I went to meet my long-time friend for drinks and appetizers at a local bistro, and we just happened to meet a young bride who told me that her makeup ‘melted off her face’ on her wedding day.
I replied, “Aww, you didn’t have a makeup artist.” She said, “I did have a makeup artist!” I said, “You didn’t have a good makeup artist.”
Sadly, that is exactly what happened. She also informed me that most of her wedding photos reflected that and she was not happy with them, or the way she looked on her wedding day. She had chosen the destination of her dreams the dress, the photographer, and even her shoes with such thought and planning into every detail. The makeup artist she hired worked at a really nice hotel salon, what is the difference? Makeup is makeup, isn’t it? Is it really that important?
Well, obviously, in this case, it was. It did effect the overall outcome of this bride’s wedding, and her memories of the event. As a makeup artist, in professional terms (waves hand around face), I call that area, above the neck, your face. Important. Even sadder, this bride paid almost as much for the salon makeup artist, as she would have a professional media makeup artist.
If you ever go out for the evening, and have a great night it is always one in which you feel very comfortable and confidant in your looks. A good hair day, or good face day. It does put a damper on any evening, when your hair decides to go all frizzball, or your makeup won’t stay put. No matter how many trips to the powder room you make, it is just an “off” night. Then, to top it off, you get tagged on Facebook in all your frizzball and shiny T-Zone glory. You want to avoid this scenario on your wedding day.
So how does a bride tell the difference between a so-so makeup artist and a real pro? What does a bride need to look for when hiring a makeup artist for her wedding?
1. Check out their website and portfolio. Professionals in the beauty industry should have more than a Facebook page. Their photos should not consist of makeup looks they have done on themselves. A professional makeup artist is hired largely by the merit of their portfolio and body of work and experience. A makeup artist with out a portfolio (website) is not a makeup artist. Working in a salon, selling makeup, being great at your own makeup is certainly a skill, but a different skill set than being an on-location media makeup artist. Look at the photos? Are they professional quality? Do you like the style? Are they overly Photoshopped? This is important.
2. Do they have experience in multi-media makeup?
Chances are, if a makeup artist is doing media work, she is a seasoned industry professional and ready to work under any circumstances, on schedule, in rapid fashion, and in some stressful situations. Which is just what you want on your wedding day. After all, a well-orchestrated wedding is sort of like putting on a great live TV show. You want a tried and true professional. Experience is key in makeup artistry. This is a skill, like woodworking, that takes years to hone and perfect. Did my years of experience help me the day the air conditioner vent in the bridal Suite blew a hair across the Bride’s wet eyelash glue, and on to her beautiful eye makeup? You bet it did. I was able to correct it without a trace, on schedule, and the bride not even knowing what happened. Anything can and will happen and a makeup artist’s experience is key to knowing how to deal with it. This requires an entirely different skill set to doing a nice job on your own makeup. A multi -media makeup artist has experience in all aspects of media makeup: video, photo and event. This requires specialized knowledge in lighting, technique and product for all possible age groups, skin tones and features. They should be able to match your foundation to your skin tone, exactly, within 10-30 seconds. The taupe shimmer may look great under your cousin’s brow bone, but may translate as unflattering frosted glam bride on film.
3. Choose an artist with a similar aesthetic. Do you like what you see? If you are going for a modern day Audrey Hepburn look, and the artist’s website is full of rhinestones, heavy-handed exotic makeup no real woman would wear and cheesy iPhone pics, you are probably looking in the wrong territory. If you expect to ask this artist to change her style to clean and fresh, you may be in for a surprise. Look at the photos on a makeup artist’s website, as well as the photos of actual brides. This is a likely indicator to what you will wind up looking like. Do the brides pictured look like a spinoff of ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’? Or, do they have a more modern approach? Choose an artist with similar tastes, or a style that you like. This goes with everything, including the style of their website and the way that they display their work. This is a visual medium. Part of being a makeup artist is having a great sense of beauty and aesthetics.
4. Let’s talk price. Virtually every industry has their average market rates. Just as a town’s ten auto mechanics are all priced within range of one another, so are makeup artists. Some are a bit less expensive, some a bit more, depending on skill level and experience, but all are right around the same market rate.This rate is largely determined by the cost of doing business as an on -location luxury service. A professional makeup artist carries an average of $5,000 worth of makeup and equipment with them. Rates are formed based on the high cost and rapid use of quality makeup products, websites, advertising, gas, time (the big one), education, 4 hours a week cleaning the makeup kit, photoshoots for portfolio, developing a professional makeup kit complete with every color know to man, etc. Being an on-location media makeup artist is a time consuming, expensive venture. This is why makeup artists rates are what they are. It is entirely different than working in a salon or department store. These artists are packing up their gear and equipment and coming to you, parking, etc. Just as I would an auto mechanic, I would be highly suspect of a makeup artist whose rates were substantially lower than others in their area. Do your shopping. Look at portfolios. Is the really good artist, with the really good resume 10-20 dollars more than the mediocre artist? For 50 or 100 dollars more, could you be hiring a seasoned professional and insuring a great outcome? Frankly, this is roughly the equivalent to less than a pair of shoes, which will be hidden under a dress, unlike your face or your wedding photos.
5. Book a makeup trial & consultation. Once you have narrowed your search to two or three makeup artists, book a trial and consultation. Be prepared for your trial with info regarding your color schemes and style. Do your research. Bookmark some favorite makeup looks so you can visually communicate your ideas with the artist.The rest, involves letting your artist interpret this for your specific face shape, coloring, etc. Once finished with the trial, you will get to see the makeup in different lighting, at different times of day, and how long it lasts. This is important for numerous reasons. But a professional event makeup artist is not selling any one brand, or limited to one brand of makeup. The artist is constantly trying, researching all available products for every possible skin type and style. They are using the latest technology in makeup, which is both long-wearing and minimally visible. With the product that is available, and professional technique, you should expect your makeup to last at least 10 hours, or more. Modern makeup, as well as being long-wearing, is micro-fine and nearly invisible. In this day and age, heavy powders and ‘cakey’ foundation is not only unnecessary, but unacceptable.
6. Trust your eyes, and your makeup artist. I can best convey this idea by a true story. I had just finished a Bride’s makeup for her trial session and she took an iPhone pic of herself to send to her Mom. When I looked at the photo, it looked nothing like what I saw with my eyes. The camera settings, quality, and the harsh flash, did not produce a true replica. I then had her turn her camera around, so she could see herself on the screen, and then held up my hand mirror right next to the image on her iPhone. No comparison. They were two different images. Trust what you see with your eyes, in the mirror, and not what is on your iPhone. These photos have nothing to do with what the photos your wedding photographer will ultimately take. Trust your makeup artist. In this business, “what you see is what you get” really rings true. If you love the work they do, and show on their website/portfolio, then trust in their abilities, experience and knowledge.