I have had numerous aspiring makeup artists reach out to me and ask me to review their portfolios. Time and time again I see a common mistake. These artists tend to seek portfolio inspiration from the wrong places and emulate work that misses their target employer. These days their inspiration seems to come from Instagram, Pinterest or other social media outlets. Now I am not saying that these are bad places to find inspiration. It's great to get your creative juices flowing.


What is the Purpose of Your Portfolio?

However, I want you to take a step back for a minute and think about your goal as a makeup artist. My guess is you are here reading this blog because you want to build a profitable business utilizing your makeup skills.  The goal of your portfolio is to attract potential employers, your targets.  Am I right? So ask yourself, are your potential employers on Instagram?

Think Like Your Potential Employer When Planning Your Tests Shoots

So, now it's time for you to stop thinking like a makeup artist, and start thinking like somebody who is going to pay you top dollar for your skills. This should give you a direction to navigate your portfolio building endeavor. Testing is a HUGE investment of time, energy, money, and effort.  Having a specific target in mind will result in a higher return on investment.

Your Portfolio is a Preview of the MUA You Want to Be


If you aspire to be a commercial makeup artist and your book is filled with neon eyeshadows and semi-nude couture, chances are a commercial producer is going to pass you up for a job because your portfolio does not reflect commercial makeup abilities. If you want to be a high fashion makeup artist and your portfolio is filled with Instaglam selfies it is doubtful you would land a job for the cover of Vogue. If you want to be a high-end Bridal Artist and all you have are snapshots from your phone, you're less likely to have the high-end wedding coordinator book you. You get the picture.

Look for the Money Trail and Make Money as a Makeup Artist


When you are researching and gathering inspiration to plan a test shoot for your portfolio, I recommend that you follow the money trail for inspiration. Research imagery that is popular and being paid for and generating profit. If commercial work is your goal then pull images from advertising that is current and classic. Research websites like ispot.TV and pay attention to the commercials you see on your television at home. If you are a bridal makeup artist research successful wedding planners in your area and the imagery they put on their websites. This is a powerful insight into what they are looking for in a makeup artist. It's even smart to pay attention to commercials that run on social media platforms like YouTube. Open your eyes and pay attention to the advertising that is around you like billboards, social media ads, signage in retail locations etc. Chances are if it is visible in your everyday life somebody paid good money for that imagery. Wouldn't you like to be a part of the team that got paid to create those images?  I would.

Happy inspiration!  Mary RC