That’s tricky because you know your everyday makeup probably isn’t going to cut it for a long day (and possibly night) of endless photos, talking, laughing, dancing — and let’s be real — a fair amount of crying, too.
Since wedding photos were meant to last a lifetime and the majority of those photos will show your face, this is no time to mess around!
As a makeup artist who’s done weddings all over the world from all over the U.S. to Italy, I definitely have some tips to share on how to find a great makeup artist and how to avoid the common pitfalls to avoid that most brides wish they knew ahead of time.
How to hire the right wedding makeup artist
It goes without saying that, if you’re looking to hire, you’ll be on the Internet looking at wedding sites, doing Google searches, checking out reviews and then sending inquiry emails. That’s a good start, but there’s more to it because some artists can convince you they are better than they are with some little tricks you may not be aware of.
A lot of brides ask, “What kind of makeup do you use?” Most artists use a wide variety of brands in their kit, so it’s a bit of a tough question to really base a decision on.
If eco, natural, organic, safe, and non-toxic makeup are important to you, then you need to search specifically for artists who specialize in that area. A standard artist is really not going to be equipped to work within that highly specialized area.
Next, make sure the artist’s resume and portfolio demonstrate that he/she is highly skilled in a variety of photographic situations.
Be Cautious: If a lot of the photos have a plastic or fake look to the skin, that means they’ve been overly airbrushed (AKA Photoshopped) and you can’t rely on that image to give you an accurate idea of how the makeup really looked. This is a sign that the artist is probably not that good.
Pick up the phone
Once you’ve selected a few artists who seem to fit your parameters and before you even get to the trial, I highly suggest picking up the phone and ask questions voice-to-voice. Notice how you feel about their responses and you’ll get an immediate sense if that artist is right for you.
Make sure the artist is comfortable working with your complexion, and will tailor the makeup application to the expected lighting, weather, and even theme of your wedding.
You might ask, “What does the theme of my wedding have to do with my makeup?” It matters a lot actually! If you are doing a quaint, garden wedding and your face looks like you are about to perform in a Las Vegas show it will look oddly out of place and not flow with the overall aesthetic.
Be Cautious: If the artist isn’t timely on responding to your call, is hard to get a hold of, or you feel like their responses are too vague. These are all signals of being unprofessional. The last thing you need is a flaky artist.
You would do well to have a trial with each artist you are considering and make sure you love how you look before making a decision. You’ll pretty much know as soon as you’re done if you are going to like the work of the artist or not. Also it will give you a chance to see how the products they use work for their face or cause a bad reaction.
Be Cautious: If you express a desire to change something and the artist isn’t willing to accommodate your desire, or brushes you off saying, “don’t worry about it” and offers no explanation as to why you shouldn’t. Sometimes artists do have valid reasons for doing something that may not seem right to you at first, but they can explain it to you and work with you on adjusting it so you do feel comfortable.
If you have a feeling in your gut that says you won’t be happy, but try to convince yourself it’s good enough — stop!
Get it in writing
Make sure you get the rate, along with all the other pertinent details of the service they are providing and when they are expected to work in writing. I offer all of my clients a very thorough contract that protects both me and them. That way no matter how many emails are exchanged, there is one document to refer to that says exactly what the expectations are.
All that trying along with the actual hiring can get expensive, so you may wish to do your makeup yourself. However unless you are really skilled with your makeup and can trust that you won’t have a shaky hand the day of, it’s best to hire out. Consider that your photos will almost all involve your face, so it’s not a frivolous expense, it’s an investment. This is a special day, and it’s a wonderful feeling to have a professional to make you look gorgeous and give you a moment of peace on a hectic day.
I hope all these tips will save you some headaches and will help you to find the perfect makeup artist for your big day!
If you are interested in my services for your wedding, you can contact me directly for details.
Places I mainly serve in-person include: New York, Los Angeles, Oregon, Italy.
For brides who want to do their own makeup and would like to know the best natural, eco products to use and how to use them, I also provide virtual consultations.
Image of red haired bride by Toki Cavener.