How important is relationship building in the fashion and commercial industry for makeup artists? Very is a good adjective to describe survival of the fittest for print photography work. Makeup Artists can play a key role in helping a photoshoot run smoothly. You have to learn when and more importantly when not to add your expertise. The photographer is trying to get their shot and how good the details look, like a rumpled pant leg, may or may not be important from the angle of the photographer’s lens. In addition, it is a juggling act to flow between the many diverse personalities of the subject, photographer, art directors, and crew. How well you get along with the photographer to make their life easier is a key component to being called back to work with them again.
A successful photo requires the amazing abilities of photographers to light their subject and help put them at ease. However, a makeup artist usually has the first chance to interact with the subject. For example, when Mona Sutphen, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, came to the photoshoot for Elle it was makeup and hair people, who got first dibs to work with her. The photographer, Robert Nethery, was busy photographing the other subjects on location around Washington, D.C. We were able to get her up to speed on what was happening.
One of the nice things that came out of this photoshoot was the comments from the photographer. Robert made an astute observation that I have found a niche in the world of makeup artists. He mentioned that New York and Los Angeles are full of professional artists. Here in Washington, D.C., where fashion takes second place to commercial work, a different type of market is available for makeup artists. I’ve enjoyed the fact that fashion and commercial can come together under the hubris of politicians and movie stars to create an amazing array of photographs for my portfolio.
photo by Robert Nethery for Elle