Should I Hire a Makeup Artist? | Eye on Business


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It’s all about the pretty faces on today’s Eye on Business.  It’s me, Suzanne, the crazy mama behind SUZANNE MELLOTT PHOTOGRAPHY.  This week, fellow SSG blogger, Stacey Dershem, provided a brilliant article on today’s senior fashion makeup tips and trends.  Make sure to check it out and share with your seniors!  Now it’s time to talk about the business side of asking a makeup artist to join the mix in your senior photography.

I will be completely frank in saying that adding the option of a professional makeup application to my seniors has completely transformed my images for the better!  I now encourage every client (even my family clients!) to get their makeup professionally applied for their session with me.  Not only does it make them look outstanding but it adds to the experience and to their confidence.  They feel beautiful and pampered and it most definitely shows in their images!  Best of all, my editing time is cut in half!  Holla to all the makeup artists…YOU ROCK!

I interviewed makeup artist (MUA), Rachel Brown-Wilson, to find out how photographers and makeup artists can work harmoniously to achieve that perfect look for our seniors.  Rachel and I have worked together for well over a year on senior shoots as well as conceptual and commercial shoots.  In each type of session, we’ve each played a key role in the final images.

What can the photographer do to help you, the makeup artist, prepare for a senior session?

  • Providing as much information about the senior as you can.  If possible, send me a quick snapshot (facebook, text, etc.) of what the senior looks like so I know what to expect in regard to her complexion, skin tone, hair color, etc.  If you know the outfits and locations in advance, pictures will also help me to plan out the “look” that you are both hoping to achieve.
  • Communicate exactly what you expect from the makeup artist.  Do you expect multiple looks within one session?  Do you want the MUA to go on location with you throughout the session for touch ups?

What should the photographer provide for the makeup artist on the day of the session?

  • This is completely dependent upon the MUA and photographer.  Photographers may provide a location at their own home for the makeup application.  Makeup artists may prefer to go to the senior’s home or possibly to a salon or studio of their choice.  In any case, the location must provide good lighting, comfortable seating, and a convenient space for setting up all of the MUA’s tools.

How much time should be allotted for the makeup application portion of the session?

  • This will vary depending on the MUA and the senior’s desired look.  But, there must be sufficient time for the makeup artist to consult with the senior (and her parents if present) about her makeup as well as look at the clothing choices.  Nothing is worse than having to rush because time was not adequately allotted for a proper makeup application.  That can be painful for the MUA and the photographer, not to mention the poor senior!  Talk to the MUA prior to the session to see how much time he/she will need to ensure a successful application.

Rachel and I met through a mutual friend and through mutual admiration of each other’s work in our town!  However, it doesn’t have to be a challenge to find a makeup artist that will be a perfect fit for your style of senior photography.  Rachel gave me some great tips on how to go about choosing the right MUA:

1.  You can find talented makeup artists much in the same way you find a great photographer.  Word of mouth!  Talk to your hair stylists first because they come in contact with seniors during homecoming and prom seasons as well as with brides.  Talk to other local photographers to see if they have recommendations as well.  Facebook is perfect as well because photographers often (and should!) tag their makeup artists in their images.  Model Mayhem is also a great starting point.

2.  Your senior clients choose you as their photographer because of your style.  You must be selective in choosing a MUA that will ultimately reflect your style in the makeup.  Always check out the MUA’s portfolio!

3.  You want to ensure that your MUA is flexible and willing to work with your senior clients’ requests during the makeup application.  She/he may have to add to or take away from the original look, based on the client’s wishes.  Ask your MUA how she would respond to a client’s dissatisfaction and how she would remedy the situation.

4.  Talk to your MUA about payment in advance.  Will she charge a separate fee to be paid by the senior?  Or, will you wrap it into your fees and pay her on your own?  Does she charge for travel?  Hourly?  One set fee?  Maintain open communication about this before the session so that the awkwardness of that discussion won’t happen around clients!

5.  Be very clear on who maintains the copyright of the senior images.  Can your MUA use the images for her website, blog, facebook, business cards, etc.?

Best of luck in incorporating a MUA into the mix.  I guarantee that once you add this into your senior experience, you’ll never look back!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Rachel for stopping by to help a girl out and for always, always, always wowing me with your talent!  Check out some behind-the-scenes with her from our senior model shoot, THE SENIOR EXPERIENCE, as well as her artistry on a few of my seniors below.  Take a few minutes to find Rachel on FACEBOOK too!

Join me over on FACEBOOK as well to chat, I love to talk!  Until next week…