Thursday, June 30, 2011


Sitting here tonight looking at all my new work and the magazines I have piled up on the desk I'm exhausted by the thought of organizing all of this.  So instead I decided to write this blog entry a very convenient distraction this blog can be :)  I share my pain with you in hopes you'll learn something and I get motivated to start working on the pile :)

 How many of you keep up with your portfolios?
When was the last time you added a photo to your book?
When was the last time you’ve even looked at it?
For me, truth be told it has been a very very long time, and really people that’s not good

I am what can be called a fortunate makeup artist.  I rarely have to show my book any longer.  When asked about my work I just say “oh you can go to my website.”  And while that has paid off well for me there are times when –as of late I’ve found myself in a massive bind.  Lately I have been asked to show my book and as unprepared as I am to show it I manage to get the job. I do have a spare one set aside but one must always tailor the book to the job—see below.   I don’t want you guys to be like me –cramming the night before to find photos and tears of your work only to be on the train or in a cab to your interview rearranging your photos in a frenzy—oy vey.  That’s is no way for a makeup artist to live.

So as I write this I am not only talking to you I am definitely talking to myself
  • You should always have a portfolio on hand to show your work
  • It must be Up-to-date—meaning the pictures themselves don’t look dated.  Unless you have work of Linda Evangelista Naomi and Cindy from days gone by trendy circa 1990’s can look old and weigh your book down   Trendy circa 2002 can take your book into a time warp as well.  Keep your book fresh and current.  A lot of times that can mean beauty photos (clean crisp beauty photos), nothing to overtly show the time we are in.  I refer to these as classics.  I have a lot of classics in my book thank God and find them to be very easy to mix in with my new current things as well

As you get work maintain your files—meaning don’t let the magazines or test pile up on your computer and on your desk. Print out the photos or pull the tears out of the magazine and file them away.  That way when you get the call they will be at hand—not stacked 4 feet high on your desk—(that was a note to self --ugh)
As for your book you should always be sure your acetate sleeves are clean and not scratched, or fingerprinted to death.  This just looks tacky—and presentation is very very important

And be sure the page liner—the page that goes between the acetate is fresh and clean as well—no dog-earred corners, or tears.  If any of this is the case in your books then replace them immediately

ACETATE are the plastic photo holders that are inside the portfolio—looks like giant sheet protectors for loose-leaf binders
Tearsheets should always be neatly trimmed on the ends where the magazine was ripped to remove the pic.  You can use a paper cutter for this. I myself use a large piece of wood a T-square and an exacto knife to keep my edges crisp and straight

TEARSHEETS and or TEARS-are the fabulous editorial magazines stories you will have.

Tears should not be worn, torn or faded.  If they are faded you can try going to Kinkos and making a copy of it and increasing the contrast on the color printer and hopefully your photo will come back to life

The best thing I had ever learned was to never put originals inside my portfolio. On the off chance they lose your book—they are not stocked with the only print you have.  I live in Staples on 42nd street—they have the best color copiers in the business.  Great for all the 8 ½ by 11 tears—not so great for larger like 9x12 (unless you shrink them to 8 ½ x 11)  I always go with a pile of magazines and do all my cutting and copying there when I can

Always put in copies never originals. File the originals away preferably in a dark area and in an archival binder
And if you can afford it I would also suggest printing out more then one copy of the photos you get from a test. (The best photos not ever single one of them)  You never know what can happen to the disk or hard drive for that matter. For me my system crashed and I was dying because I could not retrieve all of my photos.  I have my pictures on several different hard drives now—never relying on just one.   MAKE MORE THEN ONE COPY PEOPLE

Your book—portfolio should be in great condition as well
No funkiness with the binding or the covers—everything should be clean and neat
I think of it as my Sunday going to church coat when I was a kid—that sucker was always so fresh.

Portfolio basics and I mean basic—in-depth will be on an individual basis
You can go crazy with your books—I’ve seen some very very beautiful off the beaten path ones.  Different colors interiors, etc. Those cost big bucks.  Unless you have high quality photos to put inside I would suggest sticking with a Black leather or Wax Skin
Color should be BLACK
Standard Size-9x12 or 11x14
Acetate for me I like the top and bottom to be open
Page insert-I like black

To help you choose between leather or waxskin
Leather $245 Waxskin $130 (according to House of Portfolio NYC)
I have a few black waxskins myself and a few metal—stick with waxskin
Average cost for everything when it comes to your book should be approx $250-350--yes that's one book

IT’S IN THE BAG—oppps almost forgot
One other additional cost would be the actual bag you carry it in--NO it shouldn’t just go inside your own purse.  It should have its own carrying bag—one with your name and address/contact info on it. When you leave behind your book and you will have to at some point it should be left in its own carrying bag.  Cost for these can run $75 and up
If you find a sale it may be cheaper

There are endless options for your book—one of the most common ones, the inner pocket on the back inside cover.  I think this is important—some books don’t have this and yours should. It’s a place to store your comp cards and a few and I mean a few other pictures.  I have seen some artist try and cram over 20 pics in the back pocket.  A few pics in the pocket perhaps 3-5 and that’s it.  That pocket should really be reserved for your comp card and resume or bio

Your name should appear on the inside front cover of your book—that way they know whose book it is to return it. Be sure to print out a lovely label with your name address and number on it.  How will they be able to find you for that job.

How many photos in a book depends on where you are in your career and what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Seasoned artist can have 50 or more in a book.  Newbies 5-10 I think is good start—no more.  BTW that’s 5-10 of your best work--I’m talking about your very best work. Hair Makeup Styling Photography Model and retouching are on point—if there’s something wrong with the picture then don’t use it.  This is your book that will represent you.  

When showing your book no one wants to hear you give commentary about how you love the makeup but the photographer was whack, or how “yeah I hated the hair in this pic too”  Not a good impression—don’t you agree  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the above from various artists when critiquing books. The funny things is artist know when there's something wrong with the picture--most choose to either ignore it or try  and explain it away that doesn't work.  Its not about the quantity but about the quality.  As a newbie it takes time for you to build a dynamic team for the shots that will land you and agent.  

In this case put that sucker on your book—loud and proud.  The cost for custom logos definitely make the book go up in cost—something to think about.  THE NAME must be imprinted, embossed on the front cover of your book.  For the fancy it could be off-centered or on the binder, etc—again extra cost.

Books are to be tailored to what the job is you’re going for.  If it’s a beauty campaign for Neutrogena facial wash, don’t have just your avante-garde fuschia eye and purple lip makeup  Another example: there's a photographer you have wanted to shoot with he shoots clean natural beauty--don't load the book with funky makeup.  Remember you are trying to appeal to their estatics to choose you.  For all my corporate america people out there. Think of the Portfolio as your resume. In our world we tailored our resume to fit the position we were applying for by changing keys word, and positioning and highlighting our attributes

I hope this helps--gotta go and start organizing 


  1. I needed this so much...THANK YOU!

  2. I would love it if you would write an article on how to make a great makeup artist resume!

  3. I would love it if you would write an article on how to make a great makeup artist resume!


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