So I have been lurking on this forum for several months and this is my first post! (Yay me!)
Anyways, back to my post. I am a new makeup artist who is trying to build her portfolio. However, I notice that I am having an abnormally hard time getting test shoots. Its like photographers don't take me seriously and things keep falling through. I am starting to get discouraged and am doubting my dream. I'm wondering is it just me, or has anyone else had this problem. And if so, how do you over come it.
To add some background, I have been dabbling in makeup for 3 years. I have gotten serious in the last year, investing in a fairly decent kit. I use quality products and practice optimal sanitation. I also have been working for a makeup counter for over a year and have experience with almost every ethnicity/skin tone/skin issue/eyeshape ect.
Jan 21 13 04:04 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
What are you looking to get into? Commercial, fashion, TV, film, special effects?
I took a look at your portfolio and without giving you any un-solicited critique, I am unsure of what you want to do in the future.
My advice is to focus on what you want to get into. Have separate profiles for special effects.
If you want to do test shoots for beauty and fashion, I recommend working on more clean beauty work and document them on all different types of skin tones.
Reach out to photographers and models in your area and set up the shoot yourself. You may end up shooting with a photographer who's work may not be on the same level as say a Vogue or Elle or commercial photographer, but you can work your way up there. Use every shoot to get to the next level and keep at it.
I hope this helps. Ask any other specific questions if you have any.
Jan 21 13 04:13 pm Link
Thank you for your response, Kim. I really want to get into high fashion and beauty, but I didn't want to rule anything out as I am so new. I just assumed I would show a range and let the workflow dictate path. I will definitely make my intentions more direct on my page and in general.
Jan 21 13 04:23 pm Link
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
I noticed you only have 4 friends which means you aren't doing much networking to reach out to local photographers. And you also should be posting a availability notice to let others know you're seeking to do some porfolio building through testing / TF
Just my thoughts ~ MR
Jan 21 13 04:32 pm Link
Louisville, Kentucky, US
I got a couple of ideas for you. Instead of contacting photographers, why don't you contact models and tell them you're willing to do their make up at no charge but will need some of the headshots created during the photo shoot.
By going to the person whose image you'll be needing, you might have more success. Then, when the photographer is at the shoot, extend him or her your contact info and say, "If you ever need a make up artist for a model, I'm your girl (or lady) for it! I'm relatively new, but I show out."
This happened Saturday: A model booked a TF shoot with me. She also had a mua to help, TF also. The mua arrived 20 minutes before the shoot. The model was 15 minutes late. During that time, the mua and I talked and I was very impressed with just her professionalism. I had not seen her work, but already decided I'm going to work with her again. After the shoot, I informed the mua I had two paid gigs on my books that needed a make up artist. She accepted and we are certain to work together again on paid and TF projects. Arriving early is always a good thing when dealing with someone I think. Good luck and I'm sure you will be fine!
Jan 21 13 04:38 pm Link
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ty Lockhart wrote:
You're forgetting one thing and that is the model doesn't own the rights to the photos. So it would be up to the photographer who gets them & not the model.
Jan 21 13 04:44 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
The photographers that comment may have a good point. But definitely reach out to both photographers and llamas and see what you can put together yourself. It doesnt hurt to let people know who you are and what you want to do.
Jan 21 13 05:00 pm Link
@MR I agree with your statement. I network a lot in real life and always keep my business card on me. I do have alot of contacts via facebook but I need to make sure I am networking on here aswell. The only thing that makes it hard is most people in my area don't get on here too much.
@Ty thats actually a good idea! I actually never thought about it that way. As long as I can get the images, I am open to whatever.
@Kim That's a good plan. I really have been trying to get some clean beauty shoots for my port because that is where the money is. As far as my camera quality, I know it isn't the best. I need to invest in a better camera. Its just all my extra money goes to makeup at this point!!! I just figured something was better than nothing.
Jan 21 13 05:32 pm Link
You are in Texas... what is your market in Texas? How many artists make a living doing High Fashion in your area? what do you mean by beauty? do you mean brides? these are questions you need to ask yourself before you start the testing process..... You need to know your market and your end goal.
Jan 21 13 05:44 pm Link
@Mary There is pretty much no fashion market in Texas. Don't get me wrong, there are up and coming designers and fashion shows (dallas, houston). The main market however, is all bridal. I am relocating to nyc next year so I can advance my career. I just want to get a lot of testing done down here before I set foot in the big apple. My goal is to do print work. I want to do hi fashion ads and editorials. I just struggle because I have these images in my head but the market can make it so hard sometimes.
Jan 21 13 05:57 pm Link
Franklin, Tennessee, US
OP, you are wanting to test, you are in a good position. Lots of photographers get very happy when MUAs want to tf. Be flexible and have ideas. Be willing to be the lead on a shoot as in find the model too.
Also look for open casting calls for flash parties. Great way to get several pieces for your book in one day. Network on FB with local models and photographers too.
Most of my tf comes from fb.
Jan 21 13 07:42 pm Link
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
As a new MUA myself, I know how you feel. It takes time, but you have to network. Thats how I have been booking my most recent shoots and Im doing fairly okay, in my opinion. I actually started freelancing in April of 2012. But I am booking jobs here and there. Most recently I had two shoots in December. Possibly booking a wedding next month. First off, I found that you have to find a way for people to get to know WHO you are. I work in a retail store and I always have my makeup done and for people ask for my number and I always have business cards on hand. Thats a great way to meet people. (especially if you want to do bridal, special occasions, etc) Try to always have your face done, it is a great way to showcase your work without speaking. NETWORK! Create a FB page and ask your friends to "like" it. Show people who are.
Jan 21 13 10:01 pm Link
New York, New York, US
It appears that most pictures in your portfolio are of yourself. Grab some girlfriends (with various skin tones and features) and do their makeup in many different styles (natural, fashion, avant garde) and take their pictures with a nice camera up against a white background. There is a tremendous difference between doing makeup on yourself vs. doing makeup on someone else so you gotta show your skill!
After doing this, email photographers personally with your photos asking to work TFP. Also, contact EVERY casting for TF work on Model Mayhem.
Jan 22 13 07:27 am Link
Louisville, Kentucky, US
I second everything everyone has said. I too had a hard time acquiring TF shoots in the beginning.
My 2 cents: Don't give up!
Keep sending out messages, keep trying to connect, keep reaching out, models, photographers, hairstylists, other MUAs to offer to assist, anyone you can.
And until you get shoots, like Jaime said, grab some of your friends, practice on them and take your own snap shots. It will give you something in your portfolio until you get more shoots, and gives everyone a chance to at least see something that you are capable of doing.
Jan 22 13 06:28 pm Link
Fort Worth, Texas, US
Yeah, the world doesn't look to Dallas or Houston to hang on the new trends coming from here! Brides would be a great deal if you can get into that. Also, we are both business people. Generally speaking, you cost me money. Now, if there is a way that the both of us can make money, then I'm all ears. This is what I'm about to do. I am talking with a Salon about setting up and shooting makeovers. Take this with a grain of salt, but if you can find a location, and a photographer, sell makeovers for whatever it is that you need to make, and have the photographer photograph these ladies (or gentlemen, ya never know...) fresh new looks. Win win. That will get attention.
Networking is the key though. Post casting calls, availability notices, SPAM facebook, whatever you can do to get in touch with the people that are willing to spend the money on you.
Jan 22 13 06:46 pm Link
Los Angeles, California, US
so why not invest in your photographic portfolio by paying photographers and models to help you create a commercially viable book?
Jan 22 13 11:34 pm Link
Columbus, Ohio, US
I was just going to suggest that the quickest way to give a new portfolio a significant boost in quality is to pay a good photographer.
Jan 23 13 12:17 pm Link
San Pedro, California, US
As a fashion and beauty photographer (the genre you indicate interest in), I don't want to see horror/creature makeup in a portfolio of an artist I'm considering working with. It will run me off. I'd suggest creating a separate portfolio (or even MM acct), for your work in the horror film genre.
Jan 23 13 12:25 pm Link
New York, New York, US
I would advise against this. I was thinking about doing this at some point but realized that it involves too much pressure. Test up and if you still feel you're having trouble finding people to test with whose skill set match your own--THEN pay someone to help further your book. Absolutely do not pay anyone to help with your book for at least 3 years after you are testing regularly.
Jan 23 13 01:44 pm Link
Brooklyn, New York, US
I have to say that I agree with the post above. You are still new and you should focus on building a book and working on your technique (not in a critique - I was in the same boat). The better you get the easier you will find it is to test. Some of my first tests were terrible but it got me more test to then get better tests.
If you pay a photographer too early in your career it can be misleading. Best case scenario you get amazing images that blow you away - can you recreate that work when the time comes? If not, you will ruin your reputation before you get a good leg in. Keep practicing, set up shoots with photographers, network on and off of of MM. Keep at it and it will happen.
Jan 23 13 02:16 pm Link
if your goal is to work in NY, I think your testing should be done there...you'll have to start over there anyway...the stuff you shoot in TX probably isn't going to go over well in NY. If you want to keep shooting until you get to NY, just do it for practice and experience... I wouldn't expect anything you shoot now to work for r the book you use in NY
Jan 23 13 11:47 pm Link
MA YE wrote:
I agree! When you do get to the point where you're confident to work with really good people you can find a very good model to pay, some good photographers will work free if you have a great model you're paying for (someone they would not normally get on their own).... Or you can pay a great photographer....agency models will work free if you have a great photographer (someone better then they would get to work with on their own) The more economical way would be to pay a very good agency model and get the rest of the crew to work on a test basis... Stylist, photographer, hair, etc...keep in mind, they will do it to work with HER so she has to be exceptional
Jan 23 13 11:56 pm Link
Thank you guys for all of ya'll advice! I actually have been approached by about 3 photographers this week alone based off some images I posted on my FB page. Hopefully, I will have some beautiful concepts and images in the next couple of weeks. I guess my goal for testing in Texas is to get more comfortable with photogenic work.
Jan 24 13 08:27 am Link
Harrison, New Jersey, US
You have get opportunity in your town to conner the market,I live in NYC and MUA are a dime of dozen and majority are really good,its hard when the market is saturated to stand out.While you're there try driving around and offer to test with photo studios,unsure there is at least one portrait studio in a mini mall so on the main street or go to the next town over or two another option is look up the college or university nearest to you and see if they have photography department,either post a notice on their bulletin board or talk to the head of the photography department about offering your skill for the students assignment. Also with up and coming designers offer to do the shows and test,maybe a look book and alway give your info to the photographers,take your phone out at the end of the shoot before packing up and add them to twitter or your Facebook,instagram(I prefer to add them as friend them to have them like a fan page,that way I'm build relations not fans) I would make a F/B account just for networking with industry professional as I sure no one wants to see pics of food and personal bitching about private issues,let that for your friends & family or you can do as I do and have just twitter & instagram for professional networking.
You can also try doing teen & adult pageants & hair shows.
I do agree that you must build you port with clean make up looks and show some glam,the NYC market clean makeup always sells,when I get book for hair most of the time they are me for edgy look & MUA for clean make up...but if what to make money commercial & bridal looks pay the bills.
Jan 26 13 06:49 pm Link
San Diego, California, US
I didn't read all the posts, but you should put out a casting call in your area. Cast for both photographers and models. Tell them what you're willing to do for trade. That should put you in contact with some folks to collaborate with.
Jan 26 13 07:39 pm Link
West Palm Beach, Florida, US
As a photographer ( I am primarily a photographer) I find two few beginning makeup artists show the kind of work in their portfolios that I need to see.
Clean, natural looks on a variety of ethnicities and skin types. A few edgy creatives are fine but clean natural and clean beauty is what I really need to see.
Jan 26 13 07:57 pm Link
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Also try searching the casting calls for models, then pm the photographer & ask if they need an mua for the shoot. (I got my next 3 tests this way)
Whenever you do tests, leave your card & details with the models & photogs & let them know if they ever have an mua cancel (it happens a lot, thier loss my gain) you might be available short notice. (I always clean & repack my kit ASAP after a shoot just in case)
Jan 26 13 08:05 pm Link
Little Rock, Arkansas, US
Had a shoot yesterday. Would have LOVED to have had hair and make up available.
But I had no budget.
I have reached out to several local 'beauticians' offering them photos of anything they wanted, in exchange for helping with a TF shoot. Have never had anyone act more than 'slightly interested' and no follow ups.
So, what the others said. Reach out to local photographers and let them know you are interested in expanding your portfolio on a TF basis.
Also, someone already mentioned, get more pics in your port of women (or men) with different styles and skin tones.
Wish you lived closer. I would work out something. But such is our lot for living in the 'fly over states'.
I wish you the very best of luck!
Jan 26 13 08:23 pm Link
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Images by MR wrote:
I agree and its important to team up with a photographer because they are the ones providing the photos.
Jan 26 13 08:32 pm Link
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Well, whenever you head to NYC, I would love to work with you! I don't have a single MUA to depend on since moving to the east coast.
Feb 01 13 02:37 pm Link