4 Reasons to use a Makeup Artist before a Photo Shoot


Makeup Artist at work, Wedding Day

Why You Should Use a Makeup Artist.

Many times new photographers ask the question of “Why should you use a makeup artist before a shoot?”. I will tell you some of the reasons why I use a makeup artist with my photo shoots, and why I always recommend to client and new photographer to use a makeup artist before any shoot.

Make Your Best Impression.

When you show up to a job interview, you want to look your best and put your best foot forward. You want to make a good impression on the person interviewing you, right? The same is true when you are going to be taking photographs. With the exception that a photograph lasts virtually forever. It will definitely leave an impression on everyone who’s seen that picture, whether it’s a good impression or not is up to you.

4 Reasons why you should always have your makeup done professionally:

1. You don’t know how to do makeup very well and want to look your best.
2. It’s Your wedding day and you want to look your best.
3. It’s a photo shoot and you want to look your best.
4. It’s a modeling gig that pays and you want to look your best.

The common denominator here folks is “You want to look Your Best”.

I always suggest to my clientele to have their makeup professionally done before doing a shoot with me, you just never know when you might get something really good or you might not have a second chance to make something good. So you just don’t want your “One in a Million” chance to be a “Could’ve been a Good Shot” if you can help it.

What Makeup Can or Can’t Do for a Shoot.

I have setup shoots with models in the past who said they could do their own makeup, and when they showed up with their makeup already done by themselves I was very disappointed. I wouldn’t be able to work with these people with the way their makeup was, so that day was a scrap.

From then on I had learned if I need a model to do a shoot for something in my portfolio, I will either pay for her makeup to be done, or I will do a trade with a makeup artist for prints for their portfolio in exchange for their services. I will give you two examples of makeup that really helped with a shoot.

Example one, is a model I worked with in the past. Great model, pretty girl, but has some blemishes that needed to “Disappear” in front of the camera, so that’s what we did. We made them disappear. Minimal Photo shop in these pictures folks. I’ll tell you why in a minute.


Model: Platinum Kitten - A fetish model, MUA - Marissa Freeman, Photo: Darkman

Pretty Amazing huh? I thought so. It was a team effort here and everyone made the shoot, but what the makeup artist did was use a “Reflective” type of foundation on the model made by MAC. It had zinc oxide in the formula and when it was struck by the light of the strobe, it reflected back to the camera and virtually smoothed the models skin out. A good makeup artist will know things like this.

Example number two is a young lady who had no experience whatsoever about modeling. I liked her look for several reasons, she has a natural beauty that didn’t need much help but a little enhancement can go along way as you can see in the photo. The model also had a slightly off center nose which was corrected by the makeup artist, by using highlighting and shadowing techniques, in the photo her nose looks fine.


Model: Erin, MUA: Marissa Freeman, Photo: Darkman

The young lady in the second example as I said has a great look and with a little enhancement is a “Bombshell”. The makeup artist used shadowing techniques with her eyes as well to bring her big bright eyes down to a sultry, sexy, smokey look. Again not much Photo shop in this example either.

Getting your makeup done professionally.

When you are going to have a photo shoot there are several ways you can go about getting your makeup professionally done. If you don’t know a professional makeup artist personally, you can ask the photographer if he has any suggestions or contacts. Chances are they will and will be more than happy to refer you to a good makeup artist. If they don’t know of someone you can always look one up either online at Model Mayhem, Google Search for a local Makeup Artist, or go to your local mall. One other way of finding a makeup artist is ask your friends who just got married, or a wedding boutique. Chances are your friend may have had her makeup done on her special day, or the boutique will probably know of a few makeup artists.

When looking for a makeup artist, look at their portfolio first, ask questions, and ask how much they charge. Prices will vary according to what you need, their experience, and believe it or not, their Ego. One “Look” from a makeup artist can be anywhere from $60-$150+, and if you want more, it will be more money.

When going to your local mall or makeup counter, I highly suggest that you be honest with the ladies and guys there, and let them know you are going to a shoot. Also be prepared to Buy something of significance from them. These people make their living from selling product and they will be spending a good 45 minutes to an hour+ doing your makeup. So reward them for a job well done by purchasing some product from them. It’s a good gesture to “Pay” them for their time, if you don’t you will be insulting them.

Dress Rehearsal

One thing I can suggest before you show up to your shoot with a bad makeup job from a professional makeup artist is to do a practice run. Sometimes a professional will still need to take a look at you and try a few different colors to find the best match, or the best foundation for your skin tone. If you can, schedule a private consultation, preferably in the privacy of your own home, this way you aren’t rushed and can spend some time working out the kinks. Don’t leave things to chance, always be prepared for your shoots and give your best face forward.

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos from each of these Ladies shoots.






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2 Responses to “4 Reasons to use a Makeup Artist before a Photo Shoot”
  1. Catherine says:

    Great article and true in so many ways! I share it in my FB and twitter Thanks!

  2. Cor says:

    Would’ve been nice to see an example of the bad make-up done by non-professionals to emphasize your point.

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