Sunday, July 28, 2013

MUA Beginner Series: Building Your Portfolio

Alice@Large Events and Entertainment
Photography: Mike Cully of Black Action, Inc.
MUA: Lisa Rose of TMB Makeup Artistry

Becoming a makeup artist takes time, talent, know-how, patient, opportunities and the help of others in the beauty industry.  Building your first portfolio, yes you will have more than one, will contain novice level work that should be taken by professional, high end cameras used by professional photographers.  But, most well established photographers will work at and with individuals whose quality of work is on the same level as their photography. So who do you seek out and build relationships with to gain professional photos for your FIRST portfolio?














Photography: Travis of Pro G Photo Co.
Hair: Prenik James of Fruit of the Spirit Salon
MUA: Lisa Rose of TMB Makeup Artistry

When you do the research, all the "experts" will say the same thing: seek out other aspiring models and photographers who also need to build portfolios and work together.  This is the bartering system: the exchange of talents to display samples of your artistry.  They are the "experts" for a reason people: been there, done that.  This is exactly what you have to do to build your portfolio.  As you gain more experience and opportunities to work in settings with professional photographers, your portfolio will evolve by replacing older "lower level" work for newer photos displaying a "higher level" of makeup artistry.

So where do you begin?  How do you find these aspiring artist to barter with??? There are several ways to go about this. The bottom line is finding or creating opportunities for your makeup artistry to be captured by a professional photographer.  You can use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Tumblr, etc to network and meet aspiring artist.  Other avenues such as Craigslist can be beneficial.  I actually booked two wedding gigs through Craigslist my first year of doing makeup and I auditioned for a hair show and got hired by a salon, who I still currently work for from time to time: Fruit Of The Spirit Salon in Virginia Beach, VA.  To find makeup artistry work on Craigslist search in events, gigs and jobs.  From working with this salon, I had the opportunity to display my talents for the exchange of professional photography.  The model you see in the above picture on the left was the only model I worked on for this hair show; the other clients I worked on were staff. In the picture below, you see the same model with the owner of FOTS, Prenik James.  FOTS hired Travis of Pro G Photo Co as the photographer to capture moments of the show, meaning hair and makeup.
Photography: Travis of Pro G Photo Co.
Hair: Prenik James of Fruit of the Spirit Salon
MUA: Lisa Rose of TMB Makeup Artistry

ModelMayhem.com is also another route "experts" suggest as a means of networking with aspiring artist - but I have not used this platform and have no experiences to share with you about its success rate.  You have to get creative too.  I saw an offer on one of those coupon deal sites for a boudoir photo shoot and thought, "What if I did the makeup for the photo shoot if a friend buys this deal?" Then it hit me; so I emailed the offer to several of my friends and attached a message offering a discounted makeup service if they bought the offer.  One of my friends and co-worker responded and came through! She also gave the photographer my name to give me credits for her makeup. To be honest, not sure if my name is attached to her photo as the makeup artist or not, but we know who did the makeup.

Photography: Angie Garfield of Peninsula Boudoir
MUA: Lisa Rose of TMB Makeup Artistry

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My current portfolio is not entirely comprised of professional quality photos.  I do have many that I have taken with either my hand held, point and shoot camera or my phone, Samsung Galaxy II.  I try to remember to take photos of every makeup job, but I forget sometimes because I am so wrapped up in my artistry.  To view my entire online portfolio, CLICK HERE.

Another way to create your own professional photography opportunity, have your own mini photo shoot with your aspiring artists.  How did I meet my photographer? One evening sitting at the bar in Hooters (my brother is a manger there), this guy happened to sit down besides me and we had a random conversation you would have with a stranger at the bar.  I don't even know how we got on the topic but I eventually said something about the makeup, and he said something about being a photographer and wanted to build his repertoire. One thing led to another and voila, a mini photo shoot, hosted in my kitchen. Ha!
Alice@Large Events and Entertainment
Photography: Mike Cully of Black Action, Inc.
MUA: Lisa Rose of TMB Makeup Artistry
Alice@Large Events and Entertainment
Photography: Mike Cully of Black Action, Inc.
MUA: Lisa Rose of TMB Makeup Artistry


There are many avenues you can travel down to get your photos. Keep looking, working, practicing and networking as much as you can.  In review, I have been blessed with opportunities to work with a well-established photographers in my area. It was my determination, faith and follow-through that led to these photo opportunities. My journey may not be yours, but this dialogue is important to help us all grow. I would love to know what you are doing to get professional photos for your portfolios.