As an MUA, your makeup portfolio is a visual representation of your experience, your knowledge, and your skills. It allows prospective clients to physically see the work you do, and help them decide whether your style and overall artistry is what they’re looking for.

As such, it’s important that your makeup portfolio checks off all the right boxes! Sometimes, in order to understand what you should be doing, it’s useful to look at the types of mistakes you need to avoid.

Knowing what not to do is a great first step towards putting together the perfect makeup portfolio that best represents YOU! So, let’s break down some common mistakes right now…

Poor Quality Photos

You want anyone looking at your makeup portfolio to see without question that you’re a professional. You can’t achieve that if the images reflecting your work are:

  • Blurry
  • Improperly framed
  • Have terrible lighting
  • Are of low resolution
  • Are clearly selfies
  • Have been digitally edited

If the photos in your portfolio are not of high quality, that will be the FIRST thing anyone notices! Unfortunately, more often than not, it may also form a negative first impression of your business. We know this isn’t what you want.

Instead, take the time to research into local photographers. Find people that have great reviews, and a portfolio of their own that you can look over. Alternately, if YOU happen to have a good eye with a camera, it could just be a matter of buying yourself a high-quality one to shoot your own results with.

Yes, as you build up your makeup portfolio, you may need to invest a bit of money from time to time. But you’re trying to build a successful business, right? This comes with the territory.

We promise, the payoff will be more than worth it.

Pro Tip: Another great way to build up your portfolio – potentially for FREE – is to collaborate with other local artists by putting together a stylized photoshoot. Often, stylized shoots will be unpaid – but in exchange for your MUA services, you can get a copy of the high-quality photos at no charge!

Not Enough Diversity

It’s great if you’re signature move is a killer smoky eye… Just don’t make this the be-all and end-all of your makeup portfolio. While finding your niche and highlighting it within your portfolio is totally acceptable, it shouldn’t be the sole focus.

A potential client is going to want to know that your makeup skills are multifaceted!

This is why it’s crucial that your portfolio displays a wide range of looks, techniques and styles. Try to switch things up and show off different skin tones, ages, genders, etc. If you’ve ever worked with someone who has a skin condition, this is great to include in your portfolio, too!

You also want to be able to demonstrate that you know different styles of makeup itself. Bridal may be your favorite, but don’t limit your portfolio only to bridal makeup. For instance:

Find a good 5-6 makeup styles you’re really solid in, or are popular with the masses, and show them off! Diversity not only makes for a killer makeup portfolio – it lets the photos speak to your skill-set as an artist.

After all, as the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. Imagine what multiple pictures will be able to tell your clients about you!

Too Many Photos

That being said, there’s a limit to how many photos you should include within your portfolio. For newbie MUAs, we understand that your goal is to demonstrate that you can do ALL kinds of looks! But just as too little diversity can put potential clients off, so too can having a messy, overly crammed portfolio.

You don’t want potential clients to have to sift through pages upon pages of photos, just to try and find the one they’re looking for. This is not only tedious for them; it makes you look unprofessional.

Instead, your portfolio should look crisp, poised, and thought-out. You’re going to have to narrow down your photos, so that only the best of the best are used. Yes, this means you won’t be able to use every photo you love. But it’ll guarantee that the ones you do choose get to properly shine!

Your Portfolio Isn’t Online

This doesn’t mean you can’t have physical copies of your portfolio on-hand. But the fact is, we live in a very technological age. Practically everything is done online nowadays.

If none of your amazing portfolio images are accessible on the internet, you’re severely limiting your visibility and exposure to potential clients! In the end, this is a business move that will only make things more difficult in your journey to success.

If nothing else, your portfolio should be a part of your business website. It should be easy to find, and even easier to navigate. You can also go one step further and showcase your portfolio through social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

If you’d like to keep reading about how to leverage social media as part of your marketing strategies, we’ve got an excellent article that you can read here.

Bonus Tip: Learn About Makeup Portfolio Development

As a makeup artist, you already know that the single greatest way to properly learn the craft is by educating yourself through accredited makeup courses. Similarly, a terrific way to learn the Do’s and Don’ts of building your makeup portfolio is to take a workshop devoted to exactly that!

QC Makeup Academy, for example, offers a Portfolio Development Workshop that aims to teach you:

  • How to capture high-quality photos of your work
  • How to create, organize, and managed a stylized photoshoot
  • How to develop your professional network
  • How to put together the best possible portfolio for your business, in order to maximize results

If you’d like to learn more about this workshop – including the course breakdown, tuition, etc. – simply click here!

In the world of makeup artistry, your portfolio is your best friend. So long as you take the time and care needed to develop it right, it’ll serve you well over the course of your entire career.

Do you have any other rookie mistakes that should be avoided when putting together your makeup portfolio? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Interested in becoming a professional MUA, but don’t yet have your certification? Enroll today in QC’s leading Master Makeup Artistry Course and become a trained expert in as little as 3-6 months!

Author Sarah-Lynn Seguin

More posts by Sarah-Lynn Seguin

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