What role do makeup artists and hair stylists come in for the benefit of the retoucher? Or to be more specific, how important are talented makeup artists and hair stylists to have on set over an amateur? To carry on forward, I will label them in one term, ‘artists’, for the sake of brevity.
Artists are the glue that holds the shoot together. They are essential to every shoot that transpires, from inception of an idea to the published print. Most of the photographer’s ideas are based around what makeup and hair the model will showcase, especially if it’s beauty. Now, the question isn’t if they are important, but how important they are, and how important are great ones in relation to mediocre ones. Are they worth the added costs?
In short, yes, and allow me to explain.
What makes it hard for the talented artists, especially the makeup artists, is that they are usually undercut by people proclaiming to be good at makeup, because they know how to apply it to themselves. Just because you apply makeup to your own face, doesn’t make you a talented artist, let’s get that out of the way! Same goes for hair. Secondly, most people can start working without the need to go to school for it. So that leaves us flooded with a mix of amateurs and professionals in a market where everything seems up for grabs these days.
The Trickle Down Effect
What this now boils down to is the affect it has on you and your team.
Let’s say you’re doing a shoot where the artists become necessary. The question becomes, is it worth spending the additional money on talented and reputable artists for your shoot (hair and makeup) over beginners who may do it for TFP?
The answer is YES.
From personal experience, clients approach me and ask me for a quote on a job. Upon looking at the files, one of the worst things I find are that they cheaped out on makeup and hair, and they came to me because they didn’t have the ability to fix tremendous flaws the artists should have spotted on set. Peeling eyelashes, bleeding lip lines, uneven lip lines, improper blending of the eyeshadow, terribly clumped eyelashes, overfilled in eyebrows, face tone not matching neck and body tones due to bad makeup, uneven eyeliner, and the list goes on forever. Let’s not even talk about avant-garde looks. Did I mention that hair is the most expensive thing to fix due to the sheer time invested in digital combing out each strand of hair, one by one? Yes, it’s that brutal.
And in the end, after all that time and money spent in fixing these issues, you’re back to where you would have started out with it you hired someone who got it right in the first place. In effect, you may even scrap some really fantastic shots that the model gave you because it wasn’t fixable. You’ve now wasted your own time, and cost (depreciation, cost of time, space, etc).
With cameras these days, every flaw will not only be seen, but magnified and showcased. And most of the time and money goes into fixing these flaws just to get back to where you started! So the cost incurred by the team becomes 10 fold of what it would cost to have hired great artists.
So yes, spend the extra money, the results will speak for itself, and they are truly worth the cost, it pays off for itself in post production if you have to do it yourself, or hand it off to your retoucher, he or she will love you for it! I know I do.
Instead of saving $300+ by going TFP, you will save a lot more in time, energy, and money afterwards. And not only will it pay off for itself, you will profit from it. Your portfolio will look fantastic which adds further to interested clients and opens up doors to better talent you can now work with. No one wants to work with someone who doesn’t have a strong team together, it makes everyone look bad.
I can’t vouch how much I appreciate talented makeup and hair artists as a retoucher, I always take note of their work. I have a list of 10 that I can think of right off the top of my head, but I do not want to start naming them in fear of leaving a couple behind. So if you’re reading this, give yourself a pat on the back, the industry recognizes your talents and appreciates it more than you know.
Let’s make this simple, here’s one formula to sum up everything I have said:
Do you remember your Algebra?