How I learned to do kick ass makeup

How I learned to do kick ass makeup

Clients are often surprised when they come to the studio that I am the one who does their hair and makeup and photographs them.   Then they get curious.  “HOW DID YOU LEARN THIS?”

I learned to do makeup the same way that I learned how to photograph.  I researched and studied as much as I could till I got it right.

It is the same way I had my makeup artists learn to do hair.  They were terrified, all three of them, because they thought they needed a hair degree to do it.   I just said that if they wanted the job they needed to do both hair and makeup and do them both well.  Here is a laptop Youtube these different styles and figure it out.  Here are my friends who are hair stylists shadow them.  Then come back and show me what you have learned.   All three of them went on to be amazing hairstylists.  Then they came back and taught me.  I would tell them how I wanted it to look and they would make it look that way and over time I picked up the tricks and when we had more than one client and if I wasn’t doing something else I would jump in an help.

When one of my personal projects would require crazier makeup or hair I would learn how to do it for the shoot.

My biggest confidence in my own skills came when the expert hairstylist who was supposed to do the weave for the Lady Godiva shoot got food poisoning the night before .  We had the stunt horse hired for the day, the makeup artist on board, the model coming…I had to sort it out. So I you tubed the harry heck out of weaving and extensions and what I couldn’t find I just made up.  The image ended up winning several international awards and I was the hair stylist as well as the photographer…whoo hooo.


Not bad eh 🙂

I learned to photograph slightly differently to that.  I shot like a mad woman, then studied online like crazy.  I never really got to shadow any photographers because I was working at the hospital and running  a farm while I was setting up the studio.  I developed my photography through practice and through books, going to print judging, through online courses, and learned complex digital painting as an apprentice at Weta Digital in the Textures Department.

But now back to the Makeup.

I set up the makeup bar with Amandine my first Makeup Artist.  Together we picked out the bare minimum that we needed to get rolling.  I had her show me bits as she was doing it and then when Amadine left for France and Renee started I learned even more from her.  I started doing makeup full time when my Renee got poached by her own family 😉  Her parents opened a business close to her daughters school so with a heavy heart she shifted from working at the studio to supporting her family closer to her home.   We were both sad because after three years of working side by side we had gotten to the point where we didn’t even need to finish sentences as most of our communication was subverbal from working hand in glove for so long.  So when she had to go I had a big choice to make.  Bring in someone new or carry on doing it by myself.   I gave myself a month to trial doing it by myself.


Instead of me walking up to a client who had spent the last hour and a half with Renee and saying “Hi I’m Mandi can you go stand over by that tree?” I now had spent an hour and a half getting to deeply know the loves and passions of my client.  I have heard their life story.  I have physically touched them and relaxed them and made them feel special, pampered, and seen.  They see how beautiful I have made them look.  I have teased out their inner beauty to the surface and they take one look at their reflection and they trust me completely.   The shooting is 100 times easier now.  The mask of unfamiliarity drops from their face and the real woman comes out and shines.  I can never go back.  Plus I LOVE IT just as much as the photography.  I didn’t think that was possible.  But it all achieves the same end.  Being a Mojo Artist.  I know that when I feel beautiful my Mojo is engaged.  I see it with the women in the studio to.   Lusciously delicious.

Mojo Makeover
Mojo Makeover

I am now going to be teaching makeup in the How to be Photogenic Course and I was nervous about taking it to this next level.  But I know all growth happens at the edge of your comfort zone so I have started with willing clients to record how I am doing their makeup on Periscope.   Periscope allows you to show video footage live on the internet it stays up for one day for viewings and then is taken down.  It is connected to Twitter.  So if you want to see some of the behind the scenes I will be recording those clients that don’t mind a bit of celebrity.  I can’t guarantee it will be every day as every client is different in their comfort with being seen but if you follow me on twitter and periscope you will get messages of when I am live and you can say hi and see what I am up to.

In the comments below let me know what you have pushed yourself to do and then were surprised how much you adored it?