6 Things I look for in when hiring make-up artist that are not what you think!

Okay… i know what you will be thinking… A make-up artists  job is to apply make-up… Surely it is mainly technical skill that makes a great make-up artist, along with  a good amount of knowledge about makeup products and about skincare.   In my experience as a photographer working with MUAs since 2000 there is a lot more to it that makes one makeup artist and really stand out from the rest of  their competition for me.

So for what is is worth, here are six attributes that I think are what it takes to be an amazing make-up artist how important they are and why he or she can make or break a shoot.



MakeUp artist -Niki Marie Etheridge of Once Upon a Beauty

1 Calming influence. The make up artist sets the tone on the set. When things are about to go wrong the make-up artist is often the one who is aware of the  bigger picture… how the models may or the photographer may be feeling.  They are usually the first to arrive on set so their attitude often sets the tone for the day. In my experience my make-up artists have had to deal with crying brides,  a nervous model’s stage fright, counselling fickle clients, and even in one case phoning for an ambulance after a member of the team had a funny turn!  You never know what is might happen next.


2 An Amazing creative flair and a passion for fashion.  My favourite make-up artists have always had amazing colour sense… the ability to match or to clash colours in an exciting way as well as to chose the right look that will really set off the set, models skin tones and the wardrobe.  I look for a team that is aware of the newest up and coming fashions… and is also aware of the history of fashion history and has a good knowledge of different periods.


3 Positive attitude and a Willingness to try new things. I, like most photographers get crazy ideas  sometimes and want to work with weird materials… Like honey or seaweed or flower petals or electrical tape or whatever weird wonderful texture has caught my magpies eye.  The last thing a photographer wants is the MUA to put them off their idea even if it might be totally crazy! We know it might not work, but it there is that small chance it might be amazing, so instead of saying that will never work, it is great to meet a MUA who says “What have we really got to lose? ”

4 Professionalism.   No matter how early the shoot is starting. No matter if everything is running way behind schedule and they get asked to do an impossibly quick transformation or worse to change a look they just spent hours perfecting.  No matter what is going on in their own personal life. No matter if they really don’t like the look they are being asked to create or they don’t particularly get on with their model the stylist or any other member of the team.  Yes this is work, but the mood of the make-up artist can really affect the whole shoot a great MUA needs to develop ways of dealing with stressful situations and extremely difficult characters.



6> Ideas! I love it when I meet a MUA who is overflowing with ideas they just cant wait to try! Even established MUA’s should still have a passion for what they do, and the drive to create. I love working with MUA’s who are still keen to be experimental and have some vision of their own.  It can make shooting so much  more fun when you are all throwing your ideas into the pot.

So to all the MUA’s out there I hope you are appreciated. There is soooo much more to your job than they teach you in  in college. It isn’t the products in your kit that set you apart from the rest. It is your fast paced mind, social skills as well as your creativity that will make you a joy to work with and a totally indispensable part of the team.

A special thank you to those I have worked with and have inspired me so much through my career over all these years!

Follow my work on




And My website: http://www.susangracehinman.co.uk


I’m always looking for new make-up artists by the way!


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