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Makeup Careers

Career Options

What kind of makeup artist do you want to become....exploring your options

So you want to become a pro makeup artist. I often get asked, how did you become a pro makeup artist and the answer can vary depending upon what kind of makeup artist you want to be. this is the first step in deciding "how to" become a professional makeup artist.

It is important to understand that each option has its own values depending upon the lifestyle you want to lead. You have to absolutely LOVE it,  as it may seem glamorous on the outside, it is hard work and you MUST be passionate both with the art and the business side of it. The hours involved for Movies and Print are long ,it is not easy work, but for those that are determined, the rewards are tremendous. This guide will help you prepare and become educated about the REAL "How To" be a Professional Makeup Artist for Print, Film, TV and Commercials.

Get a clear sense of direction and prepare your self for the time and effort it takes to get there, and I will show you how to do it right, be successful and avoid the misinformation that can lead you in the wrong direction. Become a respected, sought after professional makeup artist the right way. I will teach you and help you get there by giving you the insight you need for a rewarding makeup artistry career.

First things First....

As a Pro makeup artist, there are several "directions" you can take depending upon what kind of pro makeup artist you want to become. It is wise to start in some of these options, get more hands on experience until you decide where your passion is and where you fit the most. This guide will later elaborate and provide guided details for each area.

Be open mined and learn from whomever you can and in any situation that may present itself, such as older, established makeup artists. photographers. makeup counters via makeup artist brands and bridal makeup artistry, salon makeup artist, as well as any other personal makeup artistry jobs.

Exploring Career Options

Some of these options may give you a weekly consistent pay check while building your portfolio or reel, and giving you more hands on experience you need to advance in the industry. You will eventually need to decide to either build a portfolio or a reel.

Department Store Makeup Artist: This is a perfect way to get experience. Try to get a job with one of the "makeup artist: brands" such as MAC, Laura Mercier and BobbiBrown. Rather than working for the actual department store, work to get an Interview with the "makeup artist brands" to become one of their in store event Pro Artist. This may give you some steady income while providing you with some flexibilitiy to build your portfolio and meet with photographers and production companies. This job can involve sales and is usually commission based.

Bridal Makeup Artist: Get a business card made and contact the local bridal photographers and bridal shops in your area. This should be fairly simple to do via the World Wide Web. Ask them if they use or recommend makeup artists. This type of artistry work involves doing consultations and a pre wedding run through. If you do not have your portfolio yet, try to assist a busy working bridal artist at first while you build your portfolio and web site images.

Salon, Beauty & Personal Beauty Service: Higher end better beauty salons will typically have an area for pro makeup artist to apply makeup for clients and special events, such as weddings and parties. Salon makeup artist can also find themselves giving makeup lessons in this environment as well. Check in your area for salons that use makeup artist and arrange to meet the salon manager to discuss doing makeup for salon clients or possibly renting an area for professional makeup artistry on clients with the option to sell the pro makeup line you use on them as well as makeup lessons.


Media Production: Film, Television & Commercials: A makeup artist wanting to work in any of these mediums will need to aquire a minimum of 600  working set hours to apply for the Local Union. The Media area is by far the most complex career path in makeup artistry. It is very large area that offers many choices and requires a Union Membership for most film and TV. There are some non union films and commercial jobs available that you can work to meet the union hour requirements. Shooting a film can take weeks or months as with a regularTV show would provide a weekly shooting schedule. Makeup Artist work with actors, producers and directors. I will show you how to accomplish this in upcoming Chapters.

You will be working on a large production set, and will work closely with others in your field such as Hair, wardrobe, and costume designers.


Print Makeup Artist:A print makeup artist will work with models and photographers consist of magazines,catalogs companies,fashion shows and editorials. Most of the editorial makeup artist jobs are booked thru representation from an agency and are shot in studios and on location. To work in editorial requires a  strong portfolio, the better your book, the higher paying the job, I tend not to recommend makeup schools that say they specialize in fashion, print/advertising makeup, as most of the techniques they offer are not ones you would typically use on a real photo shoot in fashion and advertising. These trends change rapidly and most " learned" fashion looks" do not apply to being a fashion makeup artist. Advertising and fashion will most always have an art director  that dictates the unique feel or look of the model for the line or advertisment This subject will be detailed in later chapter.


Theatrical Makeup Artist: There are several fine theatrical makeup programs available today thru colleges and trade schools.





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