Makeup Artists Make Shoots 100x Better, So Respect Their Craft

Makeup By Jamie Photo: ACRONYM

Makeup By Jamie

By: Amy Cooper

A lot of the time when working in the photography or video world, we need to hire makeup artists and stylists. 

When it comes to Makeup Artists (MUA's), it's really important that you respect their craft. They put in a lot of time, work, effort, and product, all while standing craned over your head and/or body for hours, and most of the time, their work does not get credited on Social Media, or is taken for granted, when truthfully, the shoot wouldn't even be good without the work they've done. 

I've worked with a few great ladies within my time as a photographer, all who specialize in a bunch of different angles of doing makeup. Whether it is basic beauty, special effects (SFX), wedding / bridal, etc, they all bring something to the table... Which includes their own set of horror stories. 

When you're going to work with a makeup artist, there are things that you may not consider rude, frustrating, or not even think of when you're getting work done, so I checked with some of my main ladies to see what their biggest no-no's were when it comes to how clients have reacted or things they have said or done getting their makeup done, and what to avoid to respect your artist better. 

If your MUA asks you if you're satisfied with what they've done, don't say yes, and then try to do it yourself when it gets messed up or because you don't like it. 

Be honest with your artist. If you want something changed, have them change it. That's what they are there to do, to make you look the best they can. They want their work properly represented just as a photographer would, and I'm sure you don't want to look bad either.

Photographers and directors, the same goes for you. If your MUA on set asks you if the makeup looks good, and you want something changed, let them know instead of just "accepting" it. They want to make you happy with their work. Also, if you think that the subject is going to sweat the makeup off during a shoot, or will need a touch up, book the MUA for the allotted time. Do not either A. Expect them to stay without communicating that, or B. Just hope for the best, and be mad at the MUA when the makeup comes off. 

Be On Time. 

This one is a no-brainer. Whether you're meeting on a set, meeting at a specific location, or if they are coming to you, be ready for them to start working. AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES, WASH YOUR FACE.

Many a time are the days where a MUA arrives on set, and the models don't show up on time, and then the photographer / director is hammering hard on the MUA to finish it within a certain time frame. The more time the MUA has to work, the better you're going to look. When people work on set, they have a specific bracket of time to do the work asked of them, so being late is going to slow everything else down, and it might even cause you to not get enough screen time or shot time in because you weren't better prepared. 

If there's a specific look you have in mind, communicate it to your MUA so they know how much time they need to book you for. 

If you tell them "basic beauty" and then want to come out looking just a little bit less intense than RuPaul, there will not be enough time to get you looking the way you desire. Be thorough when expressing what you want to look like / what you want your model to look like so the artist can get it done the way it's desired the first time. Do not be wishy-washy or say "I don't know" either. Try to be as clear as possible so there isn't a miscommunication and lack of time to get you where you want to be. This is the same sentiment of booking them for the allotted time on set if they are going to need touch ups. 

When you're halfway through getting your makeup done, don't backseat drive your Makeup Artist.

THEY AREN'T DONE YET! Don't start telling them what you want to do or not do unless it's drastically in the wrong direction. Once your work is finished, then you can work with your artist to get the tweaks that you may want fixed. Also, don't continuously try to keep one eye open or on a mirror to see what they are doing, and relax. Trust your makeup artist.

And, seriously, stop trying to take selfies or Snapchat while they are working. 

Alexandria Bishop doing a Special Effects Makeup workshop at the InkAddict Flagship.  Photo: ACRONYM

Alexandria Bishop doing a Special Effects Makeup workshop at the InkAddict Flagship. 

Know that you can bring an example, but you won't be identical. 

This happens to us as photographers as well as Makeup Artists. Someone will bring us an example (cough cough PINTREST) and expect to look identical to said photo. One artist said the client needs to understand that with skin tone, eye shape, and texture, not everyone is going to look the same. So basically, don't bring a photo in of Kim Kardashian and expect to look like her when you leave. 

Don't try to short change them for their work. I.E. Pay them what they ask and stop trying to haggle the price. 

No, they cannot use cheaper products to lower the cost of their work. No, they will not do a group rate that's lower than the cost of what it would cost to do every single person at full price. Many of them will not do trade work unless the job is extremely profitable or good for the exposure, but for the sake of the exposure, the thing you need to realize is this: They have to pay for the products they use. Sure, Photographers have to pay for the cameras they use. But cameras are a cost that is done. Makeup is continuing and never ending needing to be replaced every time. The supplies needed, especially if you are doing something SFX or Body Paint related is used in high volume, and asking someone to do that type of work without helping them replenish their products by paying them what they ask is highway robbery. 

Model: Brittlind Wellman, MUA: Makeup By Jamie, Photo: ACRONYM

Model: Brittlind Wellman, MUA: Makeup By Jamie, Photo: ACRONYM


Don't drink when you're getting your makeup done. Sure, maybe you're going out and you're going to be drinking, but when you start to drink, your face will start to turn red. Your MUA will not be able to get your shade. As you continue drinking, you'll start to get sweaty and this will just be a mess. So do yourself a favor, WASH YOUR FACE, sit your butt down, and hold off on the beers till the party actually starts. 

Are you a makeup artist that has some input? A peeve that we've missed that you think needs to be added? Sound off in the comments!

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