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Prepping for Wedding Season: 8 Things Bridal Makeup Artists Need to Know

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makeup artist applying lip gloss on a bride

June is the month of weddings, and it’s less than a month away. Whether you’ve been doing wedding makeup for years, or you’re looking forward to your first wedding season as a professional makeup artist, there are a few things you should know when preparing for wedding season.

For seasoned makeup artists, some of these tips might simply be reminders of things you already knows. Others might surprise you. Either way, we hope you’re able to find something helpful that will take your business to the next level.

  1. Have a Contingency Plan

    It goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: a professional always keeps their appointments and arrives on time. However, what if there is an unplanned emergency or you fall ill? Those things can’t be helped, but you can keep your cred as a professional makeup artist by creating a contingency plan.

    Whether you work out an arrangement with another professional makeup artist in your network or you have a highly trained assistant you can call on for back-up, making sure you’re covered during the busy wedding season will help build trust with your brides and future clients.

  1. Make Sure You Have a Contract

    A contract protects both the brides who hire you and yourself. When done well, it outlines the expectations you have for the bride (so she doesn’t spring “just one more bridesmaid” on you), as well as what she can expect from you so there are no disappointments caused by miscommunications.

    Additionally, almost all vendors who provide wedding services require a contract. It’s simply best practice for you to do so as well.

  1. Purchase Makeup Artist Insurance

    Because you’re working with people’s skin and applying products, it’s really important that you protect yourself with liability insurance. By making sure your business is covered with general, professional, and product liability, you’re presenting yourself as a true professional makeup artist.

    That’s because, instead of relying on chance, you recognize that a lot of things could happen (allergic reactions, stains from spilled pigment, etc.) and you value your business and services enough to protect them from liability. In the eyes of your client’s, it shows that you consider this to be your business—not just a hobby or something you do on the side.

  1. Be Ready with Recommendations

    Bridal sites all over the internet each have their own lists of questions brides should ask their makeup artists before hiring them. One of the most consistent questions they recommend is to ask you if you have any recommendations. If you fumble for a response or take too long gathering contact information for your recommendations, you’ll seem unorganized at best and shady or untrustworthy at worst. Having a go-to shortlist of recommendations, however, will make you seem put together and professional. It should only take an hour or two at most to create your list and contact the clients for their permission to be used as recommendations, but it could potentially have a big, positive impact on your business.

  1. Ask about the Bride’s Regular Routine

    When it comes to bridal makeup, a one-style fits all application just won’t work. Each time you do a bride’s makeup, it should be tailored to that bride’s personal style so she can still look and feel like herself. Additionally, it should also match her vision for her wedding. Bright eyeshadow, for example, is better suited to a nightclub/dance party theme than a traditional black-tie affair.

    When you’re doing someone’s makeup, it’s important to remember that it’s about them and their preferences, not just showing off the latest or most complicated technique. And even though you might think a bride looks best one way, what’s really important is how she thinks she looks best. Your ability to be flexible to her preferred level of makeup is a sign of versatility that will set you apart from less experienced makeup artists.

  1. Prepare to Work with the Photographer

    In order to make the bride looks her best in the wedding day photos, you should not only be willing to work with her photographer, but you should actually encourage it. Because makeup often translates differently on film, you’ll want to make sure you and the photographer are on the same page in regards to lighting, tone, and color. This will prevent your bride from looking washed out, pale, or cartoonish on film, even if she looks great and perfectly natural in real life.

  1. Think about Lighting

    This tip is closely related to the previous one, but deserves a spot of it’s own because not only should the bride look great on camera, but she should also look fantastic in person. People are going to be looking at her all day, so you’ll want to find out about her venue(s) and what the lighting will look like so you have tailor her makeup to have the most impact.

    Additionally, when first applying the bride’s makeup, you might want to consider bringing your own portable light source. There is no guarantee that your bride’s hotel room (or other get-ready space) will have good lighting or access to natural light. Poor or fluorescent lighting can really alter how a bride’s makeup looks, so bringing your own lighting source guarantees the best look every time.

  1. Know How to Explain Your Prices

    When first meeting with a prospective bridal client, make sure you’re ready to defend (and/or explain) your quoted price. Many brides do not come prepared with a good idea of how much professional makeup services cost. It helps if you can clearly explain why your estimate is a specific amount.

    Educating her about insurance costs, product replacement, travel, etc. demonstrates that you are a professional who is trying to make a living. Many brides simply don’t understand all of the work that goes into applying makeup, so a quick explanation reinforces the value of your services, helping to position you in her mind as a professional.

For those of you who have been providing professional bridal makeup services for years, what other tips and tricks have you found to help you be successful? Please share them in the comments below!

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