9 Best Tips for How To Work with A Makeup Artist – For Up and Coming Photographers

My name is Natalia Zurawska and I have been a professional makeup/hair/spfx artist for the last 10 years.   I absolutely love my career. I have worked on hundreds of photo shoots and would love to share some of the best tips I have learned over the years, so that every shoot is fun and seamless (no pun intended) and a great experience every time.

When you are starting out, there is much more than good photography that needs consideration. Networking, open communication, building and keeping relationships is essential as well as working as a team.

Here are the best tips:

  1. When you are starting out, creative are essential.  A creative is when a photographer, model, makeup/hair artist and/or wardrobe stylist get together and work for TFP (Time for Prints) – for their portfolio – no pay however this is great for building/keeping relationships as well as practice.
  2. Be open about communication from the get go.  Some photographers charge for prints, just not shooting time.  Be clear if you will be charging for prints, or will be giving a disc or link with the makeup artist, model as well as wardrobe stylist. Discuss any additional expenses at this point as well such as parking costs or additional pieces that need to be bought such as wigs as they are non-refundable because of hygiene reasons and if you will pay, split the cost or if the stylist has any on hand.  Discuss expenses with the wardrobe stylist as well.
  3. Scheduling a photo shoot requires quite a bit of attention to detail. Decide if only one model will be used or more.  If you are using more than one model, stagger the schedule as this way no one is just sitting around.  Some makeup artists just do makeup, some stylists only do hair, and some do both.  Figure out if you prefer to use one artist or two and ask how long it normally takes them depending on looks.
  4. Learn simple beauty terminology.  Just like I know what a ring light is and know how to do appropriate makeup for such lighting, it is equally important to know simple makeup and hair terms.  The majority of photographers are male and knowing the right terminology makes a difference in getting the desired results.

    An example for makeup would be – matte – no shine.

    For hair – tendrils means curls framing the face.

  5. Plan ahead – meet up or discuss by email with the team about what kind of shoot you would like to work on involving photography, makeup/hair looks as well as wardrobe style.  Send a photo of the model as well.   The wardrobe stylist should meet with the model in advance for a fitting to make sure the clothing fits.  If you plan on shooting in Black and White, make sure you let everyone know, since colored items show up differently.  The term “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” rings so true.  Send links by email of images.  Pinterest.com and other social networking sites are also great for this.  Make sure to email everyone – cc location, time to make sure everyone is in the loop.  Let everyone know how many hours you would like the shoot to run as well as how long it will take to get prints, disc or download link.  Try your best to stick to it.
  6. If you are shooting on location, make sure you ask first or get a permit, so the shoot doesn’t get cancelled.  Also, make sure to let everyone know the location so they are able to dress appropriately.  Bringing a heater (if it is cold outside), generator (to plug in hair tools as well as steamer) is important.  The more comfortable everyone is and the easier it is to do the job, the better.
  7. When you are starting out, getting professional models from agencies may prove difficult.  A great way to start is to use social media such as Facebook, as well as great websites such as One Model Place and make sure to relay this information to the wardrobe stylist.
  8. Keeping water bottles on hand and a few munchies (ask about dietary allergies and preferences). Music is also great for creating a fun and pleasant atmosphere.  It may cost a little bit, however it is well worth it.  It is all about building and keeping relationships.  Word of mouth spreads really quickly and the more positive it is, the better it is for gaining great clients.
  9. Having a few key products in the studio can really help save a lot of time as well as money on Photoshop.  Such products include a translucent pressed powder. It is great for preventing shine especially for grooming men.mac_select_sheer
    I really like the ones by M.A.C as well as Elizabeth Arden.
  10. Hairspray is great for smoothing away fly aways.
    My favorite hairspray is the 24-hour fine mist by Tresemme. It smooth’s, holds and can be brushed through easily to re-work into a different style.
  11. Clear nail polish is not just great nails but for stopping a run in pantyhose, applying on fake jewelry to prevent an allergic reaction.
    I love the Multicare Base + Topcoat by Revlon
  12. Having a blow dryer on hand is great for drying out stains as well as using the cool shot button to prevent sweating under hot lights.
  13. I really like the one by Conair.

I hope you have enjoyed my tips. Happy shooting!

For more tips, get Natalia Zurawska’s e-book, “How To Work With a Makeup Artist – For Photographers” on Amazon.

To see Natalia’s work, check out her website at www.colourchameleon.com

This entry was posted in OMP, make up, makeup, makeup artist, photographers. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 9 Best Tips for How To Work with A Makeup Artist – For Up and Coming Photographers

  1. Maui MirA says:

    lovely written article with lots of helpful tips. I agree communication is key to having the best possible outcome. Just being upfront with your visions and ideas will help get everyone on the same page with fewer surprises.


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