If you’re looking to take your makeup career to the next level, one of the most important things you can do is create a high-quality portfolio. Luckily, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to build a makeup artistry portfolio that’ll help you stand out from the competition and attract more clients than you can count!

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we jump into the actual steps involved in building a makeup artistry portfolio, let’s answer some commonly asked questions first…

What is a Makeup Portfolio?

A makeup portfolio is a collection of your best work. It’s meant to showcase your skills, experience, and range as a makeup artist. Your portfolio can be used for both personal and professional purposes. For example, you might use it to score jobs or clients, or simply to keep track of your progress over time.

Why is a Professional Makeup Artistry Portfolio Important?

There are a few reasons why having a strong portfolio is essential in the world of makeup artistry.

For one, it helps you stand out from the competition by giving potential clients or employers a better sense of your style and abilities. Next, it allows you to keep track of your progress and see how far you’ve come. This is always incredibly motivating!

Last but not least, a great makeup portfolio can help you attract higher-paying clients and jobs. This is because it showcases your professionalism and dedication to your craft. Both of these are qualities that clients are willing to pay top-dollar for.

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How Many Pictures Should Be in a Makeup Portfolio?

This is completely up to you! However, we recommend including at least 15-20 pictures in your portfolio. This way, potential clients and/or employers can get a good sense of your range.

What Should Be in a Makeup Portfolio?

The different types of styles you show off in your makeup portfolio will ultimately depend on the area(s) of the industry you wish to specialize in. For instance, if you wish to work primarily in special effects, it wouldn’t do you any good to jam your portfolio full of bridal applications and only a few SFX ones.

Similarly, it’s worth it to pick and choose a set handful of styles to showcase, rather than trying to demonstrate too much to your audience. After all, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades while being a master of none. It’s a smarter idea to focus on the types of makeup artistry where you excel the most.

That said, in general, some of the most popular looks to include in professional makeup portfolios are:

  • Natural makeup
  • Glamorous makeup
  • Smoky eyes
  • Bold lips
  • Cut crease eyeshadow
  • Wedding makeup

Of course, these are just a few examples, and they’re by no means a prerequisite for your own portfolio. Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide which makeup styles best represent your skills and abilities!

Pro Tip: In order to show even more diversity in your skill-set, make sure to include photos with models of different ages, genders, skin types, skin tones, etc.!

How Do I Make a Makeup Artist Portfolio?

Okay, now that you understand the importance of a solid makeup artistry portfolio, let’s break down how to actually put one together…

African young women portrait. Beautiful fashion model with wavy hair and natural make up isolated on white

How to Build a Makeup Artistry Portfolio in 10 Steps

Step #1: Gather Your Best Work

The first step in putting together your makeup portfolio is to gather all of your best work. This can be anything from client applications to photoshoots. Don’t worry if everything isn’t perfectly polished and styled just yet – the key in this step is to simply gather all of the images that you feel accurately showcase your range and skills as a makeup artist.

Step #2: Filter Out The Lower-Quality Photos

Now that you’ve gathered all of your best work, it’s time to start filtering out the lower-quality photos. This can be anything from pictures with bad lighting to images where the makeup itself isn’t up to par. Remember: you want your makeup artistry portfolio to only include your very BEST work!

Pro Tip: For this reason, this is why we discourage you from including selfies within your portfolio. Unless you’re an incredible makeup artist, own a professional camera, and can make yourself look flawless in every photo, selfies are generally not considered to be high-quality work.

Step #3: Decide Which Areas of Makeup Artistry You Want Your Portfolio to Showcase

As we mentioned earlier, your makeup artistry portfolio should showcase the different types of styles you’re able to do. However, it’s important to be selective in what you choose to include. After all, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information!

Instead, focus on the areas of makeup where you feel most confident and comfortable. This will help potential clients and/or employers get a better sense of who you are as an artist, as well as what kind of work you’re best at.

Not sure which areas of makeup artistry you want to hone in on? Check out QC Makeup Academy’s wide variety of self-paced, online makeup courses and get professionally trained + certified in multiple specializations!

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Step #4: Don’t Have Any Photos to Choose from Yet? Start Finding Work!

What if you don’t have any professional or client photos to choose from yet, and therefore can’t jump straight into Steps 1 through 3?

That’s okay! It just means that it’s time to start finding work!

This can be anything from booking freelance gigs to assisting other makeup artists on photoshoots. You can also take part in a stylized photoshoot, or even provide complimentary applications on friends and family, which you can take high-quality photos of afterwards.

One way or another, the more work you have under your belt, the easier it will be to put together a strong portfolio.

Step #5: Edit and Polish Each Photo

Now that you have a strong selection of high-quality images, it’s time to start editing and polishing each photo. This can be anything from basic touch-ups in Photoshop to adding text or borders.

That said, the best MUAs out there don’t tend to add any bells or whistles to their pics (such as text or borders). They let their work do all the talking! So, if your goal is to stand out among the best of the best and make the same impression, your best bet is to do the same.

Remember: your goal is to make each photo look as professional as possible so that potential clients or employers will take you seriously!

Step #6: Print Your Makeup Artist Portfolio

Once you’ve completed assembling your makeup portfolio, the next step is to print it out. This way, you’ll have a physical copy that you can bring with you wherever you go, such as client consultations and job interviews. Not only will this help show off your skills as a makeup artist; it also makes for a great conversation starter!

Step #7: Put Your Portfolio Online

That said, in today’s day and age, the vast primary place you’re going to want to display your makeup portfolio will be online. Simply put, the majority of people prefer to view portfolios online. So, in addition to printing out a physical copy, it’s also important that you create an online portfolio as well!

There are multiple ways you can do this, but the most popular option is to create a business website. This way, you’ll have complete control over how your work is presented. Moreover, people will be able to view your portfolio from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Another great option is to show off your work via the social media channels you’ve created for your business. This way, you’ll be able to reach a larger audience and potentially attract new clients from all over!

Pro Tip: When sharing your portfolio images online, always ensure to credit the photographer whenever possible, if applicable. Not only will they appreciate it – they may even wind up cross-sharing the photo on their own online platforms, too!

An elegant young black woman with short black hair & beautiful makeup and dangling earrings posing by herself indoors is wearing a pretty dress.

Step #8: Market Your Makeup Portfolio

Beyond housing your makeup artistry portfolio on your website and social media accounts, there are additional measures you can take to promote your work to the world! For example, you can:

  • Submit your work to online galleries
  • Get featured in magazines (online and offline)
  • Speak at industry events and promote your portfolio there
  • Start a business blog and use your portfolio images within articles
  • Reach out to other blogs/publications to see if they’d be willing to use your portfolio images within their articles
  • Teach makeup workshops or classes and promote your portfolio there, etc.

Doing any (or all!) of the above will help you attract attention to your portfolio – and in turn, help you grow your business as a makeup artist. Remember: in order to succeed in the competitive beauty industry, you have to be willing to go above and beyond in terms of your proactivity!

Step #9: Use Your Portfolio to Network

Hands down, one of the smartest ways to use your makeup portfolio is to network with other professionals in the industry. For starters, this will this help you make connections that could potentially lead to new business opportunities. Moreover, it’ll also allow you to get feedback on your work from people who know a thing or two!

One great way to do this is by attending industry events and meet-ups. This way, you’ll be able to rub elbows with some of the top MUAs in your area – and show off your portfolio while you’re at it!

Another awesome option at your disposal is to reach out to other makeup artists (particularly those whose work you admire) and see if they’d be interested in collaborating. This could involve anything from doing a photoshoot together to working on a makeup tutorial video.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to networking with other professionals in the beauty industry! By using your portfolio as a tool, you’ll be able to make valuable connections that can help take your career to the next level.

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Step #10: Take a Professional Course to Help Fine-Tune Your Makeup Portfolio

Last but not least, if you’re serious about building an impressive makeup artistry portfolio, it never hurts to take a professional course geared specifically towards refining your body of work. In the beauty industry, there’s never any shame in getting a little extra help – especially when it comes to perfecting your craft. In fact, the best MUAs out there are constantly taking new classes and adding to their skill-set all the time!

Taking a portfolio course will not only give you the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business… It’ll also provide you with an invaluable chance to build your portfolio and make it that much better. This is something that potential clients will definitely take notice of.

Plus, it could be the very difference between securing a job interview or not.

QC Makeup Academy’s Online Portfolio Development Workshop

QC Makeup Academy is a globally-recognized makeup school that holds an A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau. Among our many self-paced, online makeup and beauty courses, we also offer a Portfolio Development Workshop. This program is only 2 units long, but will teach you everything you need to know to take your makeup artistry portfolio to the next level!

In particular, you’ll learn all about:

  • The importance of makeup portfolios for professional MUAs
  • Researching the industry standard
  • How to plan your very own photoshoot
  • Conducting that shoot
  • High-quality portfolio presentation
  • Basic photo editing must-knows
  • Using your portfolio as an efficient marketing tool
  • Distributing and submitting your images for publishing
  • Marketing your services successfully

Interested in taking this workshop and graduating in as little as a couple short months? View the full course details here to get started!

Beautiful young asian woman with elegant earrings and necklace

By following the steps laid out in this article, you’ll be well on your way to building a makeup portfolio that’s sure to impress. Just remember to be patient, take your time, and always strive for quality over quantity!

Do you have any questions about how to build a successful makeup artistry portfolio? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to help you out!

Ready to build the ultimate makeup artistry portfolio? Start your training with QC Makeup Academy today and learn everything you need to succeed!

Author Sloane Seguin

More posts by Sloane Seguin

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