Makeup Artist Portfolio Tips

Makeup artist portfolio subjects aren't easy things to compile. A makeup artist's portfolio has to be able to connect with its market in ways even a professional graphic designer wouldn't need to consider. The fact that make up artists work in the most fickle, demanding and in some cases just plain tough industry of all, the fashion/beauty industry, makes their portfolios major efforts in themselves.

Matching your markets

Makeup artists have to work with a clientele and professional demands which are quite unlike almost any other profession. There's a very strong technical element to their work, as well as the aesthetics, and any number of styles and fashions which are current at any given moment. Clients, whether they're beauty salons, movie studios, fashion shows, or whatever, are all different, and all want different things. The result of this very diverse client base means that makeup artists have to create a very wide ranging portfolio, to cover all possibilities:

Beauty salons

These are the most straightforward portfolios, requiring the fundamental skills and clear evidence of technical skills. You don't have to be fancy, but you do have to be good. What's expected is usually the fashion magazine look, aka the "Maybelline" look. In other words, perfection or better. Your portfolio should contain good basic photos and simple notes about your materials.

Don'ts with beauty salons:

Avoid anything dramatic. Or anything which could scare off the salon from hiring you. Unless you're going for a job with a Goths R Us salon, basic suburban is the best approach.

Don't do your own photography. Unless you're very good indeed, get a professional studio to do it for you.


You may get a lot more creative freedom in theory in the fashion area, but believe it when you see it. This is the high pressure zone, and makeup artists are often the nearest thing handy during fashionable tantrums. Your portfolio should be up to the minute, looking like it's straight out of this week's top fashion magazine, well presented, and professionally photographed.

Don'ts with fashion:

Don't underestimate the clients. The fashion zone, bizarre as it and the people in it can be, also includes top level professionals who know more about makeup than most humans ever will. Be brilliant in your job application and interview, and produce a dazzling portfolio.

Don't forget to have your technical information available. You can get asked to do some very demanding work, and they'll want to see proof you can do that sort of work. You need a thorough familiarity with your materials.


In visual media, makeup artists have to get their subjects in front of cameras looking fantastic. (Cynical makeup artists sometimes refer to this as cement rendering, rather than makeup.) The fact is that you're working with lighting and production methods which can turn makeup into an ordeal for performers and makeup artists alike. You must, repeat must, have good solid portfolio materials proving your experience in these media.

Don'ts in media:

Do not, ever, show anyone a portfolio unless it's flawless. There are no second prizes.