Things Needed

  • ['Your own professional makeup kit', 'your own portfolio or website', 'networking skills']

Being a freelance makeup artist isn't easy.

This is meant to be a basic guide for what you need to get started and how to make money. Good luck!

Build Your Portfolio

Find a professional photographer who you can work with on a regular basis--even if it's for free. If they are shooting quality work, your work will look better. Polaroids and digital snapshots will not work when you have to show your book or website to potential clients.

Only work with quality models. If you want to nothing but high fashion, then you should find high-fashion models to work with. If you want to do commercial work, then you should find commercial models to work with. If you want to bridal makeup, then you should find brides to model for you. Just because your best friend down the street is beautiful does not mean that she will represent the type of image you need for your portfolio.

Make sure your images are presented professionally. You could spend some money on a website, get a leather-bound portfolio or, if you are on a budget, create a web gallery. Just make sure it looks clean and professional.

Have Your Own Makeup Kit

Unless you plan on working at department stores forever, you going to have to invest in your kit. No one will have a makeup kit waiting for you when you walk into a photo shoot.

Be prepared. You will need foundations, concealers, eye shadows and blushers in every color. At many photo shoots, you'll need to tools to cover up a tattoo or birthmark. You need to have everything with you at all times.

Keep it clean and stay organized. Your makeup kit represents you as a makeup artist. If people see you have dirty brushes and missing color palettes, your career could be threatened. Your reputation is what is going to get more work.

Network, Network, Network

Check Craigslist, talk to artist reps, talk to photographers, talk to producers, make friends with modeling agents and go to industry parties. The more friends you have in your line of work, the better connected you'll be.

Follow up with people. When you update your portfolio, send out an email to all of your contacts. If someone gives you a card and tells you about a potential gig, call them the next day. Be aggressive.

Make friends with other makeup artists. I don't know how many times I've gotten work from an overbooked friend, and vice versa. Many people think of other makeup artist as competition, but they have been big help to me.