Do you want to be a part of the exciting world of beauty? Why not become a makeup artist? Can you imagine yourself working with makeup alongside models for fashion runway shows or on photo shoots? Maybe you see yourself working with individuals in television in film, but don’t know where to start. Celebrities, designers, production companies and advertisers all need someone like you to create looks to help translate their vision and bring it to life. This article is going to show you how to get started on your career as a makeup artist.
1. Study makeup. You will need a basic understanding of how facial structure, skin type, colors, etc. work together. There are many great makeup artistry schools that offer training in makeup application from bridal to special effects. As part of these programs students are provided with practical hands on experience in makeup artistry. As an alternative, you may consider taking individual courses at a community college or beauty school. If you are not interested in spending the time that it takes to complete a specialized program, educate yourself. Begin reading makeup artistry blogs, makeup websites and industry magazines.
2. Determine the type of makeup artistry that you are interested in pursuing. Do you want to work in fashion with designers or advertising agencies on print ads? Would you prefer to work with brides or special events companies? What about the world of celebrity makeup? Do you want to work with music artists and other related individuals on CD covers or press events? Maybe you want to work in theater or in the movies. Choosing a niche and specializing in that area is of utmost importance. It is quite difficult to become an expert makeup artist in multiple genres. Practice applying makeup on yourself as well as friends and family members.
3. Put together a makeup kit. This kit will contain all of the support items you need to make the looks you create flawless. Your makeup kit may include, makeup palette, brushes, cotton balls, makeup remover/cleanser, directors chair, etc. It is always best to keep all of your tools in your kit at all times. You never know what you will need in a given situation.
4. Seek out local photographers. They may be students at a local university or professionals looking to “test”. (Many of these students and photographers will provide you with film, photo prints, or CD’s in exchange for your makeup artistry expertise). You will need to build a professional portfolio to present to potential employers. 5 to 8 professional looking separate looks should put you off to a good start. If you are interested in runway, television/film you will also need a reel (a film/video of your work). Additionally, you will need to prepare a resume highlighting the projects that you have worked on. If you have no professional experience create a resume that highlights the skills and abilities you have accumulated and include a cover letter that explains why you are interested in becoming a makeup artist.
5. Once you have your resume and portfolio in hand, start shopping around for an internship/apprenticeship. Search for local makeup artists and offer to assist them. Is there a makeup artists agency in your town? Ask to be placed on their assistant’s list. Continue to network with photographers, designers etc. and maintain contact with them regularly. This is a business that is built on relationships.
6. Continue to update your resume and portfolio as you gain experience. Once you are ready to transition from intern or assistant to a key (lead makeup artist), start considering what type of business you want to run. Do you want to be a freelance makeup artist where you would be responsible for procuring, negotiating contracts and collecting fees yourself? Or do you prefer to sign with an agency. If you are represented by an agency they will procure, negotiate contracts and collect fees for your services in exchange for a fee (commission), typically 20%. If you decide to freelance you will need to develop a composite card illustrating your work and your contact information. This is the marketing/promotional piece that you will hand out to all prospective employers and those individuals in your network. If you are signed with an agency they will produce the composite card on your behalf.
7. Begin looking for work. Search local job boards as well as industry specific employment sources such as production companies, advertising agencies, modeling agencies, photographers, retailers, bridal companies etc. Join professional organizations and networking groups. Continue to build on your list of contacts and keep in touch with them. Keep working on your portfolio (taking unpaid jobs if need be) to gain more experience and add to your resume.
Tips and Considerations
Always continue to research, study and train as a makeup artist. Not only will you have an edge on your competition but you will continue to meet other industry professionals and grow your network.
Keep your makeup kit ready and stocked at all times. Many assignments may come up at the last minute within 24 hours of you receiving them. The last thing you want to do is be called for an assignment and be unprepared.
Arrive on time and be courteous. Keep small talk to a minimum and keep conversations professional.
Remember, you are your best advertising. Always maintain a polished appearance and keep business cards with you.