I often get a lot of interest from people when I tell them about how I do makeup artistry as it seems like such a glamorous and interesting career choice. In many ways it is however in other ways… not so much! After completing a short course in makeup artistry I was all bright eyed and bushy tailed about making a start in the industry. Little did I know about how hard it is! Don’t get me wrong, makeup artistry is my passion and I honestly love it but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disheartened at times about how tough it is to make a living (or any kind of income) from this career. So this is for any aspiring makeup artists out there who want the real truth about what it’s like getting started in the industry as well as some tips and tricks to help you get going. Be warned, I’m still working at getting there myself but these are some very valuable lessons that I’ve learned along the way.
Getting Your Kit Started
No one quite understands how much money a makeup artist spends on their professional kit. If you think it’s in the hundreds, you’re kidding yourself! Luckily for us beauty addicts, buying makeup is more of a hobby than a chore but it is very expensive. Be prepared to pay thousands for your kit, yep that’s right, thousands! As much as people say you don’t need to buy high end makeup when you get started, I would recommend investing in high quality makeup. You’ll be surprised at the amount of people who will inquire about what brands you use before deciding to get you to do their makeup. Don’t buy it all at once, start off with the basics and build your way up from there.
Building Your Portfolio
Building a professional portfolio is very important. When you first start out I would highly recommend the website Model Mayhem. Model Mayhem is a creative hub with many aspiring, amateur and professional photographers, models, makeup artists, stylists, retouchers- you name it! Reach out to amateur photographers and models and suggest doing photoshoots to build your professional portfolios. This type of work is often referred to as TFP (time for print), as in you give your time for free and in return receive photos for your portfolio. All the images that are in my blog banner are a result of doing TFP work. It’s so much fun to collaborate with other creatives but it will also help you get more freelance work however work of this nature always comes with a warning label. In order to not get taken advantage of keep these things in mind: all people taking part in the shoot should be doing it for free and no one should be making any kind of profit from the shoot. Sometimes you may get stung and receive mediocre shots or have to deal with unreliable people but that unfortunately is the name of the game. If you’re not happy with how things went on a shoot, don’t work with those people again!
Building Your Client Base
This is arguably the most difficult thing about starting out as a makeup artist. Create a Facebook page and only post work that you’re most proud of. Other forms of social media are invaluable in getting noticed. Regularly upload to Instagram and hustle, hustle, hustle! It is also recommended to work at a makeup counter in order to gain more experience in working with a plethora of clients, not to mention a discount on makeup which will undoubtedly help you stock your kit. Unfortunately as I have been at university and on professional practicums I have been unable to work at a counter but I will definitely look into it when I move to London!
You Might Not Make A Profit For A While
Or any money for that matter! Spending all that money on a makeup course and your kit means that you’re already thousands of dollars out of pocket but don’t let this discourage you. If you have a true passion for makeup artistry, keep working hard and eventually the money will come. Saying this, don’t be flippant with your money and only buy things you actually need. If you already own two neutral eyeshadow palettes, chances are you won’t need a third!
You Might Not Be Busy For A Long Time
So you’ve got your kit sorted, you’re working on building your portfolio and you’re rearing to go… but you have had no inquiries. This is totally normal so don’t stress! Keep doing what you’re doing and eventually you will get noticed. Always be professional and get back to any inquiries as soon as you can. That 5 minutes that you decide to wait to reply to someone could be the difference between getting the job or having someone else nab it instead.
Don’t Expect Success Overnight
The beauty industry is extremely competitive so don’t expect results overnight. You’ll most likely have to work your little butt off for a long time before you can gain a client base and earn enough money freelancing to make it your full time job. Work hard and you will reap the results in due time!
I hope these tips and truths helped!
Do you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share?