Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > How long does it typically take?

Photographer

JimPixLA

Posts: 54

Los Angeles, California, US

I've done two shoots recently with MUAs who took HOURS to do pretty simple, natural looking Hair and Makeup.  In one, the client literally ran out of time.  When I asked the MUA about it she told me it always takes that long.  That hasn't been my experience but maybe I've been lucky.  How long should it take?

Curious.

Dec 06 12 08:32 am Link

Photographer

Azimuth Arts

Posts: 1490

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

LALightPhoto wrote:
I've done two shoots recently with MUAs who took HOURS to do pretty simple, natural looking Hair and Makeup.  In one, the client literally ran out of time.  When I asked the MUA about it she told me it always takes that long.  That hasn't been my experience but maybe I've been lucky.  How long should it take?

Curious.

I always allow for a total of 1.5 hours for hair and makeup, though I usually have found that it can be done in less time by the better MUA and Hair stylists I work with.  Of course it will depend on the model/subject.  If they come with clean face and hair and have good skin it should go much faster.  If you are shooting non-models who don't have great skin or need extra work to make them look good it could take longer.

But the only way to really know is to provide the MUA/Hairstylist with a recent photo of the model and some example photos of the looks you are expecting and get the person you hire to provide you with a time estimate.  If they tell you it will take longer than you have find someone else, or make more time available.

If you are using one person for both makeup and hair you might want to consider hiring specialists for each.  Usually those who specialize on hair can work faster than a MUA who also does hair (though there are some who are very good and quick with both).  In some cases you can have the hairstylist working on the model at the same time as the MUA which could shave time of the total time to do the job.

ETA: The words "simple" and "natural" in makeup don't always go together.  Sometimes natural can take longer than some more "made-up" looks because it can be harder to make it look like there is no makeup than looks where it is clear they are wearing makeup.

Dec 06 12 08:46 am Link

Photographer

KMP

Posts: 4825

Houston, Texas, US

LALightPhoto wrote:
I've done two shoots recently with MUAs who took HOURS to do pretty simple, natural looking Hair and Makeup.  In one, the client literally ran out of time.  When I asked the MUA about it she told me it always takes that long.  That hasn't been my experience but maybe I've been lucky.  How long should it take?

Curious.

You might check with your MUAs and find out their timing.  I a one shoot that took 8 hours. The photography part of it was an hour.   The model was picked by the client and looked REALLY rough when she came too the studio.

A mere 7 hours of makeup/hair. and viola!   Gorgeous... Who knew? LOL

The hair and makeup for that shot was simple, as well.
 
I rarely have had an issue with hair and makeup taking too long.
If I have a few models, the MUA has usually brought an assistant.

I don't shoot beauty or high-fashion so the makeup look I go for is pretty natural.  It takes the MUAs I've worked with from 30min to over an hour, depending on the person and what we're going for.

Dec 06 12 09:08 am Link

Photographer

Hero Foto

Posts: 878

Phoenix, Arizona, US

I've ran into that same scenario multiple times. I would buy that "excuse" every time. But NEVER AGAIN.

Check this out: http://youtu.be/WcUKIR6w3EM

Why? Because he shoots tons of commercial/editorial work and he's got this down to a science ... and TIME is money ...

Since watching that workshop series my shoots run almost like clock work ...

Dec 06 12 09:29 am Link

Photographer

Awesome Headshots

Posts: 2369

San Ramon, California, US

For my typical client, 30-minutes max. Any longer I will probably not be working with that MUA again.

Dec 06 12 09:41 am Link

Makeup Artist

Dorota MUA

Posts: 82

Leeds, England, United Kingdom

For MUA-beginner it may take about 1-1,5 hour - When I was starting as MUA, as well any make-up took me far too long...

Currently - natural make-up takes me approx 20-30 min.
For Hair -best are hot rollers or iron, sometimes enough just back-combing and hairspray...(takes maybe 10 minutes extra; If MUA using curling tong, it will take longer ...30-1h extra )...

If MUA knows her products, tools, good organized toolbox...then time could be cut down...However - important is also to show MUA latest pictures of model that she going to do - We need to know how girl looks like, her skin tone, what hair she got etc. it helps to prepare better our Kit.

I know many MUAs and Hairstylist are not rushing - Runway shows, group shoots, competitions helps to learn & speed up the time...

Dec 06 12 10:16 am Link

Makeup Artist

MakeUp By CC

Posts: 303

Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

It's important to talk about before the shoot how much time you get...
depends on the model, if it's a "normal" person with not so good skin etc it will take longer than a fresh faced 16 year old model wink

Dec 06 12 11:18 am Link

Makeup Artist

Heather J M

Posts: 718

London, England, United Kingdom

Azimuth Arts wrote:
ETA: The words "simple" and "natural" in makeup don't always go together.  Sometimes natural can take longer than some more "made-up" looks because it can be harder to make it look like there is no makeup than looks where it is clear they are wearing makeup.

You know what, I disagree with this. I see it being touted around here often and I just don't agree. Let me explain, when I do makeup, no matter the look, it ALWAYS required immaculate skin. I don't mean mask-like foundation, I mean skin that looks natural and perfect. For a no-makeup look this is the main aim, but when I am doing something bigger it is still the foundation step of the whole look. And I rarely need more than 40 minutes for makeup that isn't requiring something unusual (gluing stuff on, prosthetics etc).

Not a personal criticism Azimuth, I've just read this maybe one too many times recently.

Dec 06 12 12:03 pm Link

Photographer

Sergei Rodionov

Posts: 867

Dallas, Texas, US

Depending on MUA/H (interestingly enough - not always just about experience, but rather its seems to be more of personality thing) - it takes between 15/20 minutes to couple hours to get single look (makeup+ hair)

I normally account for about hour. After that i am starting to get irritated wink

Dec 06 12 12:34 pm Link

Model

Melodye Joy

Posts: 542

Rancho Cucamonga, California, US

LALightPhoto wrote:
I've done two shoots recently with MUAs who took HOURS to do pretty simple, natural looking Hair and Makeup.  In one, the client literally ran out of time.  When I asked the MUA about it she told me it always takes that long.  That hasn't been my experience but maybe I've been lucky.  How long should it take?

Curious.

I have worked with a variety of MUAs and Hair stylists and this is what I have found...

beginners/novices

45mins max on any natural/basic/simple makeup & hair

2hrs for creative makeup & hair

seasoned stylists

20mins max for natural
1hr for creative

However, I have experienced that a Zombie body-paint session with hair styling took *maybe* 30 mins and it was all done BY HAND

It varies with artists, abilities and time-frame they usually allow...

If it's past 2 hours I would start to wonder...unless you know darn well the extent of a creative piece (i.e. face/body paint)

Dec 06 12 12:44 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Katy G

Posts: 286

Yucaipa, California, US

As others have said, the experience level of the artist and how much practice time they’ve had will determine their speed. Timing is still a struggle for me, as a fairly newish artist (2 and ¾ years) who’s practice was sporadic until this last year, when I had time to do more.

It takes me anywhere from 45 minutes (best case, amazing skin, light look) up to an hour to an hour and a half (bad skin, intricate creative look) to finish a face. Average is an hour, maybe a few minutes over. I realize this is not ideal to many photographers and I am (of course) working on being more timely; that was a goal, this year.

Always ask your MUAs how long it takes them to complete a look and hopefully they are honest with you. I’m always honest about how long I estimate needing. If possible, your MUAs and models could arrange to meet up with each other first and do makeup. I often go to my model’s homes or if they live nearby, have them come to my place. Nobody has objected to the idea, so far. Maybe that’s just been luck, but it’s been helpful. That way, they can arrive ready to work and you don’t have to sit around waiting for the shoot to start.

Needing more time isn’t always a bad thing, if it can be worked around. For my experience level, I think I’m pretty decent at what I do. I don’t slop/spackle/smear makeup on for the sake of working quick, as some newer artists feel pressured to do. I’d rather my results be stellar than my timing. “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.” Or, so they say.

This is not to defy the fact that time frames are important. I’m only trying to offer some other insight/helpful solutions. smile

Dec 06 12 01:35 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Kim L Makeup

Posts: 33

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I consider myself a "beginner" and it typically takes me 30-45 minutes for a makeup look. Probably another half hour if you want me to do hairstyling too, but if I'm well prepared in advance (photos of the model, examples of each look, knowing if there are any time limits, etc) I can cut it down.

Dec 06 12 01:51 pm Link

Makeup Artist

meower

Posts: 36

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I take longer if where I am is setting up is cluttered/unorganized. Last night I did a shoot, the makeup took me 30-45 minutes and that's because of them chit chatting and catching up, they ordered dinner, smoking cigs, my work area just not very convenient.. besides the clutter etc.. the glare in my eyes aaaaghh haha I have to find somewhere better at that location.
Oh and her eyelids were having fits! hahaha they kept fluttering, I had to take off the liner and reapply a few times until she was a bit more relaxed with her eyes shut, this also ruined the blended shades of grey but eh not much you can do with the circumstances, I still think she looked hawt. She didn't have the best skin, and very dark under eye circles. Again, I think I could have done it in about 20-30 mins if we weren't interrupted or knocked by others.. etc.
My kit is a disaster, I really need to organize it to make time and be more efficient (will do)
I am a noob with barely any experience, like.. 4ish months of a few classes a week which I did miss a bit due to being unwell.. so with more prac on myself, getting images of models beforehand, planning the looks, making sure you have what you need and maybe a few extras.

OH buuuuuuuut besides the eyeshadow, I do tweak the eyebrows for a while, they're so important.. xD

Dec 06 12 02:46 pm Link

Photographer

Mickle Design Werks

Posts: 5949

Washington, District of Columbia, US

LALightPhoto wrote:
I've done two shoots recently with MUAs who took HOURS to do pretty simple, natural looking Hair and Makeup.  In one, the client literally ran out of time.  When I asked the MUA about it she told me it always takes that long.  That hasn't been my experience but maybe I've been lucky.  How long should it take?

Curious.

When planning for a shoot, you need to ask your Stylist how long it will take to do a certain look. This is especially true if you are working with a Stylist for the first time. In that scenario, I will ad 10-15 min on to the estimate that they give me and plan from that.

It's your responsibility to know the strengths and weaknesses of each Stylist that you work with on a regular basis. I work with different Stylists all the time and I have good idea of how long it will take to do certain looks. If time is a factor, I know which Stylists can work fast and still give me a great look so I focus on trying to get them in.

Dec 06 12 03:05 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

30-45 mins is all I expect for a 'normal' look.  Something for a beauty shoot could be longer, but in that case it's different.  A couple hours in the chair vs a couple hrs per image retocuhing to get it right; that is an easy call to make.

Dec 06 12 03:22 pm Link

Body Painter

Lisa Berczel

Posts: 3998

Corona, California, US

In my experience, time estimates beforehand are only as good as the model's skin....

Dec 06 12 04:51 pm Link

Makeup Artist

LisaJohnson

Posts: 10525

Nashville, Tennessee, US

Lisa Berczel wrote:
In my experience, time estimates beforehand are only as good as the model's skin....

THIS - plus the fact that if you haven't worked with them before it should probably be a test situation - and they need to know your demands of time prior to booking them.

Dec 06 12 06:31 pm Link

Model

Jordan L Duncan

Posts: 207

Jacksonville, Florida, US

I do my own makeup for almost all my shoots and it takes me about 2 hours (for a simple look), which is why I never show up for a shoot with no makeup on. I am very OCD about how stuff looks though and I'm not a professional MUA by any means.

For a shoot with MUA it is important for both the MUA and model to know exactly what is expected of them. I shot with an MUA once who did not tell me that she wanted me to bring my own makeup to the shoot. All she told me to do was show up with a 100% clean face and 2nd day hair. I assumed that as a makeup artist she would have her own makeup kit. We ended up using some makeup that a previous model had left in the studio and a bit of the photographer's wife's stuff. (with her permission of course). It took forever because we had to test each product to see how it would look. The shoot was outside in awful humid weather and since the makeup was not professional quality it sweated all off. Luckily I have naturally clear skin, but the shots still came out super shiny looking. Not cute. Definitely not what me or the photographer was looking for.

I have heard of models showing up looking awful for shoots and that just takes even longer for the MUA to work. One photographer I was friends with had a girl come straight from the club to his studio and asked to use shower before the shoot. The MUA had to wait on the girl to shower. Then since she had freshly shampooed hair her curls kept falling out in spite of the use of product, and every so often the MUA would have to step in and re-curl this girl's hair.

Basically everyone needs to show up for work.

Dec 06 12 07:30 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Dorota MUA

Posts: 82

Leeds, England, United Kingdom

Jordan L Duncan wrote:
I have heard of models showing up looking awful for shoots and that just takes even longer for the MUA to work. One photographer I was friends with had a girl come straight from the club to his studio and asked to use shower before the shoot. The MUA had to wait on the girl to shower. Then since she had freshly shampooed hair her curls kept falling out in spite of the use of product, and every so often the MUA would have to step in and re-curl this girl's hair.

Basically everyone needs to show up for work.

Lisa Berczel wrote:
In my experience, time estimates beforehand are only as good as the model's skin....

Yes  - a lot depend from thy hygiene and skin routine of model.

Sometimes it may cause delays and make event that all will go wrong and make-up would not look that how it could be. Common problems:
overdried/peeling lips, unregulated eyebrows, tired and dehydrated skin, lots of spots
Model often are coming with make-up on face! All must be removed, even model have applied just mascara - it must be removed otherwise it will smudge and make "panda eye" > removing make-up will cause irritation to the skin and redness... Unwashed hair=greasy oily hair or washed same day earlier...(fresh washed hair are hard too styling, best are if washed day before...)  Heh... I remember once model - she normally was using clip-in extension...but she glued it to the hair and skin a week before the photo-shoots by wig glue...

I record that aesthetics of nails is also often ignored by models - broken nail, chipped nail vibrant varnish, nails painted to colour that often not matching to the photo-shoots and created look (again-often some strange vibrant colour ...)

I know it's not a rule but often models seems to think: "Do I have to do something more before photo-shoots?...oh yeah, why do I worry...there would be MUA and Hairstylist..."

Dec 07 12 07:45 am Link

Makeup Artist

Simire MUA

Posts: 91

London, England, United Kingdom

I agree wholeheartedly with the different MUA comments above. I had a llama attend a shoot with a full face of make up. This is one of the most frustrating issues i tend to encounter. Advice to arrive with a clean face usually falls on deaf ears. I'm not clear why this is the case when she is not rushing from another shoot or show.

15minutes later after removing her make up, we were left with very dry, red, flaky skin and crusty/cracked lips. Further 10minutes of skin prep and we were now readyto apply her make up which took 10 minutes for the natural look!

I deliberately timed this and was amazed at the time delay. This is for TF work and is really above and beyond the 'time' i am expending for the print work in my opinion.
Professional make up application is a bit more than slapping on the goo hoping for the best.

Skin condition and prep is just as important if not more important than the application of make up. I understand the frustration photographers might experience during this period, however, if they are involved in llama selection, then my suggestion would be to analyse the skin of the llama or liase with their MUA prior to llama selection.

Dec 07 12 10:30 am Link

Makeup Artist

Dorota MUA

Posts: 82

Leeds, England, United Kingdom

Simire MUA wrote:
I understand the frustration photographers might experience during this period, however, if they are involved in model selection, then my suggestion would be to analyse the skin of the model or liase with their MUA prior to model selection.

The problem that is not possible to analyse the model skin and condition of it you have only portfolio of model and even bad quality pic from party from fb profile are not always help to do this....

It important do inform model about plan and details of the photo-shoots, all details about hair, make-up and nails should be discussed before! Emerging model will always forget to inform you about any problem with skin, peeled lips,some hair condition...they often don't realize that skin and hair condition, nails must look best as possible & some  problems can;t be fixed in 5 min! Photography,portraits, fashion, editorial  is all about beauty! - all details later are extremely visible! Model should know that...!

Dec 07 12 11:07 am Link

Photographer

Barely StL

Posts: 927

Saint Louis, Missouri, US

"Simple" makeup and hair - 1-2.5 hours.

Makeup and hair in a style similar to what you see in the photos of John Farrar and Michael Rosen - 4-6 hours and up for makeup plus an hour or so for hair.

Full bodypaint (not just covering someone in gold paint, etc.) - 4-5 hours (frontal only; backside is not painted) plus 1-2 hours for makeup and hair.

Full bodypaint for Sport Illustrated assignments - 9-13 hours plus makeup and hair.

Dec 07 12 11:23 am Link

Makeup Artist

Simire MUA

Posts: 91

London, England, United Kingdom

Dorota MUA wrote:

The problem that is not possible to analyse the model skin and condition of it you have only portfolio of model and even bad quality pic from party from fb profile are not always help to do this....

It important do inform model about plan and details of the photo-shoots, all details about hair, make-up and nails should be discussed before! Emerging model will always forget to inform you about any problem with skin, peeled lips,some hair condition...they often don't realize that skin and hair condition, nails must look best as possible & some  problems can;t be fixed in 5 min! Photography,portraits, fashion, editorial  is all about beauty! - all details later are extremely visible! Model should know that...!

I agree with you Dorota, however some photogs meet up with models prior to shooting and this would be the perfect opportunity to either look at make up free face or ask the MUA to tag along for their opinion.

Almost all of the time and like yourself we just make do with port links which has possibly been retouched, is difficult to assess and/ or with the model sporting her layer of foundation which does not say much about the skin. I don't mean to sound cynical but......if a model has a complete disregard for basic skin, hair or nail care, then i'm not entirely convinced she will pay any attention to MUA advice to prep her skin, hair or nails before the shoot.

Dec 07 12 11:46 am Link

Makeup Artist

User Name Unavailable

Posts: 558

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

LALightPhoto wrote:
How long should it take?

Depends!

What look is being requested?
What hair is being requested?

How is the model's skin, lip condition, brows, hair texture, etc.

If you want a soft pretty natural look with softly waved hair, this could take me 10 minutes or 2 hours!

If the model's skin is smooth, moisturized, makeup free, blemish free, with few areas of discoloration, and her lip are not chapped and flaky, and her brows don't need tweezing, and her brows are full and lovely, and her lashes are luscious and her hair is already in soft waves, so it just needs a part, a soft brushing, and some flyaway control and shine spray.... Then it could be 5-10 minutes.

Anything else other than the above situation, and you're looking at time.
Of course, there are corners to cut, and most people speed up with experience.

For model testing, I average around 25 minutes for simple makeup and hair.
For my regular tv hosts, to be camera ready, I average about 30-40 minutes.
(But they have great skin, and good brows and lashes, and they have their hair styled in their natural textures)

Dec 07 12 03:37 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Linda Chudomelova

Posts: 133

Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

LALightPhoto wrote:
I've done two shoots recently with MUAs who took HOURS to do pretty simple, natural looking Hair and Makeup.  In one, the client literally ran out of time.  When I asked the MUA about it she told me it always takes that long.  That hasn't been my experience but maybe I've been lucky.  How long should it take?

Curious.

I'm a makeup newbie, fresh after a course, during which we were geared to not take more than 90 minutes for makeup and hair for an average look (our exams were timed to that time frame too). 6 weeks later I'm down to 45 - 50 minutes for an average makeup, non-complicated stuff.

Hair varies. That high-up sleek ponytail - 10  minutes. 15 if the model has a LOT of hair. Curling hair takes a lot of time, even with a curler

With me, I feel like I have my ups and downs. There are days when I feel like an octopus and just smack the stuff on and it looks fab in a flash. The other days it just drags on and on and on and it still isn't "it."

I agree that knowing one's kit can speed up the process, but there are things that take time and where there are no shortcuts.

Dec 08 12 03:04 am Link

Makeup Artist

Kim Y

Posts: 235

Los Angeles, California, US

is it just me... or does this topic come up every few weeks or so with a new photographer coming in complaining about time?

search button please!

Dec 08 12 04:09 am Link

Makeup Artist

Simire MUA

Posts: 91

London, England, United Kingdom

Kim Y wrote:
is it just me... or does this topic come up every few weeks or so with a new photographer coming in complaining about time?

search button please!

:-) this comment very witty and is making me giggle in a very public waiting area!

Search button advice however is very valid and not limited to the OP alone.

Dec 08 12 04:22 am Link

Hair Stylist

rick lesser

Posts: 726

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

I've been doing this for OMG 35 years.  When I am being interviewed by the photographer for the first time I always tell them I am fast.  Which they reply Great!  Your hired!!!  So I would say  with experience should come speed.  You learn when to cut corners you learn that you have extra time to tweak things. And you can always make up time here and there.   For natural beauty looks, if the model comes with clean skin, 20 min.  For simple hair, as long as I don't have to dry it, then 10 to 15 min.  Maybe a bit longer if it is going up.  I have been told I had 10 min to do hair and makeup at times and I always seem to make it work.  With guys it takes 5 min.  Less is more people!  Even touch up's and changes I am pretty fast.  You have to be.  Time is money.  And as long as I don't talk, I am really fast!  R-

Dec 08 12 10:17 am Link

Makeup Artist

Subculture

Posts: 35

Los Angeles, California, US

30 mintues!

Dec 08 12 06:36 pm Link