How to Build A Professional Makeup Portfolio
Photo by: Sarah & David Photography
You went to a makeup school, you’ve watched and practiced hours of YouTube makeup tutorials, you’ve even worked at MAC or Sephora as a retail artist and you’re ready to launch yourself into the freelance world, working with great clients and getting paid!
Booking great work is easier said than done. The truth is none of your schooling, your youtubing, or your hours at a counter will help if you don’t have a professional portfolio, and 50 makeup selfies on your Instagram does not make a portfolio. Here are some great first steps in building a makeup portfolio that will eventually lead to paid work.
WHAT KIND OF MAKEUP ARTIST ARE YOU?
First, decide what kind of makeup artist you want to be and build a portfolio of work that reflects the type of paid gigs you are hoping to get. For example, if you are looking to get into bridal makeup, you will want to pursue less fantasy or editorial looks and take a bridal approach to your portfolio building.
GET COMFY WITH BEFORE AND AFTERS
In a perfect world, you would invite all your model friends over, do their makeup and get perfect pictures of them, right? Well, it’s almost that easy! With today’s super connected world, you can find “models” through social media or ask family and friends. Choose people who are photogenic and look relaxed in front of the camera. Make sure to take clear before and after photos of your model in good lighting (preferably natural light) so that potential clients can see your work.
COLLABORATE WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS
Contact photographers to provide makeup application in exchange for professional pictures of your work on a model. In the industry, this is called TFP or “Trade for Prints”. Chances are, there are photographers who are building their professional portfolios as well or looking to do styled shoots. A styled shoot is a (free) collaboration between creatives such as photographers, models, stylists and artists, where everyone contributes their talent and gets credit on the shoot. Look to collaborate with a photographer whose style works for the kind of makeup you are looking to showcase. For example, a natural light photographer is a good choice for a bridal makeup portfolio, whereas a studio photographer would be great for corporate or editorial makeup looks.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Once you’ve got 10-20 pictures that showcase your work, create a page via Facebook and Instagram solely dedicated to your professional portfolio and post photos several times a week. Hint: Keep your page name straight forward and professional to make it easier for people to find you (using your actual name works!). Share your page with friends and family and potential clients. The biggest gift of social media is the immediate feedback people will give you. Likes and comments will give you an idea of what makeup looks resonate most with your audience.
Building a great portfolio is the first step in getting paying clients! It won’t happen overnight, but continuously practicing, posting your work, and sharing your passion with those around you is a great start. As your experience grows, so will your personal style and your confidence. People will begin to notice and support you along the way!
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