A great tool to impress new customers in a visual business like makeup artistry is a great looking portfolio. It not only gives your potential clients an impression of the quality of your work, it is also a great non-verbal way to show who you are as an artist.

When you are starting out as a Make-up Artist, you will surely wonder how to get your portfolio together. To make things a bit easier for you, we want to start with a few helpful tips on how to start with your portfolio and how to promote it.

It is never too early to start building your portfolio. You can always replace older photos with newer work as you get better. There are two different options to approach creating your portfolio.

Low Budget Route

Starting out use every opportunity you might get to do make-up, take the chance and always remember to take pictures, of everything. Since you are maybe not the next world class photographer, you may have only you phone to take pictures. But do it anyway. It is good to get a feel how your work looks on photos. And you never know when your “early” photos will come in handy.

Have a friend who is getting married and needs her make-up done? Good, take a picture of your work. Ask of permission to use the photos in your portfolio.

Maybe you know a photographer that is also starting out who needs a Make-up Artist for a shoot. Make sure to ask for a couple of good photos. It is also very important that you have his/her permission to use the photos in your portfolio. Be clear about where and how you are planning to use the photos before you start. Obviously the relationship between photographer and make-up artist is of mutual benefit. You can both use the same photo shoot for your photos and refer to each other in your portfolios.

If you get the chance to assist other Make-up Artists, then you may get so lucky, really lucky, to put on some lipstick, blush, or powder. Ask the MUA to take a picture of your work. Put that photo in your portfolio.

Of course, as soon as you get paying clients make sure to always take photos or follow up with photographers to build up your portfolio over time.

Paying a Photographer

Just as you invest in your education and your makeup kit, paying for professional photos for your portfolio is one of the expenses that can make a big difference.

As Makeup Artist Carolyn Berry suggested in our big roundup post: “It pays to invest in your portfolio. Once you have done a few shoots for trade and you know your work is looking good on the camera, contact your local beauty photographers and pay them a few times to shoot your portfolio. Once you have amazing images, you will be able to attract more high-quality photographers to work with. Also, amazing photographers have access to agency models which will make your job as a makeup artist easier n terms of the quality of images you will receive.

Printed Versus Online Portfolio

Having two portfolios makes a lot of sense. If you have a website, great! An online portfolio is convenient, because you can always refer to it and people who like to book you, can see your work right away.
The printed portfolio you should always keep close. It is good to have it on hand wherever you go, because you never know what kind of opportunities present themselves, and you want to be prepared.

Your printed portfolio pictures should be 9 x 12 or 11 x 14; you can put them in a good quality leather binder with plastic sleeves, so your pictures look perfect. This again is a bit of an investment but remember that this is for you and your work.

Other ways, to promote your work online, beside your website is to put those pictures up on all of your social networking pages. Put them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You don’t need to be everywhere, rather be conscious about what platform makes the most sense and keep updating those consistently.

It worked well for Makeup Artist Stephanie Hernandez: “… I was blessed to have some on share my look on Reddit. And overnight everyone was talking about my work. “ (read the full quote and post here)

Final words

For the shots always try to find good accessories. Show as much diversity as possible. But also remember your skills and concentrate on them. Showcase what you what to do in your portfolio. Find people that you can work with, like hairstylists, photographers, stylists, etc. Building those relationships can’t start early enough.
At last take every opportunity you can and never forget: You need photos!
I am sure we will talk about portfolios a lot more in the future. Please leave your comments or question below.

[ois skin=”Read-More”]

Photo: Pedro Vezini