Why Makeup Photography is a Must-Have Skill for MUAs - QC Makeup Academy

Should photography be something I focus on as an MUA? Do I need to buy an expensive camera? Will taking good makeup photos affect my career? These are all great questions. And we’re hoping to provide you with some answers.

Makeup photography is a skill that plenty of MUAs don’t pay enough attention to. It’s the foundation of a solid portfolio, which is your best marketing tool for your professional services. But it doesn’t receive nearly enough attention that it deserves.

Keep reading because we’re going to dive into some reasons why makeup photography is a must-have skill for MUAs!

Course Assignments

Photography skills are critical for those taking online makeup courses! After all, you wouldn’t want to annoy your tutor with terrible makeup photos!

Knowing how to take great makeup photos of your course assignments will ensure your tutor can properly evaluate your work! Submitting a grainy photo of a model in bad lighting with her eyes closed won’t do you any favors. They won’t give your tutor a good impression of your makeup artistry.

Here are some quick tips to follow when taking photos for your course assignments:

  • Don’t take a photo of your model when backlit! Having your model face the same direction as the light is shining will create shadows over the front of her face. The camera will automatically adjust to compensate for the amount of light coming through the lens, thus creating the shadowy effect. Your tutor won’t be able to see your makeup work at all.
  • Avoid selfie-style photos! That means no high-angles, tilted head, or half-cropped-out face!
  • Always submit close-ups! These are best taken straight on with the model looking at the camera.
  • Don’t submit photos with the model’s eyes closed! You’ll often see closed-lid photos on Instagram. But for your tutor to properly grade your assignments, they need to see the overall effect your makeup application has in a real life And in real life, nobody is walking around with their eyes closed!
  • Finally, don’t over-edit!

Creativity & Adaptability

Setting yourself apart from the competition with your photography skills is a great way to get jobs and clients! Knowing how to shoot models in a flattering way (for both them and your makeup!) shows your creativity. Conditions for photography won’t always be favorable. But showing that you can adapt is a definite asset!

Understanding basic photography will show that you’re able to learn new skills. It shows that you’re willing to learn and go outside your comfort zone to become the best makeup artist you can be! Successful makeup artists aren’t just the one who’ve got the advanced techniques down pat—although it does help! But the ones with good business sense and a flair for marketing are the ones who rise to the top.


Branding yourself as a professional makeup artist is so important in leading a successful career. Sure, it’s great if you can write a decent social media post. However, if your website and social media accounts are full of poorly taken photos, it’s not going to be great for business.

Learning to take good photos of your work will automatically elevate you as a professional to clients and potential employers! Marketing doesn’t have to be pricey either. Good photos can be taken with most smartphone cameras and there are tons of cheap marketing tricks out there!

Portfolio Building

Speaking of branding, building your portfolio is key to having a successful makeup career! You need to show clients and employers that you have the skills to give them what they need. Having a portfolio, either online or as a physical book, is a no-brainer for any MUA. However, having a good portfolio can be a bit tricky to achieve. Taking good makeup photos will bring any portfolio to the next level!

Short answer: makeup photography is definitely a must-have skill for MUAs

Remember those three questions we mentioned at the beginning of this article?

  • Should photography be something I focus on as an MUA? Yes! You don’t need a perfect eye for photography to be able to take amazing photos that showcase your work in the best way!
  • Do I need to buy an expensive camera? As long as your cell phone has a decent camera and you can find good lighting, you should be just fine!
  • Will taking good makeup photos affect my career? It certainly will. A good portfolio with great photos will lead to more clients. Definitely a plus for you makeup career!

Now, get out there and start taking some great makeup photos!

Wondering if having an online portfolio will help you find makeup artist jobs? Find out here!

Author Catherine Hammond

More posts by Catherine Hammond

Leave a Reply