Diary of a Makeup Artist #26 - Testing aka "Thorn in My Side"

"or turn it up and shake it"
Before I dive into the Diary Thorn topic, I'm going to address a certain subject pertaining to "Shaking the Tree". The music. It's part of me, its part of my blog. I know some readers don't appreciate getting their ears blasted when they visit a blog. I've tried to keep my player easy to access so you can turn it off if your ears are bleeding. "Shaking the Tree" has many meanings for me. The tree in "Crabtree" (obviously), I like to shake my booty from time to time, I like to shake things up from time to time (I'm no mild mannered sweety poo poo mind you) and I like to ROCK hence the rock in "Rockwood" (obviously). Sorry but the music stays, I hope you still visit and rock out with me here.. K' nuff said..

Raise your hand if you want to be a makeup artist!
So there are all these schools around the country that are willing to take your money to teach you to be a makeup artist. Which is all fine and dandy if one wants to learn some basics (that can be read about in numerous books),but lets face it you cannot teach a person to be an artist, I beleive its a natural born ability that can be discovered, but not taught. Yea they'll have a photographer there and promise you an instant portfolio with pictures that look like this... (from my first few tests as a MUA)

This picture has never gotten me a job. Photography is nice, but the subject isn't up to standard. Yes its a harsh truth. I thought (and still think) she was very pretty but not portfolio-worthy.
This next girl, I thought had it all. 5'10, rail thin, beautiful face.. in fact she did have it all. But the photography and styling had alot to be desired for. This was the photog's first attempt at fashion and one of my younger sister's first attempts at modeling. This picture NEVER got me a job.
This was a Marilyn Monroe attempt. I wanted to show my diversity my mad impersonator skills. The model didn't fit the bill and what the heck was I thinking anyway? That I wanted to work back stage at an impersonator show? Uh, heck to the NO! Oh yea, I wanted to be Kevin Aucoin. He did stuff like this in his book. Note to self: Next time do it on a famous actress..
This picture never booked a gig either.

Putting together a portfolio that puts money in the bank was a HUGE 'Thorn in my side'.. I tested and tested with new photographers, old photographers, wanna be photographers til I thought my husband would divorce me for working painful long hours for FREE! One thing they fail to teach you in makeup school is how to successfully market yourself. Instead they release all these poor souls with giant boxes of makeup out into the field and say "Go, go make lots of money with all that overpriced crap in your shiny new box." The never tell them they will be testing (working for free) for the rest of their careers and that shots like these that you will actually get paid for will be few and far between. Unless your among the 4% of makeup artists who are actually working with celebs, famous photographers and on big budget films on a regular basis (and who have almost no life outside of their jobs I might add, this career and a family make a tough mix). Then your portfolio will be filled to the rim with shots like these.
$Money shots$. These two images get me tons of work to this day. A national ad campaign that was printed in Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ and actress Sienna Miller shot by famous photographer Brigitte Lacombe. FYI.. a makeup artist only gets paid $150 for working on the cover of Vogue. In all reality, any makeup artist would do it for FREE.
I always seize the opportunity to send these images to new and prospective clients. But my repeat clients (mainly photographers) need to see "new stuff" they want to see that I'm still on my game, that I can achieve the latest and greatest. As I am further into my career working for free just doesn't sound like fun. Actually I pay to work, for tests. It costs me nanny $, gas $, lunch $ and supply $. Now I am super picky when it comes to putting a project together. The model must be perfect, the photographer must be one I know and trust and there MUST be a stylist involved. So naturally, everyone good is always busy, including myself and it rarely happens. But when it happens and all the elements come together.... BAM its like magic and so very worth it!

So here's the deal! I NEED TO TEST! I need new images, I need new marketing material! I need this thorn in my side to blossom once again and give me roses. If I'm to take 2010 by storm I need to make this happen!
My number one $MONEY$ test shot, this shot has booked many a gig..

post signatureThorn In My Side, by the Eurythmics


satakieli said...

Love it!

My sister studies photography and she is always looking for models and makeup artists to help build her portfolio. Have you thought about doing an exchange with a local art college? Some photography students are really amazing too.

good luck! Stopping by from SITS

♥ Katinka said...

Stopping by from SITS and wishing you a HAPPY Monday!!! :)

mel said...

that last shot is gorgeous!!
i understand how tough it can be to be freelancing in a creative industry.. keep at it, your work is great!

Mommakin said...

Those are all beautiful. Go figure - my favorite is the first one - the one that didn't get you any jobs...

Good luck, you do such beautiful work!!!

blueviolet said...

I can't tell what they're looking for because they all seem pretty to me!

Anonymous said...

I love reading these posts. You know I think you are just about the coolest person I've ever met.

Here's wishing the thorn in your side will blossom once again and give you roses. Lots and lots of roses!

Marcie said...

I think you do a fantastic job. I appreciate your honesty about your work. On the outside it can seem so glamerous, but truthfully it sounds like a lot of hard work.

AND, I love your music. I love how clever you are with the title/theme-but I also just like your selections!

sana said...

stopping in from sits. they're all great and the last is my fav.

i did a product shoot 2 weeks ago and luckily the model was a natural. i think satakieli has a good idea with working with a local art college. you'd be surprised.

good luck!


itsybitsyknitsy said...

Stopping by from SITS. That is a beautiful make up job on everyone. I do agree that makeup cant be taught - the schools really go into the gorey zombie makeup and stuff too - that can be taught lol
Happy monday!

MiMi said...

But how do you get new stuff? I mean, do you have to follow what's in fashion and styles of make up and do those?? I just find what works for my face (i hope) and go with it forever. But, I'm guessing you don't necessarily want that...?I need education here. :)

Melissa B. said...

My daughter is a college photo major. She's going to start working with models soon. In fact, you can see some of her work at MOO

Janiece said...

Dear Mary.
Your work is amazing.
I finish at the mirror and just want to cry anymore...I look like death warmed over.
I would love to see what to do to make a full figured lady with droopy cheeks sell a portfolio...
yea I know wishfull thinking, But I think you could pull it off!
Love ya

Drama queens mum (Kimberly) said...

I love make up & photography, but do both for fun. Well I do my make up. I've never done someone elses.

Jeanette said...

You are so right about the artist thing. You are an artist extraordinaire and it shows! Good luck getting that thorn out of your side. I'm sure what ever you do will be amazing!

T. Anne said...

Love those last three shots! Looks like you are on the right path.
BTW, bought some make up forever lip liner and love it. It never moves.

Jessica B said...

Holy smokes...

kys said...

You're so talented! They are all beautiful. The last 3 are my favs.

I can't believe you only get $150 for a Vogue cover.