Building a career as a makeup artist is different than getting started in a lot of other industries. For one thing, most of the jobs you get will not be advertised online. When trying to get freelance makeup artist jobs, you need to get your clients to come to you.
Here are our top 10 tips to get you started:
1. Buy the right tools
It is a bit of an investment to build a professional makeup kit, but it will be well worth the money when you’re going into a job well prepared and with the tools you need to create beautiful makeup looks. That means collecting a range of colors in eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes, and foundations that will suit a variety of different skin types and different events, as well as having a set of quality brushes. This will ensure that you show up to any job like a professional.
2. Build a portfolio
In your free time, practice your artistry on friends or family members, take good quality photos of your work, and upload them online. Resist the urge to over-edit your photos or to apply a softening filter to the image. Your portfolio is supposed to represent what you can do. Potential clients will be looking for clear examples of your past work, and will be left wondering about your real skills if the photos are overly edited.
3. Cultivate industry connections
Reach out to models and photographers who are looking for a makeup artist to help with a shoot. You might not get paid for your work (at first), but you will make valuable industry contacts and will probably get to keep the photos for your portfolio. Get creative when thinking of possible connections. Approach places like wedding and event venues, wedding planners, and hair salons, and ask to leave a stack of your business cards with each. The more professionals who know you’re working in the industry, the more likely you are to be contacted when one of them is looking for a makeup artist.
4. Build your reputation through word-of-mouth
Talk to any successful makeup artist, and they’ll tell you how important referrals are to their success. Don’t underestimate the power of a spoken referral from your client to one of their friends. That one rave review might just be the thing that skyrockets your career.
A word about building your reputation: When you’re first starting out, make sure to take on work that matches your skill level and capabilities; the last thing you want is to do a poor job and damage your reputation. As your skills expand, you’ll be taking on larger and more complex work, creating raving fans and solid referrals every step of the way.
5. Maintain a strong online presence
It’s a good idea to get a professional Facebook page for your freelance business as a start, so that you have quality portfolio pictures readily available for potential clients to view. Look into creating a website and linking it to various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. When you get business cards, be sure to include your social media links so potential clients can easily see your work.
6. Be clean and professional
Keep your products, tools and work area clean and sanitary at all times. A good quality brush cleaner is an absolute must for your makeup kit. Write yourself an expiration date on the package of each product when you open it and update your products regularly.
Dress to look the part: showing up with styled hair, beautiful makeup and a polished outfit (no matter how early the call) demonstrates that you care. Your professional appearance will also help to set the client at ease and begin to establish their trust in you.
7. Be friendly and approachable
The makeup industry is full of competitive professionals, which is why it’s so important to put your best foot forward from the very start. Put a smile on your face and walk into every client meeting with a great attitude. This can make all the difference. Make sure the impression you make is a good one, and it will lead to rave reviews and referrals.
8. Job shadow
The best way to become acquainted with this fast-paced work setting is to seek advice from a fellow professional. Ask them how they began their career, and even inquire to see if they would be willing to have you shadow or assist them at their next job. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn. Just make sure the advice you get is coming from a seasoned professional who has your best interests in mind; we suggest contacting a makeup artist who works outside of your area (i.e. they’re not in direct competition with you) and who has a few years of experience under their belt.
9. Stay current
In this dynamic field, it’s important to keep up to speed with top industry news. Subscribe to beauty and fashion magazines, well-known blogs, and any industry-related publications. Never stop looking for inspiration!
As a makeup artist, you’ll be the go-to person for product recommendation, advice and makeup tips. It’s expected that you’ll be familiar with the most popular types of makeup, have a good understanding of application techniques, and know how to use different types of makeup—think: liquid foundation, powder foundation, cream foundation, etc.
10. Show that you care
Showing your clients that you genuinely care for them is important. The relationship between a client and their makeup artist can be a very personal one—even it if is brief. If you have a growing number of clients to keep track of, create client files. Jot down personal information about them that they’ve mentioned, and refresh your memory before your next meeting. Remembering small details really helps the client feel special and it will leave a lasting impression!
Starting off in the makeup industry can sometimes be a slow process, but once you get your foot solidly in the door, you’ll find yourself working in a successful, fun, and rewarding career!