So you want to enter the world of Asian bridal make-up but don’t know where to start? After 17 years of experience I’ve compiled a brief guide on how to get started in this growing competitive field.
The first step is to get professionally trained, not all top make-up artists have had formal training, it is possible to learn on the job by assisting a make-up artist for a number of years and then start working but doing a course is going to fast track you with all the basic skills. Start by looking at the quality of the work that the school or artists are displaying, this will show you what the quality of the training is going to be. Look for a good finish to the make-up such as soft blended edges to the eye shadows and sharp defined lips, neat lashes that fit into the make-up and balance the face rather than dominate the look. I personally believe that a make-up artist should have a minimum of ten years experience in their field before they begin to teach so research the school or artists work and experience beforehand. Next I would look at the qualification that you will get with your certificate, anyone can print a certificate but you need a recognised qualification or a certificate that is accredited with an insurance body so you will be able to get work insurance. If you have a beauty therapy qualification then this will cover you for make-up but if you don’t then your next priority should be the qualification or accreditation on your certificate. Accreditation on your certificate will also count towards getting you involved in professional make-up schemes that will give you discounts on products (you need to prove that you are a professional make-up artist), companies such as MAC and Inlgot offer these. The cost of a course varies and is going to depend on what you can afford to pay, usually private courses will cost more, the higher the profile of the make-up artist the more they will usually charge. The length of the course will depend on your personal schedule, longer course can sometimes be more repetition and practice along with , in my opinion, time wasted being the model when swapping over and working on each other. This is why whenI teach I prefer to make it as time efficient as possible and have you work directly onto a model so no time is wasted being a model for someone else for half the course. As time can be difficult for some to take off from their work schedule I give you the option of breaking the course down so you can learn one skill at at time such as make-up can be done in two days followed by one day of specific Asian bridal techniques at another time, so you can keep adding short course skills as and when you are ready. If you are going to take Asian bridal make-up as a career then you are going to find it a lot easier to get work if you are also good at hair so its kind of essential to do both hair and make-up and be able to finish off the service with some basic dressing skills. If you really don’t enjoy both skills or are just not naturally good at both then it’s worth considering teaming up with someone who can do the things that you can’t, this way you can still offer the full package.
Once you have done your training you must keep practising, practice on yourself, on family, on friends, on different age groups and skin colours so you can start to get experience on how make-up works on different faces. Take pictures of your make-up and start to look for the flaws such as symmetry with the eyes and lips and how well the eye shadow is blended so you can improve and work on getting better each time. You will be surprised at what you have missed when you look back on a photo afterwards. Start to collect all the good photos in a portfolio, don’t worry about the pictures not being professional as most brides these days want to see the raw images without all the retouching that comes with the professional shoots.
The next step is to try to attract clients, start advertising and marketing yourself, there are so many options these days and many of them can be free or at low cost, social media is probably the best free way to start spreading the word and showcase your talent. If you have a budget then a website is worth the investment as this is your shop window to the world, choose only your best images to represent yourself, it’s better to have a few really strong images than loads of OK images, too many weak images will pull down the strong ones so work on keeping the content strong.
Your charges are going to depend on the strength of your skills and your experience so don’t jump in with what your competitors are charging straight away, start off reasonable to get the bookings coming in, this way you can start to grow through word of mouth which is where you will find most of your clients will eventually come from.
Never stop learning, keep adding skills to your belt by keeping up to date with products and doing workshops and master classes, keep improving your portfolio pictures and don’t become too attached to photos that you cant take out and replace with something better. Sites such as model mayhem are good for networking with models and photographers, here you can post or respond to casting calls to do test shoots (where everyone works for free for a portfolio picture). This can start you off with some professional pictures which will start to improve the quality of your work and raise your profile.
Its fast becoming a competitive business so you need to work on making your work really stand out from the crowd, make sure you keep your reputation good by being punctual (even on a 4am start!) and keep calm and patient when dealing with clients as pleasing people can sometimes be the hardest job. It can take many years to establish yourself in this industry so stay patient and keep passionate as time will always prevail.