6 Reasons to Hire a Professional HMUA for your Photoshoot

Why should I hire a professional hair and makeup artist?

This is a discussion I have with so many of my clients, that I thought it was time to finally write down my top 6 reasons for hiring a professional hair and makeup artist for your photo shoot. I totally understand the cost of hiring a photographer, buying your clothes (or wedding dress) and all the other expenses that come along with a photo shoot; but there are so many ways a good hair and makeup artist (or HMUA) can improve your results from our shoot. But before we dive in, I want to address the top reason I usually hear for why people don't want to hire a hair and makeup artist. 

"I want my makeup to look natural and I don't trust a hair and makeup artist to do it how I like it"

I'm a guy, but I totally get it, you know your face better than anyone and you know how you like your face to look. But there are a couple really important points to think about, that a hair and makeup artist can really help out with. At the end, we'll look at a few tips for how to get the most from your hair and makeup artist. 

HMUA: Carrie Purser

Reason #1 Confidence

Ok, let's be real for a moment, how you FEEL on your shoot probably the biggest determiner of how you'll like your images. If you're feeling cool, confident and sexy (or handsome for you guys out there) then we can see that in the images. Confidence is key. A good hair and makeup artist is going to make you look your absolute best, and when you look your best you'll feel your best. This is so huge. As we head out on your shoot I want you to be excited and ready for the killer shots we're going to make, and not having to stress about how you look is gonna make things rock. 
*side note: even for men, a light touch of makeup from a professional is going to really even out your skin tones. 


Reason #2: Stress

This point is really similar to reason number one, but it really needs it's own discussion. Getting ready for a shoot is stressful, you're spending a fair chunk of money, you've been planning for weeks or months and you're worried about your clothes, your hair, your makeup, the weather, the traffic, your kids, your acne, your smile, everything, I get it. Taking one or two things off your plate (for you women, a big thing or two) can reduce that stress level immensely. Stressing out over your shoot is one of the easiest ways to hurt your shoot. My photo shoots are designed to be fun and relaxing, and I don't want you worrying about anything. Take that hair and makeup stress and throw it at someone else. 

Reason #3: Editing

Alright, I'm a dang good editor. I'm not in the class of 'professional editor, makes all the monies from photoshop', but I'm decent. I've spent years working on getting better because let's face it, nobody's face is every completely free from acne and blemishes. But, a professional hair and makeup artist can do way more than I can to make you look naturally perfect. The thing with editing is that no matter how good you are, it's always a little obvious it's been retouched. It just is. If you want to look your best but you also want to look natural, then hire a hmua. Trust me, their blending and blemish reduction will be better than any photoshop that can be done. Also, you'll get way more images back from your shoot because I won't have to spend as long on each individual image, thus allowing more time to edit more images. 

Reason #4: Expertise

I've worked with a lot of hmua's in my time as a photographer, and some of them are truly experts. The ones I credited in the images are all trusted experts who know skin and skin care. They understand color theory, blending, how to hide blemishes, how to make your eyes pop naturally without making you think 'wow, that makeup though!'. If you want someone who can look at your skin and know how to best blend and smooth, then get a hair and makeup artist. Trust me on this, they're called professional for a reason. 

Reason #5 Vision

HMUA: Jessica Nelson
Pinterest. We all have it, love it or hate it. We all have that board that's like 'omg this bridal shot, I want that'. Well, if you bring those shots into your hair and makeup artist they can help with those dream shots and looks. That beautiful braid you love but have tried a thousand times and can't nail, well they do it all the time. That gorgeous blended contour or highlight that you have watched 30 YouTube tutorials for and can't get right, they can take that vision of yours and make it happen. I have worked with a few hmua who I can throw anything at and they can make it happen. That is cool, and that is totally worth having for your once in a lifetime shoot. 

Reason #6 Experience

The way your makeup reacts to a camera's digital sensor and the way that sensor renders color and makeup is different than how your eyes see it. Experienced hmua's know how this works, and they've learned how to make you look best on camera. If I add a light or a reflector to a shot, they know how that's going to affect your makeup and they've prepared for that. I find that a lot of new hair and makeup artist aren't as experienced with this and while their makeup will look amazing in real life, as soon as we shoot a photo of it, we have to make a few minor changes to make it work best on camera.


I think there are a number of great reasons to hire a hmua, and while I understand it may not be in the budget for everyone, a solid hair and makeup artists usually only costs around $100, which is going to give you a lot more from your shoot for only a bit more money. I definitely think whether you hire one or not, you should definitely consider the impact it can have on your shoot.


Tips for working with your HMUA 

    HMUA: Carrie Purser
  • Prepare a mood board or look list of images you love that you'd want to use as inspiration.
  • Communicate with your hmua about what exactly you want.
  • Relax and trust them that they'll know how to make you look your best.
  • Arrive on time so they have plenty of time to work with you and make any corrections you may want.
  • Start moisturizing your face and lips at least a few days before the shoot and exfoliate your face 24 hours before the shoot. 
  • Arrive with no makeup on and your hair clean and dry

If you've have any other tips or ideas for working with a hair and makeup artist, drop them in the comments below! 

Thanks, 
Mike Johnson

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