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Your Guide to Working with Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists

Have you considered having a makeup artist and hairstylist on your professional team? 

Doesn’t that just sound impressively chic?  I remember thinking it did when I first got the idea, and feeling very intimidated at the idea of making it happen.

I wanted to do everything I could to make the experience that my clients enjoyed with Leah Remillet Photography stand out and I thought that being able to offer the services of a makeup artists would provide one more way for me to do just that!  Now here is the fabulous news, it’s actually incredibly easy to make it happen and I’m going to share with you the do’s and don’ts that I’ve learned over the years!

DO a Google search for makeup artists in your area and compile a list of 3 to 5 artist/stylists that you’re interested in working with!

DON’T go for Artists/Stylist that are in retail locations and won’t travel. You want small business owners (like you) who are willing to travel to either your studio or your client’s home.

DO plan out some questions you’d like to ask such as what do you charge, how’s your availability usually and do you offer makeup and hair? (My current Artist does both!)

DON’T forget that you’re going to need to pass the cost onto your clients so it shouldn’t be more than your own Portrait Session Fee! (Ideally it should be 25% or less and definitely no more than half your Session Fee)

DO call all of the artists/stylists on your list. Find out who sounds friendly, customer service oriented and willing to offer a special price for your clients. (Remember you’re planning to recommend them to all of your clients, that’s big!)

DON’T work with anyone who treats you inferior in anyway! They will ultimately be a representation of your business (you referred them) and you want to feel confident that your clients will be treated like the V.I.P.’s that they are!

DO ask for a trial run before you start referring your clients to them. Set an appointment for the artist to do your makeup/hair so you can be confident you’ve made a good decision.

DON’T miss this opportunity to jump in front of the camera and update your own self-portrait after the trial run (after all, you’re look’n all done-up & foxy!)

DO think outside the box! Makeup isn’t just for your Seniors and Boudoir Sessions. Lots of Mommy’s need a little extra TLC to give them that confidence boost they need to get in front of your lens. (My mamas who choose to be professionally styled are always super grateful they did it!)

DON’T forget to mention to your clients that you have a Professional Makeup Artist available to them for an additional charge during the scheduling call.

DO offer to give digital files for your stylists/artist to use on their website, with your watermark of course!

DON’T try to charge them for the files. You’re building a relationship and it’s FREE marketing for you!

DO remember that offering the services of a professional makeup artist and hairstylist is just one more way you can demonstrate the level of service, care and professionalism that your business model stands for as a Thriving Photographer!

I hope this has been helpful!!  If you have any tips you’d like to share or burning questions you really need answered, leave a comment below! 



  1. Kim Larsen says:

    Now if only our ONLY licensed makeup artist in the entire town hadn’t moved away 6 months ago… I would love to offer this service, especially for my seniors, but there are no MUAs within 30 miles. Any suggestions on how to get MUAs from the “big city” to be willing to drive 30-45 minutes to my tiny town?

    • Hey Kim!!! So great to see your name pop up!

      So this is a good question! I would suggest looking for a just starting out MA. My very first one was a mama who was just getting going so she was happy to drive, happy to trade and happy to be getting some great stuff to build her own portfolio. If all the MA’s are in the city – that means competition in steap for the new gals. Why not help her break into your market area (that’s how I would present it too). Also I know that some department stores with Makeup Artists allow them to do free lance when not on the clock so if you have a Macy’s or something… You might try that.

  2. Alison says:

    Thank you Leah!! I found my current MUA in a moment of desperation and I am over the moon happy I did! She has become an integral part of what I offer and fits perfectly with my brand. My clients adore her, her work is gorgeous and she has become a dear friend quickly. It has been a big asset to my business as well! Don’t underestimate the power of facebook- I put out a post asking if anyone knew people. I got back a lot of suggestions, some better than others, but it was all information I wouldn’t have found otherwise!

    • Great tip… Facebook is a great place to turn! I’ve gone to Facebook friends for all kinds of help, it’s pretty awesome that we have so much to share and available at our fingertips (literally) to receive – all thanks to social media. 🙂

  3. Jessica Rooks says:

    Hi Leah!
    I was wondering how you set this up when you do on location family portraits. Do they still come to your studio or does the MUA go to their house before hand? I’m trying to figure out how to make this work without a studio.

    Also, do you offer this service as a standard or is it an option for your clients? Does anyone tip the MUA?

    Thanks! This is a great idea and I would love to consider finding someone I can trust!

    • Hi jessica!! 🙂 This is where knowing and trusting your MUA really helps! I will contact my ma and have them coordinate with the client – so i step out once the clients say, “yes” and I know that the MA has availability. P.S. this is a good reason to have a backup MUA as well. SO I accept the money and pay the mua but then allow the mua to do the coordinating from there, which usually ends up at the clients home.

  4. Patty says:

    Hi Leah,

    I have a question about adding MUA’s and Hair. Do you get any type of compensation for bringing these pros to work with you on your assignments? It is a service for the client and it is very convenient, but technically you are providing these pros with the opportunity.

    Would love your advice on this.

    Thank you,


    • Nope. I’m a big believer in the fact that ALL of our time is precious and valuable. My time is important to me just as much as the doctor or the toe truck driver. If they do it at n/c I’m extremely grateful that they were willing to take the time from their life to come (of course this will enrich their portfolios but I certainly didn’t pay anyone to let me practice way back when so that I could build mine – the service is the gift) and since I’m already being paid by my clients, I feel no need to receive payment from them.

      Also, I want to build a report with them. Have them eager to help me, be there for me and be excited for projects I’m thinking about.

  5. Danielle says:

    The benefits you receive are 1) saving time! Flawless makeup always saves me editing time! 2) Gorgeous images for my website, pinterest, and submissions to be featured.

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