Photo Shoot Tips

6 Best Reasons to Work with a Makeup Artist

For Models and Photographers

For better portraits, headshots and beauty images, work with a makeup artist!

Do you think this young woman would prefer to look like this?

Model without a makeup artist

Or this?

Model with makeup with help from a makeup artist

That’s what I thought. So until next time, keep learning, keep…

Huh, ohhh you expected me to make a long and passionate speech about the reasons for using a makeup artist. I kinda thought that was a strong enough argument. But since you want more, here is the full list of reasons for why you should hire a makeup artist… and how to find great makeup artists in your area.

Number 1: People don’t hire a photographer in the hopes of getting a photograph where they don’t look their best.

People who come to you asking for a portrait or headshot are actually asking you to help them create living proof of their fantasy, not their reality. They want to look their absolute best, not their everyday look. They want that “everything came together and wow do I look amazing today” look. Your job is to help them reach that potential.

Number 2: A makeup artist will dramatically improve the quality of your image by making your subject look his or her best.

YES– you read that right– “his”. Guys need makeup too. Even if it’s a corporate headshot of a male CEO, I am going to aggressively encourage him to hire a makeup artist. I don’t always get my way, but I am not gonna pick up the camera without having at least tried to convince them otherwise. I’ll be sure to let them know that I think they are making a mistake if they choose not to hire one.

That being said, if you want to take your images to the next level, don’t let a guy or girl do their own hair and makeup. You should leave that to the professionals.

The best kinds of makeup artists are the kinds that understand how to make a person look their best and are capable of applying makeup with techniques that will not only flatter your subject, but also save you time in retouching and post-production.

Number 3: A makeup artist is a valuable asset on the set during the shoot.

A great makeup artist cares about his or her work and will want to be on set during the shoot. I ask them to not only watch the makeup, but also to keep an eye out for fly-away hair, twisted straps, awkward creases in outfits… you know, those little things that can ruin a shot or cost you hours in retouching time.

This extra set of eyes has been a frequent lifesaver throughout my career. Not to mention that in a pinch, most makeup artists are really good at holding reflectors.

Number 4: Great photographs are the result of collaboration

…Specifically, collaboration between a photographer and a subject. Add a great makeup artist to the mix and you have another creative individual working to make your photos awesome! The images that you see in advertisements and magazines are not the works of just one individual, but the result of the collaborative work of several people.

Number 5: Having a makeup artist on set will go a long way towards establishing a professional atmosphere.

You don’t want your subject bringing a friend or relative to the shoot. Instead, your make-up artist is there to provide some comfort and security to your subject.

Number 6: The mere involvement of a makeup artist increases the perceived value of your work.

If you are at a point in your career where you are working professionally or just getting ready to charge for your work, understand that using a makeup artist will turn the shot into more of an experience for your subject. It will help to justify the cost of not only the makeup artist’s services, but yours as well.

One last note: the makeup artists that I work with also do hair styling. Please do not overlook the importance of having amazing hair in your portraits and headshots. Sloppy hair with fly-aways and pieces falling over the eyes is extremely distracting and diminishes the quality of your shot.

If you are able to find a makeup artist that does both, it will certainly make your life easier. If not, having a great hairstylist is equally as important as a makeup artist.

Be sure to check out this video here for some great tips to help you build a solid working relationship with a makeup artist. If you are looking for a makeup artist to work with, you should check out the modeling resources on this website where you will find a directory of makeup artists all across the United States.

I hope you found this information useful. Now go pick up that camera and shoot something! Because – Your BEST shot is your NEXT shot!” — Joe Edelman

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Joe Edelman

Joe Edelman is an award winning Photographer, Author, and "No Bull" Photo Educator.  Follow this link to learn more about Joe or view his portfolio. Please be sure to connect on the social media platforms below.
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