3 Essential Things to Look for in a Makeup Artist

Beginning your search for a beauty professional.

3 Essential Things to Look for in a Makeup Artist

Photo: Hazelnut Photography

There are many reasons why brides should not rely on their own makeup expertise for their weddings. While most women are proficient in applying cosmetics on a daily basis, an everyday look is not the best bet for your wedding day. Contrary to popular belief, bridal makeup is not a heavier than usual version of your basic face. It is a beautiful, albeit natural, application suitable for film and video and is achieved by using professional products and techniques.

With so many things running through your mind on your wedding day, putting your face in the hands of a pro leaves you with one less thing to do yourself. It also produces a wonderful stress-reducing effect. Let your artist go to work while you sit back, relax and take advantage of every trick of the trade that will create the most gorgeous you possible. It also eliminates the dangerous combination of wedding day jitters and a goopy mascara wand! Look for the following traits when searching out the right artist for you.

True Professionalism
Most brides assume that everyone who is labeled a makeup artist has talent. What you must consider is the level of professional skill and experience of each individual. A skilled makeup artist is one who can create a look using the most suitable colors and textures specifically for your skin type and skin tone. That artist will also use appropriate techniques to emphasize your best features and soften others. An experienced artist understands camera techniques, lighting, film stocks and exposure and how they relate to makeup. Knowing how a look will translate on film, whether it is black and white, color or digital photography is vital, as is accounting for the particular lighting situation. For example, the color that the sun reflects on the face varies dramatically depending on the time of day. Colors which typically look fresh at 10AM may look washed-out at 5PM.

Look for an artist who is licensed and trained in the art of photographic makeup. While most salons and spas offer makeup services, do not assume that the in-house artist has the proper training -- ask specific questions about their experience. Also, remember that what looks good in person may not always photograph well. Uneven lip lines, blemishes and under eye circles are more visible on film if not corrected properly with makeup.

A great source for makeup artist referrals is other wedding professionals, especially photographers and wedding consultants. Also ask other brides about their experience – most brides will be more than happy to show off their wedding photos, especially if they loved their makeup.

Reliable Skills
When considering a makeup artist, look at their portfolio of bridal images. Expect that he or she will create a look that complements the style of your gown, your hairstyle, and the color of your bouquet. Remember that bridal makeup should always look clean and natural with an understated elegance. Trendy looks come and go, but classic makeup will stand the test of time.

If you like what you see in the artist’s portfolio, ask to see their kit to make sure it contains an extensive array of colors and textures to suit every need. The makeup must be long-lasting, waterproof (including tear-proof eye makeup), high performance and photo friendly (as some generic brands do not perform well on film).

If you prefer to have your hair and makeup done by the same person, ask to see a portfolio that shows both. Make sure the artist is proficient in both areas. Great makeup is immediately overshadowed if your hairstyle falls out of place before you reach the aisle! If you wish to have hair and makeup services for your whole bridal party, it is advisable to have hair and makeup pros working simultaneously to cut the completion time in half.

Most importantly, hire someone whose personality and attitude put you at ease. The last thing you need on your wedding day is a difficult makeup artist spending forty-five minutes in your face. During the application process, make sure the look remains within your comfort zone and that the needs you’ve previously discussed are being met. After all, this is your day to shine, not the artist’s, and you are the one who should feel completely confident and absolutely beautiful.

Opening photograph by Hazelnut Photography