YES – Hire a makeup artist!

Every model should learn how to apply makeup. HOWEVER – when you are building your modeling portfolio – HIRE A Makeup Artist!

Your modeling portfolio and comp card pictures are your primary and most important marketing tool. Not only is it important to hire a great photographer, but it is equally as important to hire a great makeup artist.

No model can do their own hair and makeup as well as a professional can and it is crucial that you look amazing in your pictures. Additionally, makeup for the camera is very different than makeup for everyday wear and a good makeup artist accounts for this difference.

A good makeup artist not only brings excellent skills and artistry to a shoot – but also is very involved in the creative process and contributes equally with the photographer and model.

Believe me –Professionals love it when people tell them how wonderful their photographs are, but I assure you that every photo that you see takes at least three people to create. Photographers only receive one-third of the credit. The makeup artist and the subject are equally important to creating the wow pictures.

Your choice of makeup artist can make or break the outcome of your portfolio shoot. Not hiring one can be a waste of your time and your photographer’s.

With this in mind – do your research – consider the following when selecting your makeup artist…

Their portfolio

Have you seen samples of their work? Do they only show photos with cool and crazy makeup or do they prove that they are able to produce ‘WOW” versions of clean and attractive makeup for a commercial modeling portfolio or acting headshot..


Do they do it? Are they any good at it? If your budget is limited, you need an artist that can do both and do both really well. Hair will make or break a photo faster than the makeup will.

Color science

Are they educated on lighting effects? Because photographers use many different types of light. In a studio photographers shoot with everything from studio strobes, tungsten and fluorescent lights to outside, in direct sunlight and heavy shade. Even though our eyes don’t realize it – each of these types of lighting is a very different color and the cameras and makeup realize it. While the camera can compensate for the color, the makeup doesn’t. A good makeup artist understands enough color science to know how to compensate for the different types of lighting so that you don’t wind up looking washed out or too harsh.


Yes – that is high on my list. Cheap is rarely good and of course expensive doesn’t guarantee quality. The photos you are producing are your marketing tools. The results of this shoot determine your ability to get work. Save your pennies – hire the best and accept nothing less.

One look or Many?

Is it worth it to save a few bucks and have the makeup artist do your hair and makeup and then leave while you go on to do several outfit changes without them? After the first shot, or even getting dressed, your hair may be messed and your makeup will probably already have smudges. And, will you be aware of shine? if you’re outside sweating or tend to have oily skin, it’s only natural to accumulate shine but it can be the enemy of a good photograph and time consuming to fix in post. You need an artist who is going to stay for your entire shoot or risk looking unkempt in your photos which only makes you look bad. Book your artist for the day (or by number of looks) and look your absolute best, not to mention, you can make one shoot like much more with multiple looks as well!

Remember – your portfolio shoot is the most important shoot that you will ever do as a model. Of course you will hopefully go on to do incredible shoots for national ad campaigns or magazines, but without top notch results for your portfolio, you will never be hired for those big jobs.