Kate sZatmari Photography | Beauty Makeup, An Ancient Profession #makeupartist #beautyindustry #makeupartisttips

Makeup Artist Tips: Work with the Best Beauty Photographers


Every makeup artist in the beauty industry needs to work with a great photographer. 

Here are some tips to make sure every photographer you work with wants you on their next set and recommends you to their network. 

Makeup artistry is an ancient royal profession, dating back to 4000 BC in Ancient Egypt. Egyptian Pharaohs had specially-trained servants on staff to apply cosmetics, to make them appear more like gods. Sound familiar?

Kate sZatmari Photography | Beauty Makeup, An Ancient Profession

© Kate sZatmari

Beauty has always been a commodity. We’ve always wanted to look younger, more beautiful, more godlike. Beauty has always been associated with wealth.

When it comes to beauty advertising, the skill of the makeup artist is everything. You absolutely make the difference between a mediocre or an extraordinary final image.

Here are a few tips, from an experienced beauty photographer:

makeup artist tip #1:

Be prepared.

There’s nothing worse than any artist showing up on set without a clue of what’s happening that day. Every shoot has a theme and it’s important for you to understand what this theme is and the style of makeup it may require.

Is it an editorial or commercial beauty shoot? Clean or glamorous? Is the theme color or genre based? If you don’t understand the theme you can’t connect and deliver the message of the photo shoot.

makeup artist tip #2:

Ask the photographer what’s most important to them.

Very few makeup artists ask me, as a beauty photographer, what is the most important thing I look for in a beauty shoot. For me, it’s skin. I am all about the skin. No product, just great coverage and I want to see texture! I don’t like foundation, I don’t like seeing the foundation, and I especially don’t like concealer caked up in the delicate under eye lines of a model.

Research the photographer you’re about to work with and make sure you have a feel of their general style. Try to find out their lighting style and what their “trademark” is. If you have questions along the way, ask them!

Kate sZatmari Photography | Edgy Beauty Makeup Artist #makeupartist #beautyindustry #beautyphotography #kateszatmari

© Kate sZatmari

makeup artist tip #3:

Voice your opinion during the shoot.

At every shoot there is a chain of command, to make things flow smoothly and clearly. But it’s always a collaborative effort. Everyone should be an expert in their own field.

I’ve had artists in the past too intimidated or too polite to let me know the alteration I’ve requested was not suitable for the models face. After the application, I ended up seeing this and requested another change. I am an expert in beauty and can see the big picture, the final product, but I am not a makeup artist. Everyone on set will appreciate knowing that you’ll voice your opinion if you know something likely won’t work.

makeup artist tip #4:

Always bring your full kit.

Depending on the type of beauty shoot you are on, there’s a lot of spontaneity that can take place, especially in editorial beauty. You should always have a full kit. No one wants to hear “I wish I had that product with me…”

I know makeup artists have a tremendous amount of product and you can’t always haul everything around, but I recommend to bring as much and to make sure to have the most common type of products in your kit; ie: glitter, metallics, vaseline…

Kate sZatmari Photography | Beauty Makeup Artist Full Toolkit #makeupartist #beautyindustry #beautyphotographer #kateszatmari

© Kate sZatmari

makeup artist tip #5:

Show your perfectionism.

Beauty is one of the most detailed, technically difficult sectors of the photographic industry. It demands perfectionism. “That can be fixed in Photoshop,” are 6 words I never like to hear on any of my sets. I can identify an expert because they always take full pride in every application, paying attention to detail, eyebrow strands, stuck eyelashes, bleeding lips, fallen glitter…

I love when a makeup artist has a close look and even asks to zoom in on the test shot on the screen so they can study their canvas. Most of the time it takes fewer brush strokes on set than post-production pen strokes to fix something later.

Kate sZatmari Photography | Edgy Beauty Makeup Artist Feeling Blackish #makeupartist #beautyindustry #beautyphotography #kateszatmari

© Kate sZatmari

Your skill and attention on set is everything to a beauty photographer. I’d say it’s as important to us as it was to the Pharaohs. 😉

If you can demonstrate that you understand the final result a photographer is looking for and provide it while also taking care of all the smaller details along the way, that photographer will seek you out again and again. (I know I would!)

Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear them. Leave them in the comments section below!

About the author

Szatmari: Acclaimed celebrity portrait and beauty photographer Kate sZatmari has created memorable work for Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, People and Rolling Stone among many other national and international publications. Known in the entertainment industry for her artful images of actors, actresses, musicians and writers, sZatmari has completed projects for companies including Universal Music, Interscope Records, Lionsgate, Simon & Schuster and La Prairie.


Leave a Reply