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Makeup Artists – Why you Need One and How to get One for Free

Makeup Artists - Why you Need One and How to get One for FreeThere is a debate about whether a makeup artist is a necessity or frivolity at a photo shoot. I know you can do amazing things with Photoshop, but c’mon people – no makeup artist?! Has the world gone insane? As a former professional makeup artist, I will tell you exactlywhy you need a ‘MUA’ and how to get one for f-r-e-e.

Before you take my word for it, I’ll tell you quickly why you should listen to me.  I was a professional MUA for five years before diverting to photography. I was the key artist for national television, magazine shoots and have done a gazillion weddings. Weddings where, I might add, the wedding photographers often found a way to get in touch after just to say they were amazed at the difference my techniques made to their job photographing the bride. So you can take it to the bank: sometimes, you will need a MUA. Ok. Done tooting my own horn. Back sufficiently patted.

Why You Need a MUA

1.} ‘M’ is for More – You’ve heard it said: “you need more makeup for photography”. It’s probably going in one ear and out the other by now. But it is absolutely reason #1 why you need to think about makeup. The camera wipes away more than half of a gal’s face paint. I wish it were that easy to wash it off before bed! A MUA will have the proper coverage products to do the job. Just packing on extra doesn’t work – you need more coverage, more pigment, different colours.

2.} Who has the time to erase blemishes on 50 headshots? Or clone out dark circles? Just let the MUA worry about it so you don’t have to.

3.} Happiness is underrated – Your clients will be happier I guarantee it. Lots of women feel more comfortable when they’ve ‘got their face on’ and the hair & makeup process eases them into their session. They feel pampered and fussed over and that, in turn, will make them more confident for their session and happier with the results. Plus, your business will seem more obliging and thoughtful and clients always appreciate the extras.

Makeup Artists - Why you Need One and How to get One for FreeHow to get one

By way of definition, let me mention that a beautician is not a makeup artist. A hair stylist is not a makeup artist. A cosmetologist is not a makeup artist. A veterinarian is not a makeup artist (get the point?:) A makeup artist is a makeup artist. And not all MUAs do hair. Personally, I would find someone who does both for the full effect.

1.} Online – there are a few different sites where you can find talent of all sorts. I used to use Model Mayhem to find makeup jobs in my area. You can do a search for MUAs with all sorts of backgrounds and experience who are willing to work in exchange for money or simply TFP (‘time for prints’) which means they want a copy of the images for their portfolio.

2.} Schools – find a makeup artistry school near you with students looking for experience. Here are a few to get you started.

3.} Sales gals – Over on the forum here at DPS, there’s a discussion about professional MUAs and whether they are needed or not. One poster suggested finding a Mary Kay beauty consultant near you because they ‘aren’t allowed to charge for their services’. You’re right, they’re not allowed to charge but technically, neither are they allowed to apply makeup. Calling you local MK rep is a great idea and very resourceful, but you’ll want to check that she is allowed to be doing makeup. Also, MK reps aren’t trained to do makeup – it is a sales job and there is very limited emphasis put on makeup training. They are not makeup artists.

4.} Cough up – after years of experience, I would absolutely go the experienced MUA route and cough up the dough. A way of getting a MUA without the pinch to your pocket is to counter their fee into yours or offer a MUA as part of a package or an added option. An experienced MUA who no longer works for free is definitely the fool-proof way to go if you don’t want to have to deal with inexperience.

You’ve read all the way to the end and now you know why you absolutely positively without a doubt need a makeup artist at your next shoot! 🙂

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Elizabeth Halford
Elizabeth Halford

is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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