thirst for knowledge. That’s basic! The work of a makeup artist is associated with constant training, improvement of your skills, testing various textures, mixes. You will have to learn the colors, light effects and  to master the human anatomy. When you are left alone with the client, you have a couple of seconds to understand what textures, what colors you should use, where the shadow will fall and where will be partial shade. So if you think your makeup school  will be enough then… don’t even try to be a makeup artist. Yes, you will have to invest your time and finances in your training.


2) Sociability. You have to constantly communicate. We are not just makeup artists for our clients, we are psychologists. How important it is to calm down the bride before one of the most important events of her life! Our customers are very sensitive to intonation, way of talking. Do not be familiar, be extremely polite, but friendly.

But our clients are not only brides and girls who have an important event, our clients are photographers, editors of various magazines. Be able to listen to the customer, their job and be able to explain how it is possible to perform. Communicate with photographers and videographers, because they are one of the foundations of being a makeup artist.


3) Respect for your work. Know how to say no when you need to. I had to learn it on my own. Set prices and keep them. Everyone wants it cheaper, but no one understands how much you invest in your tools, cosmetics and knowledge. The make-up artist’s work is truely work and worth its price.

Unfortunately, in our age of digital technology, our profession is almost devalued. Why? Because there are a lot of tutorials on youtube where you will be taught makeup tips for free. Most of the professional cosmetics become available to anybody!

That’s why many makeup artists feel the urge to get trained in an additional profession, manicurist, hair dresser, cosmetologist, etc.

Sometimes a client do not want to pay, well, it is also an experience. If possible, of course you should get paid  for your job, if not, then wash off the client’s face !


4) Competitiveness.

While studying at school, you are already studying with your competitors. Now there are a lot of makeup artists, so you need to offer something that others cannot do. You need to be different from the others, so you have to invest time and money in your training, in your cosmetics, in your advertising (website, social networks, flyers…). Think of your name as a brand, even local brand.


5) Individuality. Feed yourself.

Our little secrets, our super tricks. This is what can set you apart from other makeup artists, from your appearance to the technique you use.  Find the small thing in which you can be the best, in which you can express your talent at its best.


6) Stress and lack of affect.

This is important. Do not let emotions overwhelm you, be able to control yourself. No matter how capricious the client is, smile and keep working. No matter how extravagant the customer is, behave in a relaxed, friendly and open way. It may be a good opportunity to learn something!

If you show yourself irritated, then believe me, it will be an extra reason for your client to find something negative in your work.


7) Self-defense and security basics.

No one is safe from an aggressive client. It could be a Perv photographer or a hysterical client. Be ready for anything and fight back if anything happens. Sometimes your job can end late at night, but you will still need to come back home, so take any security measures. If you have any doubt about the client, tell all the details to your family or friends and ask them to call back within half an hour when you expect to arrive at the client.


8) Self-feedback. You must invest yourself in your work. You should follow the important events of the year, such as Oscar, Met Gala, etc. Watch all the fashion shows, cruise collections, bloggers, top makeup artists, because they dictate the fashion trends.

Read articles, go to the Museum, be inspired by art. Draw, create, think about makeup! Give most of yourself to your profession.


9) Good photographer. I hope no one thinks that right after school all the famous photographers and magazines are waiting for you with open arms. Of course no. In order to have a beautiful portfolio, you have to find good photographers and talented models. To do this, you will have to choose your target audience. If you plan to work as a wedding makeup artist look for a wedding photographer, models, dresses, participate in various wedding projects, etc. Believe me it is unlikely that a professional photographer (and model) will agree to work with a novice makeup artist showing a portfolio made of training pictures. Exercise your eyes to distinguish good photographers from bad ones and start networking. Ask them if you can help for collaborations and reassure the photographer regarding the quality of your work (and be sure you can do it !), you can even come to them with creative ideas.

Or be ready to invest money, for a good portfolio. Or be ready to marry a talented photographer like I did!


10) The most important from the most important, it won’t be taught anywhere. That’s basic! Love your profession, breathe it, live it. Being a makeup artist is great!


Charlotte Khasanshina

Website: http://www.
Instagram : @charlottekh_mua
Facebook : @charlottefrmua


Banner Image Credit

Kasia Struss Photographed by Victor Demarchelier