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leethecam
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Make Up Artists


I had a shoot the other day where a makeup artist was employed - but not by me.

I've got a usual artist and she is great. Natural results and loses shine well, with nice smooth coverage - I often don't need to do much or any retouching - yey...!

The other day, this new MUA gave me somewhat different results. Imagine when someone turns up and they're a bit shiny, well multiply that by 2-3 and this is what I was getting.

There was no time for adjustment due to the schedule and to be honest, the method the MUA uses wouldn't have made much difference.

She proudly told me she NEVER uses powder, and only ever uses cream or liquid based makeup. She might take a little shine off with mineral based products, but she likes that "sheen."

I've never had this before. I usually ask for a slightly matte look and I can add a touch of highlight in retouch if I need it. My usual lady uses almost exclusively powder based products and my little makeup kit (8-9 different products), is entirely MAC powder which works well and quick.

I wasn't expecting a MUA on this shoot, (it was supposed to be a quick editorial / grip-and-grin type shoot), and the MUA was already half way through everyone when I arrived.

Turns out she is experienced and does a lot of photography work. (Says she is fully booked). But it wasn't working for me. I needed quite a bit of retouching to bring things back to a normal look. (I was using simple, 4ft white brolly / ambient light so the lighting was quite kind).

So my questions:

Have others experienced this issue with a MUA ?
Do you specify / choose a MUA based on the product they use ?
Do your regular MUAs use powder or cream based products ?

This MUA is a favourite of my client but it's going to make life difficult for future shoots. I'll aim to mention that I too have a favourite person that we should try, but given the artistic sensitivities of MUAs (or the ones I've met), how would you best persuade a different approach given that she is so adamant that powder is bad.

Grrr... Any help appreciated.

Oh, and any recommendations for good MUAs based in London (West) would be great.



May 14, 2017 at 01:30 PM
tcphoto
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Make Up Artists


It's been a while since I've shot fashion but every MUA I've ever worked with used powder. There are people that think they know everything and there are those that want to learn as much as possible, it sounds like she stopped learning a long time ago.


May 14, 2017 at 09:12 PM
leethecam
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Make Up Artists


She seems very popular and certainly believes strongly in the no-powder technique.

Maybe she was having an off day - I know I've had enough of them...

But for future I'm going to be very keen to find MUAs who can give me more of a matte look rather than a sheen look.

Weird thing is that the shine wasn't even close to peak white, it just sort of lost definition in some parts of the skin - like a cream filler... What I'm used to is a more consistent texture to the skin.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a little bit of shine - nothing wrong with a "dead" face, and sometimes I've needed to ask the MUA to blend the powder more firmly onto the skin for a smoother finish, but this effect was a new one to me.

It's funny, when I do mass headshot work for corporates, (100-150 in a day), I'll often do a quick touch up with my makeup. I carry about 8 types of MAC and a deft application to the T-zone and cheekbones, (I'm told I have a light touch). Sorts it every time and looks completely natural. Maybe there's a 2nd career waiting for me?



May 14, 2017 at 10:17 PM
c.d.embrey
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Make Up Artists


Learn to light a shiny person or object. It's not that difficult.

Things reflect the light you use. Use specular light, and you get specular highlights. Use mat light and you get mat highlights. A 4x4 foot panel of Clearprint 1000H tracing paper https://www.clearprintpaperco.com works well with shiny people. BTW this works with all colors of skin, because it's the first layer that is reflective.

!000H can be had in 4 foot wide roll. Just remove the front panel on your softbox, and tape a piece of the tracing paper on the front.

Give it a try. I've used it with people and product shots.







May 14, 2017 at 11:44 PM
Paul_K
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Make Up Artists


Being a make up artist myself (took it up after I had several shoots where -just like you unfortunately experienced - the 'appointed MUA artist messed up the job) for over 25 years ago now http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/beauty I think I can make a educated comment

The 'shiny' look simply is another variation of 'the look of the moment' which pretentious MUA's might present at/come with into a shoot

Any really professional MUA has several techniques 'in the bag' which he/she can/should be able to whip out when the client/the job demands to do so (just like a professional photographer is supposed to master several different techniques, and at times might sometimes have to forgo his favorite 'trick')

Sure, if the job specifies the MUA has all liberty to 'go crazy' can he/she go 'over the top 'and do what's 'hot and trending' at that moment
But a proper MUA should be capable to sense based on the concept, ideas of the photographer, stylist or editor, what kind of make up should be applied, rather then go 'artistic' despite

Based on your description of the job - a quick editorial / grip-and-grin type shoot, I get the impression not a 'fashion' editorial, but more a corporate headshot kind of thing - nothing 'fashionable' or 'trendy' was required or would have been relevant
Basically all needed might just have been a lightly applied, perhaps somewhat covering/semi transparant power foundation (in or near the proper skintone) to ease out possible skin blemishes (maybe not even applied on a male subject to avoid an overly 'made up' look) and avoid excessive shine, and maybe some additional powder for the same effect.

THe MUA was obviously on a personal 'look how interesting and trendy I am' trip and oblivious (intentionally or not) on what the job required.
In your place I would have kicked him/her out just for that reason (have done so in the past with shoots myself)

But then I'm probably in a far more comfortable position then you to do so, after I kick them out I just open my make up case and do the job myself without a sweat.
Due to eg lipsticks from Dior, eyeshadows from Chanel, lip- and eyefix from Elisabeth Arden, and especially for coloured skinned models, foundations from eg Iman, it has an estimated value equal to, and I fear to admit perhaps even more, that a top end high megapixel DSLR (think D810, 5DIV) but I think it's worth the investment as it allows me to get rid of troublesome 'arty-farty' types without the blink of an eye

A 'fashion' editorial (usually a female subject) might need a 'trendy' make up, but usually with those kind of shoots there then also is a stylist, maybe also a hairstylist and even a (fashion)editor around.

But for just a quick 'corporate' headshot (usually males, and if a female is the subject, they themselves then as a rule already have taken care of the make up/their 'look') you might even just take/bring some basic make up stuff (loose powder and a powder brush) along yourself in case a slight powdering down is needed, rather then risk falling victim to the whims and caprices of a make up 'Artiste'

So my advise, if it's not a (high end) fashion job, don't, especially with a simple headshot job, get intimidated by the MUA, state what you want, and don't be afraid to demand for adjustments
After all, if the client ends up all shiny/greasy looking in the picture, no one will remember the MUA bungled up the job, but everyone will blame the photographer (the photographers variation of 'success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan')



May 14, 2017 at 11:49 PM
 

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glort
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Make Up Artists



I have used a number of MUA's for my glam work all with varying degrees of failure except for one.
My wife.

My wife did some courses Many years ago as a young woman but I think it's the fact she sees the outcome that allows her to get it right every time. She always looks at the pica and evaluates what she has done to fine tune it. It seems to work.... Really well.

I have tried a bunch of others and they all over do it. You can't seem to tell them natural and subtle, they all want to make the girls look like they just came out of a Chinese house of ill repute. Screaming bright lipstick, over done eye shadow, Cheeks that glow like Lightbulbs..... and the more professional and experienced they insist they are before hand, the worse offenders they turn out to be.

The worst ones I have had have been the ones that work for makeup companies.
OMG! Some of them have been shocking and it's damn embarrassing when the client is wiping it off the minute they are out the door and re doing it themselves and you can see it's better when they do their own.

I once shot a client that wanted to bring her friend who was a MUA. The makeup was good, really nice, but everytime I stopped shooting and went to change the girls position or change film, she was in there Doing a " Touch up" that took at least 5 min even though we may have only been shooting 5 min since the last touch up. That drove me Nuts!

That has been another gripe I have had with MUA's 2.5 Hours is waaay too long! If you can't get it right in 60 Min, you are incompetent at your job far as I'm concerned. Don't matter how great they look, once the client starts feel tired and over it, no amount of makeup is going to make up for the lacking expressions or them just wanting it to be over.

I'm going to get back into the glams ( or hope to) shortly and finding a stylist is my biggest worry. I'm seriously thinking of trying to find someone that has not experience what so ever and get my wife to train them so all she knows is what my wife shows her. Worked for me when I had shooters working for me, maybe it's the approach now?
One things for sure, I'll be smarter this time and insist on them doing a trial. I'll have my wife there and she can tell them what to do to get the result we want.
Fed up with these creative types whom have some special way of doing things.... that's always a stuff up in my book.

The reactions my wife gets from the clients are initially mixed. She tells them it may not look right in the mirror because she does it for the photos. Some love it and others are not so sure till the see the pics then are very happy. Don't know how many Jobs my wife has been asked to do for other things Like wedding, Partys, nights out etc by clients because they liked what she did so much.

I don't know whether what she does is right or wrong and frankly could care less. Every client looks at the pics and comments on how much the like the makeup and how good they look. I like the way she does it because she uses restraint and does not make the people look like someone their other half wouldn't recognise or look 10 years younger. She uses makeup to enhance what's there, not re- create.

I have never had any problem with people being shiny and she is particular on what she uses brand wise but I know she uses multiple brands. She is fussy about the powders she uses and has multiple, that I know. I also know there is one cheap " House " brand she uses and loves. Whatever works and is allergy free I say.

Last year when we were away and I did a shoot, the girl asked at the end if my wife would do her makeup for the dinner she was going to the next night with her partner. My wife discussed it with her, said she would go get the whatever it was the next day and they settled on a price. Girl came back to the hotel in the afternoon, wife did the makeup and the girl insisted on giving her a $50 Tip and a bottle of wine for us to have that night for taking time out of our holiday for her.
Why aren't all clients like that?

My wife keeps telling me she wants to go and do some more courses on how to do things but I keep trying to deter her. I say what she does is perfect now, don't try to improve it and bugger it up. It's a family joke with her cooking. Tries something new and it's awesome. Next time round she tries to improve it and it turns out shi... not so good. We pay her out now and tell her, it's perfect, don't change it, don't try something else, don't get creative, forget what you saw on TV don't use something different, just do it the same damn way every single time.... :0)

A mate and I many years ago thought we would go and do a makeup course to get round the Problem of finding reliable and workable MUA's. It was a laughable failure. Seemed there were things Little girls seemed to know instinctively from watching their mothers or something we just didn't get. Might be too stupid as well but it seemed a very difficult thing for us and we went a few times then gave up well shamed. :0(



May 15, 2017 at 08:42 AM
leethecam
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Make Up Artists


Its funny isn't it - that so many makeup artists can be so bad.

I sometimes wish I could just apply a little powder myself and people would look great. But when the client books the MUA, (and their MUA is their good friend), then a little diplomacy is required.

My ex was a wiz with her makeup - but she hates me with an ex-vengance, so that's not an option,

Sometimes simple is best. Shine is rarely a photographers friend and I can pop a little highlight in post very easily. Shine is somewhat more difficult to lose.

Never mind, the retouched images look great. So everyone will of course think that's the work of the MUA and not me. Go figure...



May 15, 2017 at 10:50 AM
Paul_K
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Make Up Artists



She tells them it may not look right in the mirror because she does it for the photos.

Agree, a 'photo make up' very likely won't be close to a 'daily' make up (although as mentioned that doesnt mean it needs to be way overdone)
And rather then just applying make up, however beautiful it may look at first glance, a MUA needs also to know how the light will make/influence how the make up may look, and need to have an 'educated' idea how it will work out in the eventual image

I also know there is one cheap " House " brand she uses and loves. Whatever works and is allergy free I say.

I have a 'cheapo' selection in my case as well

My wife keeps telling me she wants to go and do some more courses on how to do things but I keep trying to deter her. I say what she does is perfect now, don't try to improve it and bugger it up.

Totally agree with not doing an additional course.
Most 'teachers' have no real life experience apart from giving lessons, often are ex students of the courses themselves
While most courses only try to sell you a mandatory make up set of their preferred/sponsored brand, not the best products around

Make up (just like photography) is a matter of endless practice, sure you need some kind of base, but you pick up the tricks best by working in the real world/under 'real world' conditions

A mate and I many years ago thought we would go and do a makeup course to get round the Problem of finding reliable and workable MUA's. It was a laughable failure. Seemed there were things Little girls seemed to know instinctively from watching their mothers or something we just didn't get. Might be too stupid as well but it seemed a very difficult thing for us and we went a few times then gave up well shamed.

Know the feeling, felt completely out of place too when I took up a make up course to get to know things way back when. Twenty girls and one guy, and it pretty fast showed I had no clue what I was doing
My original thought to follow the course was to better know the correct vocabulary in order to be able to communicate with a MUA

Which BTW is a real issue I run into regularly when I do a MUA job, many photographers try to sound 'in the loop' by dropping all kind of 'make up' terms they read, but if you then ask deeper, often say something completely different then what they want

I really learned about make up from an ex girlfriend, a model who also was a proficient MUA (being her boyfriend, I had to do plenty of 'free' test shoots, and thus was able to learn about make up from close by)
Being a dark skinned girl, she unfortunately experienced that many MUA's, especially in that era (late 80's), had (and nowadays still have) little or no experience with that kind of make up, nor the correct products ( a dark skin needs a different color undertone, just a brown/darker make up for a tanned white skin risks, and often ends up looking like/giving a mold like layer instead)

She's an (long time) ex girlfriend now, but the make up lessons have held up



May 15, 2017 at 10:50 AM
elkhornsun
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Make Up Artists


I would be honest and state that the work product is going to suffer with this person and then you need to decide with the client as how best to proceed. Are they happy with the shiny look or do they expect you to do additional touchup in post and will they compensate you for the additional time? Best to address this before the next project.


May 17, 2017 at 09:39 PM







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