5 Questions To Ask and 5 Red Flags When Looking for a Hair and Makeup Artist

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about why I think offering hair and makeup to your clients is so important. But I know that actually implementing it as a service in your business can feel a little intimidating at first and come with some challenges. Most photographers don’t even know where to start with finding a hair and makeup artist to work with, much less what questions to ask, red flags to look for, and ultimately how to make sure it’s an experience your clients will love.

As you prepare to build your team, I highly recommend you hire the hair and makeup artist for yourself. Have them do your hair and makeup and have first-hand experience of what it’s like to be in their chair. Look for the things that matter to you: how they are dressed, how they talk to you, the questions they ask you, etc. These things are really important because ultimately you have a brand to uphold, and they need to carry themselves in a way that feels like it’s part of your business.

If you’re happy with your experience and feel as if your look matches your brand, then I recommend asking more questions that apply specifically to your business as a newborn and family photographer.

5 Questions to Ask Your Hair and Makeup Artist

1 – Covid Precautions and Certifications

Depending on the area you live in, this may or may not be high on your list. This is where knowing your clients (and local guidelines) is important. Find out what Covid precautions they are taking and if they have an additional certifications. Covid aside, ask about their cleanliness and process in between clients, particularly if you have back-to-back clients.

2 – Breastfeeding, Toddlers and New Moms

Chances are, Mom is going to have a toddler climbing on her or she may be breastfeeding her new baby. Is the artist comfortable with that and not only able to work around it, but still provide the same level of service?

3 – Client Happiness

How do you handle it if a client isn’t happy? Do they check in halfway? How do they handle that process when Mom is seeing herself for the first time? These are all questions to ask because we’re often working with pregnant and postpartum moms. This season is so beautiful, but it can also be really hard. We want them to feel as beautiful as we know they are.

4 – Diversity

Is the hair and makeup artist comfortable and able to provide the same level of service to moms of different ethnicities? Are they able to work with different skin tones, skin types, and hair types. These are very important questions to ask because you never want your client to be in a situation where the hair and makeup artist is “winging it” or doesn’t have the skillset needed.

5 – Rainout and Cancellation Policy

Depending on where you live, rainouts may or may not be something you deal with often. Here in Florida, it’s very common. It’s important to ask the hair and makeup artist their policy. How much notice do they need? Do they charge a reschedule or cancellation fee, and does it vary depending on the notice given? Ensuring you are on the same page when it comes to this will not only make for a good working relationship, but most importantly, ensure that your client is taken care of as well.

Tampa hair and makeup artists getting pregnant mom ready for maternity session with Brittany Elise Photography

I am so excited to be partnering with my primary hair and makeup team for part of this post! Deena and Megan with Blush Hair and Makeup have been such a blessing and serve my clients so well. We have created a process that allows us to work in unity to the entire experience is seamless. For studio sessions, they are here and waiting on Mom when she arrives. Then for outdoor sessions, they either go to the client’s home or the client can come to their studio space. From start to finish it takes about 45 minutes and that’s all time Mom gets to relax!

Deena and Megan are not only very talented, but they have years of experience and have been so kind to share 5 red flags that you should look out for when looking to add hair and makeup as a service for your clients.

5 Red Flags

1 – Messy, Disorganized and/or Dirty

If the artist has a messy or disorganized makeup kit, that should be a red flag. You need to be able to trust that they are properly cleaning their brushes and that they are using high-quality supplies. Given the current climate, there are specific certifications you can get that really ensures you are properly cleaning your brushes/supplies between clients.

2 – Lack of Knowledge

First and foremost, your artist needs to be knowledgable about proper skin care and how to prepare the client’s face for makeup. There are certain products that do not photograph well and any artist you’re working with needs to know that. Face makeup really needs to be camera-friendly.

Your hairstylist needs to not only be great with hair but know how to style your clients hair to flatter their face.

3 – Slow Response Time or Late

Chances are your schedule is busy and any delay in scheduling can throw off a number of things. Communicate your needs with your artist and know their response times. If they are slow to response, that may be a red flag for you.

Being late to sessions should also be another red flag. They should be there early and prepared for the client once they arrive.

4 – Unprofessional Appearance

If your artist is unprofessional in their clothing choice, that may be a red flag for you. Ultimately we are artists and can get creative with what we wear, but a session is not the time for inappropriate outfits or strapless tops.

5 – Inefficient

Inefficient use of their time or very slow with styling should be another red flag. We don’t want to be in a rush but the clients need to feel relaxed too, so finding that balance is important. Some artists can take an hour for a face and others in less than 15 minutes. You want something in between, and this will vary depending if it’s a solo hair and makeup artist doing both, or if you have both a makeup artist and hairstylist working together.

Tampa hair and makeup artists, Megan and Deena from Blush Hair and Makeup. Photo by Brittany Elise Photography.

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