Why Do You Need to Hire a Hair and Makeup Stylist for Your Photoshoot?

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A photo is a bit like many things in life: if you properly prepare a wall to be painted with a primer, the better and neater the results will be.

If you have the proper recipe and good quality ingredients for a cocktail, the yummier it gets, right?! Same logic here! The more the professional portrait is neatly executed directly ‘in camera’, the better the final image. 

That’s why having a pro take care of your hair, and Makeup is highly recommended. Not booking one would be like not putting all the chances on your side for a strong image and “missing” half of the process. 

Why Hiring a Photoshoot Makeup Artist Is So Important

When scheduling a photoshoot, many people do not think about what makeup they will use until the last minute, let alone making sure there is a professional photoshoot makeup artist to help them on the day of.

Even if you’re not used to wearing much makeup day to day and may not plan on wearing much for your photoshoot, there are many reasons to make sure you have a makeup artist on hand for your next photo shoot.

It’s also important to note that makeup does not just apply to women but can also apply to men. Men may not be aware that their faces and foreheads can look very shiny in photographs, in many cases too shiny.

A little makeup or powder on the front and forehead can eliminate this issue and also save money in that the photographer won’t have to spend as much time retouching the photographs.

Here are the reasons a makeup artist is a must-have for your next photoshoot or professional headshot:

How Makeup Appears in Photos Is Very Different Than How Makeup Appears When You Wear It Every Day

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Makeup adds so much to images, even if you’re typically not accustomed to wearing much makeup. How makeup shows up in photographs is much different and more pronounced than when you usually wear it.

It takes an artful and experienced eye to see the structure in each face and then uses professional techniques to ensure that beauty comes out in your photographs.

A professional photoshoot makeup artist knows exactly what products to use and where to apply them.

Makeup artists also know exactly how certain types of makeup will affect how the photographs turn out and how light will affect the makeup shades and work with your face.

As far as photography is concerned, you want to view your face as a clean canvas, to begin with, before adding colour.

You may not think it will unless you are a professional photographer, but the makeup colours you choose for photoshoots will directly impact how your photographs turn out.

You want the Makeup, clothing, hairstyle and wardrobe to work with your face, and not against it. A makeup artist’s job is to help you make sure all these factors come together to make the best photographs and portray you in the best possible light.

A Photoshoot Makeup Artist Will Make You Feel Confident and More at Ease

Having a professional makeup artist will make you feel more confident about the photoshoot and more at ease in general.

In any photoshoot, you want to be as relaxed as possible, as your demeanour will have an impact on the way your images turn out. You want to focus on your poses, facial expressions, and posing well for the shoot in general.

You will have one less thing to worry about by having a great makeup artist on hand, increasing your confidence, knowing that a professional just did a fantastic job on your makeup!

Having a Second or Third Opinion Is Always Helpful

Your professional photographer should be well versed in all aspects of the photoshoot, including how your wardrobe and makeup choices will affect how the pictures turn out.

However, although they may know a few things about makeup, makeup is likely not one of their primary areas of expertise. You want to have a second opinion on your makeup from a professional makeup artist you trust.

This will ensure your pictures turn out great and make makeup choices that put you at your very best. Makeup artists can do wonders very quickly and change things instantly if you want to try a few different options for the shoot.

An analogy is that your photographer is similar to your general physician. Your general physician may know a lot about medicine but is not a specialist in any one area.

A makeup artist is a specialist that can help diagnose and fix any makeup issue or potential issue very quickly. Especially with so many different factors that go into the photo shoot, you don’t want makeup to get in the way or be an area of concern.

Make sure you have a professional photoshoot makeup artist who can provide their opinion on the best way to coordinate your makeup selection.

Look at Having a Professional Makeup Artist as an Investment in Yourself!

You already made the intelligent decision to hire a professional photographer to capture your professional photos and executive portraits. Go the extra mile and hire a professional photoshoot makeup artist as well! Remember, whatever the original reason to have the photo shoot, the photos taken can be cross-used in different settings. If you have a corporate shoot with professional headshots, you may also want to use those photos for your professional profile, website, and many other ways. Please note that if the pictures are from a company photoshoot or one that you did not pay for specifically for your use, you need to make sure you are licensed/authorized to use the photos before using them in other ways.

A professional photoshoot has so many benefits and is one of the most critical factors in how you present yourself aside from physically being there, so ensure the photography session has the best outcome by hiring a professional makeup artist to be as specific. As possible, it turns out great!

Save on Retouching Time and Expenses

Hiring a great photoshoot makeup artist will save time and expense in terms of the photo retouching that will need to be done after the shoot. Whatever it costs to hire a makeup artist, you will generally get back in the time it will save in retouching the photos. Make sure your photographer knows you’ll have a makeup artist on hand for the photoshoot, so he or she will know it will take minor time retouching and will quote your project accordingly.

Reasons to Hire a Makeup Artist for Your Photo Shoot If You Are a Model:

  • If you are the Model – your job is to MODEL! You should be focused on modelling – not trying to do your hair and makeup.
  • No one can do their makeup as well as a great makeup artist can do it for them. If you genuinely want to look your best – leave it to the professionals.
  • A professional makeup artist will TEACH you things about how to look your best, what types of products to use and tricks for shaping and contouring your face so that it looks its best on camera.
  • Great photographs are the result of collaboration between a photographer and a model. Add a great makeup artist to the mix, and you have another creative individual working to make your photographs awesome!
  • A professional makeup artist will be on the set with you, acting as another set of eyes for the photographer to make sure that your hair looks great, makeup isn’t smudged, and even helping the photographer pay attention to creases, twisted straps and other problems with your outfits.

Reasons to Hire a Makeup Artist for Your Photo Shoot If You Are a Photographer:

  • If you want to take your images to the next level, don’t think that you will do that by having a guy or girl do their hair and makeup. It would help if you had a makeup artist who understands how to make a person look their best and apply makeup with techniques that will save you time and retouching in post-production.
  • A good makeup artist will bring additional creativity to the process. Don’t think that you can / should do it on your own. The best photographs that you see in advertisements and magazines are collaborations of several people.
  • A great makeup artist will work as a second set of eyes on the stage when you are shooting. Because, like you, they invest their heart and soul into their work and will want to be sure that everything looks great. Plus, they come in handy if you need an extra set of hands to hold a reflector.
  • Having a makeup artist on stage will go a long way towards establishing a professional atmosphere. You don’t want your Model bringing a friend or relative to the shoot. The makeup artist helps to provide a level of comfort and security for your Model.
  • From a marketing standpoint, even if you are shooting for fun and finding models via the numerous amateur modelling websites, including a makeup artist in your shoot, it will make you and your work more desirable to potential models because it makes you appear more professional.

How to Get One

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By way of definition, let me mention that a beautician is not a makeup artist. A hairstylist is not a makeup artist. A cosmetologist is not a makeup artist. A veterinarian is not a makeup artist (get the point?) A makeup artist is a makeup artist. And not all MUAs do hair. I would find someone who does both for the full effect.


There are a few different sites where you can find the talent of all sorts. I used to use Model Mayhem to find makeup jobs in my area. You can search MUAs with all kinds of backgrounds and experience who are willing to work in exchange for money or simply TFP (‘time for prints’), which means they want a copy of the images for their portfolio.


Find a makeup artistry school near you with students looking for experience. Here are a few to get you started.

Sales Gals

Over on the forums online, there’s a discussion about professional MUAs and whether they are needed or not. One poster suggested finding a Mary Kay beauty consultant near you because they ‘aren’t allowed to charge for their services. You’re right; they’re not allowed to charge but technically, neither are they allowed to apply makeup. Calling your local MK rep is a great idea and very resourceful, but you’ll want to check that she is allowed to be doing makeup. Also, MK reps aren’t trained to do makeup – it is a sales job, and there is a minimal emphasis on makeup training. They are not makeup artists.

Cough Up

After years of experience, I would go the experienced MUA route and cough up the dough. A way of getting an MUA without the pinch to your pocket is to counter their fee into yours or offer an MUA as part of a package or an added option. An experienced MUA who no longer works for free is the fool-proof way to go if you don’t want to deal with inexperience.

How to Make Sure You Do Like Your Makeup

Overall, when you book the hair and makeup artist who will take care of you, there are elements to look for and questions to ask to make sure the experience is at the level of your expectations and needs. 

Often, photographers also team up with a Hair and Makeup artist for you to book on-site at their photography studio.  

Here are questions to ask to make sure everything leads to your expected outcome: 

What Are the Usual Projects You Work On? Portraits Shoots? Wedding? Fashion? Tv? 

Here, you will prioritize someone who is doing mainly bridal and portraits projects. Why? Because they are used to applying makeup on people like you and me and respect the tastes of that person. The conversation will be more flexible to have them do what you love and make you feel good.  

How do you make sure your client shares with you what they want?: Here, you want someone open to YOUR habits and YOUR tastes. Of course, you have to be available to their professional point of view and advice as they will have tips and tricks to enhance your face. But at the end of the day, the person who will be wearing the makeup will be you. So you have to like it.

What If I Never Wear Makeup? 

Here you want to make sure that you hire someone you know how to manage quantity and textures to make sure it ends up with a natural feel.  

What If I Don’t Like the Makeup or the Hairdo/blowdry? 

Through that question, you push the transparency that is needed to have exactly what you want. The person you hire has to welcome the feedback, distil his/her expertise and create for you a hairdo or makeup that makes you look like you, but even better!  

We all know how it feels when you have makeup or a hairdo that you don’t like: It feels awful, and you don’t want that on your images. That’s not the experience you want to book! So transparency and communication with your hair and makeup artist are key! Because we all know as well how empowered and confident we feel on a good hair and makeup day !!  

Examples and Boards

A great tip is also to show what you want. Sometimes we have different words for different results. Or for some, smokey eye makeup is pretty intense, but it’s more on the natural side for others. It is often said, ‘an image is worth a thousand words, so show examples of Makeup you like and hair you want.

What About Makeup for Men?

We all have seen TV anchors and politicians get powdered. What powder does is that it avoids shines and rednesses. You might not need to book a professional makeup artist for only that; a professional headshot photographer should always have in his kit some rice powdered paper.  

But if the idea of makeup on your face feels weird and uncomfortable, don’t go this way: if you feel awkward, it will be handled on your portrait, and again, it’s not a way you want to be portrayed. We want to be and feel empowered & confident. 

There Should Always a Backup 

In case the makeup is too strong, the hair lacks the volume you wanted, or you are a man and for you wearing powder is a no go: no stress If you booked a proper professional headshot & corporate portrait photographer, this one should be offering editing and retouching on the photos (or she or he works with a retoucher) and all those details can be managed naturally in post-prod, to have you enjoy the images at the level of your expectations. 

The Takeaway

Hiring a photoshoot makeup artist is well worth it for many different reasons. makeup artists have the experience needed to make sure you present yourself in the very best way, add to your confidence level during the shoot, and eliminate you have to choose makeup that may not look great in the photos in everyday wear. In many cases, your image is the first impression people have of you, and first impressions count!

So make sure your photos are the best they can be by hiring not only a professional photographer but a great makeup artist as well. Your professional photographer should have a database of excellent makeup artists you can select from.

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