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1:07:04 Duration

Week 5: Makeup & Hair

I hear photographers in our group asking again and again, “How do I get started?” Which is exactly what our 12 Week Startup is all about.

I have worked with makeup artists and hair stylists my entire career. That glamour experience has been an integral part of being photographed by me for over 27 years.

I have hustled, hired, contracted, and traded with hair and makeup artists all of my career. When I couldn’t get a make up artist I learned to do it myself.

Let’s talk about how to start, engage, employ, and work with hair and make up at the earliest stage of building your folio and career.


  1. Wow, there were so many things in common with Sue’s story that I could totally relate too. I became a cosmetologist in NY when I was 18, but prior to that I was always the one who would make up all of my friends in my neighborhood, they would always come over to have their hair styled and so on, and it was, and is still a passion of mine. I just love to make people look their best and feel their best. I have been a traditional artist since childhood, but I also have a degree in multimedia and graphic design, which is where I discovered photography. Just like Sue mentioned, I had the biggest epiphany when I realized that I could still do hair and make up and incorporate that into photography, it really is the best of both worlds! For awhile I was doing everything myself, but that starts to become a bit overwhelming when you are busy trying to focus and prepare. So a few months ago I recruited a friend of a friend to do a fun session and we totally hit it off, she is also a cosmetologist and a make up artist, so I quickly snatched her up, I pay her $100 a session and she stays for the whole shoot, she has been such a great help to me. She does beautiful work, she loves what she does, and she assists me, she makes my work flow a breeze. Anyway I just wanted to write that since I just finished watching the video.

  2. Is the Transcript available for this video? I learn better when I read along with the transcript and I can remember better too. Please and thank you 🙂

  3. My makeup artist didn’t show up for a shoot yesterday and I will be buying my own kit today! Luckily I can do hair. She finally showed up 2 hrs late!! She didn’t get paid though and I gave the money back to my client as credit. I had no choice because I didn’t have a kit! So definitely buy a kit!

  4. Unfortunately in the state of Minnesota, it appears that in order to practice Cosmetology in any location, you need a license. That is too bad because I had the perfect person in mind, my friend, who is awesome at hair and makeup. I swear there are too many laws on the books, dang nanny state.

    1. Alissa, I know that several states have this same law, and it is quite confusing. I’m pretty sure that applying makeup and styling hair fall into a different category. Cutting and coloring hair, and performing facials, waxing, etc. fall into the cosmetology license requirements, and anyone working in a salon is required to have a license. If it was a requirement to have a cosmetology license to apply makeup, all those sales people at makeup counters or at stores like sephora and MAC would all be required to have a cosmetology license, and I can guarantee you they don’t. There is an article Sue posted on this very thing awhile back. Maybe she can post t here again.

    2. So a a way around this is sell Mary Kay, Lipsense or Avon then you can apply makeup and not need a license.

    3. I’m in Wisconsin and have the same questions about this. I’ve googled until I can’t google anymore and have also reached out to my friend who is a legislator in the State Assembly. He told me that it is indeed a law here, as well, but I honestly think that Gretchen is correct, below. It would be awesome if she is, since my 18 year-old daughter is a phenomenal makeup artist and has already done several of my clients’ makeup.

      I’d love to see Sue’s article about this.

    4. Am in California and my makeup artist was not allowed in my studio because he lacks a lincense. I don’t understand how sephora, Mary Kay and all those big companies get away.

    5. I live in Florida and we have the same situation with needing a license to apply makeup. a work around is to sell make up. The license is for when you are performing the make up as a service.

    6. I’ve reached out to some people in the industry here in Minnesota, and you must have the license to cut/color hair, to perform facials and extractions, to wax, or to work in a salon. You do not have to have a license to apply makeup or style hair outside of a salon.

  5. Thank you Sue for this. I did makeup for the very first time on any face other than my own. I even put on eyeliner, shocking! Thankfully, they are mostly natural like myself, but this and the other makeup videos were so very helpful.

  6. Wow! (Insert swear word) I did not know you can apply lashes on Photoshop and add makeup ? I spend 1 hour on makeup and I buy expensive false lashes ? And not that much on hair .. got it all wrong .. outsourcing makeup and learning more Photoshop ..again (insert swear word?)

  7. Totally irrelevant (kind of) but where is that white tray table from? I saw it in the masterclass and this week’s class and cannot seem to find it anywhere!

    1. There are disposable eye make up brushes you can get and you can wash makeup brushes very easily.

    2. Anita, Google “sanitary practices for makeup artists.” There are many solutions, such as disinfectant sprays for powder makeup, solutions for cleaning brushes, and disposable mascara wands, etc. If you are doing makeup on your own, you definitely want to ensure you know how to properly use and disinfect or resupply all of your products between clients.

    3. Definitely – you can easily find YouTube videos on sanitation. Basically, wash and/or sanitize with alcohol or cleaner brushes and reusable sponges after each client. NEVER double dip liquids, gels, lipsticks, etc. (use a new toothpick or clean spatula each time you dip to get out concealer, gel liner, etc.). Mascaras need single use wands (can’t double dip either, even on the same client). Need to sharpen pencils after each client (with a sanitized sharpener). Powders are generally considered safe (they don’t grow bacteria). Sanitize hands before each client or after you touch anything other than the client or a clean tube of makeup, brush, etc.

    4. If your client is asking this then perhaps she has allergies and sensitive skin. Take care of her needs !
      Also note Sue’s point in beginning – the old Keep It Simple KISS method! Makeup is down to 3 brushes and a matte powder kit it seems. So for hygiene reasons (I got a stye in my eye from unhygienic beautician – sore and swollen for ages) factor in price for those simple items. And she can keep them as souvenir of her experience with you!! Add your logo!!
      If however you are going to clean brushes remember to wash and rinse 3 times. (Well that was the method used in analytical chemistry lab – good to keep up that standard ) and NO PERFUME near eyes for sensitive clients. All the best. Hope the ideas help.