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I have several emails a week asking me how to get into the makeup industry, so I thought I would do a blog post on this. To be honest it seems a lot easier now than when I was trying 20 years ago. With the internet and courses locally you have a wealth of information and tools to become a great artist.
Do what you love and love what you do
I think the first question is what type of makeup artist would you like to be? Do you enjoy the special effects side more or the theatrical side or maybe film inspires you. If you are not sure then it might be good to do an all rounder course that covers all aspects of makeup and you can see which part you like best. Personally I liked and still do, making people look good. I love the photographic side of makeup and the effects you can do that can alter the face on camera. Wedding makeup is also a favourite of mine as its such a lovely time and a privilege to be part of someones special day.
You don’t actually have to have a qualification to do makeup, but sometimes it will help you understand the industry and help you start off. When I was young there wasn’t any courses around that I could do so I took a beauty course as it offered makeup, but this was very basic, so I taught myself. I later did a photographic makeup course, which I did learn some new techniques.
Its interesting though of all the years I have been doing this nobody has asked what qualifications do I have in makeup, its more you show them your portfolio and show what experience you have, which you can build this over time.
You have a face, use it
Practice, practice, practice. This is so important. Do different techniques on yourself, take photo’s and play with different products. I do think you have to wear makeup to know what a product feels. when I buy something new for my kit I always take it home to try it on myself first, even if its not the perfect makeup for my skin.
Social media has been great for my business, but is very time consuming. People expect to see photo’s of your work and the pressure to make it look perfect has become huge. Instagram has clients expecting you offer the latest technique out and the latest products. Clients have a wealth of knowledge about makeup now so you need to one step ahead and this takes time and money. Unless you have a real passion for makeup you will not succeed. It has to be your life.
Location, location, location
Where you live can also affect how well you do, but there is pro’s and cons to each place. Being in Falmouth in Cornwall can be a negative, as its a small town and you think how can you make a business here, but another aspect there isn’t as much competition. When I lived in London there was so many people doing it and also working for free, so it was difficult to get paid shoots and stand out in the crowd, so don’t get put off where you live, but think what aspect of makeup will work here. In Cornwall we have over 3000 weddings every year so this is a big part of my work, but we don’t have many magazines here or Tv, so you need to like doing weddings here.
Also getting experience with a makeup company on a counter is always a good idea, as you would build up a kit and then have an array of customers to work on and practice. You may also get some outside work from it as well, but try not to lose your goal, as you can get sucked into that world and end up working in stores for years and forget why you came there in the first place. Also its a very hard sell, so you need to be comfortable in selling, but usually you will receive training in this.
I hope this has helped. I do think this is such a good time to be a makeup artist as its not about qualifications, but how well you do the makeup and if you know how to take a good photo your sorted. 🙂
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Photography by GrantLampardphotography