Landing a gig as a bridal makeup artist can be rather tough. From high expectations from clients to the stress of how long applying makeup can take (not to mention trying to find out how much you should charge for your services), landing your first client may seem like an impossible feat.
However, landing your first bridal makeup client is not as difficult as it may seem. As long as you follow these 10 helpful tips, you are sure to be able to grab yourself a client in no time!
10 Tips to Help you land your first Bridal Makeup Client
1. Have a Portfolio of your Makeup Ready to Show.
If you’ve done professional makeup work in the past, especially for other formal occasions (high school proms, sweet sixteen parties, etc.), then gather up photos from all your prior works of artistry as something to show to potential clients.
If you have not done professional makeup work in the past or don’t have photos of your prior clientele, don’t worry! Gather some friends you can apply makeup on and have a photoshoot!
Just make sure that your portfolio shows your range of expertise, from classy and timeless to cool and trendy. Different clients will want different styles, so it’s beneficial to show your range of expertise.
2. Network, Network, Network Like There’s No Tomorrow!
Many makeup artists will say that one of the best ways to advertise yourself is by networking. If you have friends or family who are already in the bridal industry, tell them that you’re looking to become a bridal makeup artist.
If you don’t know anyone in the bridal industry, that’s okay! Look around the internet and see if there are any industry networking sites or a bridal show near you, and socialize with people there.
Why is networking so important, one may ask? Well, the proper connections can land you bridal makeup gigs with all sorts of people. And besides, it is always fun to meet new people.
3. Offer Free Consultations Before the Big Choice!
Like free trials before subscriptions, most potential clients will want to meet with you first and discuss their dream wedding-day look. This is super important, as this will be when you and your client see whether or not you mesh well together.
During the consultation, be sure to show the potential client what you offer, the steps of bridal makeup, and how much you charge (more on the latter later), and be open-minded to any feedback or criticisms they may have. Remember, it’s the CLIENT’S big day, not yours!
At a consultation, you should learn things like:
- any allergies your potential client might have
- the number of people you’ll be doing makeup for
- the date and location of the wedding
(Side note: If your potential client wants you to do makeup for other members of the bridal party, be sure to learn exactly what the bride wants for them. You might want to ask the bride to bring them to the consultation as well so everyone is on the same page).
4. Have an Active Social Media Presence.
Marketing through social media is more important than ever these days, and it’s free to create professional accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and so on to advertise your services!
Social media is also a great place to upload your portfolio, making it accessible to tons of potential clients. Just be sure to use appropriate hashtags in your posts (#bridalmakeup and #makeupartist, for example) in order to reach your intended clientele.
Make sure, however, that you keep an aura of professionalism, but approachability, in your social media. Don’t use your business accounts like your personal ones, as that can turn people off from your services.
5. Be Approachable
The best way to meet new people is by seeming approachable in the first place. Nobody wants to spend time with someone who looks and/or sounds arrogant, closed-off, or grumpy.
Always treat any potential client with kindness and respect, and actively listen to any questions or concerns they might have. Soon to be brides are already going through a lot of stress as is, so you should be able to be a relaxing, friendly presence to them.
Just remember to respect the employee-client boundaries here. Friendliness is always encouraged, but they are your client, not your friends or family members.
6. Have a Face Chart (or Several) Ready!
A face chart is one of the most important things to have during a consultation with a potential bridal makeup client. What is it? Well:
A face chart is, in its most basic sense, a “blueprint” for your potential client’s wedding day look, and is easy to print from the internet. These are super important as they can list everything needed in the final look, from foundation shade to finishing powder, as well as makeup techniques you used and any allergies the potential client has.
If you need help on how to use a makeup chart, here’s a good resource that’ll teach you the ins and outs of it. Be sure to have enough for everyone if you’re doing makeup for multiple people.
7. Know the Current Trends in Bridal Makeup
Often times, potential bridal makeup clients will have an idea of how they want to look on their big day, but other times, they might be unsure and want to see their options.
Whether or not they know what they want their wedding makeup to look like, browse places like Pinterest or wedding sites like Brides to get a general idea of what makeup looks are “trending” in the bridal industry these days.
This is another good use for the aforementioned face charts. If you don’t have the time to try these looks on friends or family, you can use your intended products to “paint” the finished look on the paper.
(To see the some trends and different makeup looks, check out that article.)
8. Get Testimonials From Your Friends
If you’ve done your friends’ makeup before for other special occasions, now is the time to ask them to vouch for you and your makeup skills. Even a small amount of positive reviews will help you stand out from other beginning bridal makeup artists!
If you’ve had clients for other occasions in the past, reach out to them and ask if they can vouch for you too. The more testimonials, the better!
9. Know the Maximum Distance You’re Willing to Travel
Sometimes, people will have their weddings far away from where they live, and nothing’s more awkward than scoring a client before realizing the wedding’s going to be a three-hour drive from your place!
The solution? Ask any potential client to be upfront about the location of their wedding venue and find out how long it’ll take you to get there.
10. Have the Right Materials
The biggest way to stand out from the competition is to have good quality makeup in your kit, whether it has a fair amount of drugstore brands or has nothing but professional-quality products.
The best makeup artist kits have a dynamic range for every look you need to make for a bride and anyone else in her party. Use brands you trust to last for several hours and have alternatives in case of any allergies.
And never, NEVER, use the same makeup tools on yourself. Sharing makeup can cause nasty infections.
How much should I charge a client for bridal makeup?
The amount you should charge a client for bridal makeup depends on a number of factors:
- How far is the wedding venue from your residence? For starting bridal makeup artists, it’s not recommended that you travel beyond 50 miles from your residence without charging a transportation fee (usually 50 cents per extra mile).
- Who else is getting their makeup done, aside from the bride? You may be doing makeup for other people in the bridal party, such as bridesmaids and flower girls. As a beginner, it’s recommended you charge $50 per bridesmaid and $25 per flower girl.
- Do you want to charge for the consultation? Some bridal makeup artists offer free consultations, but this isn’t a universal truth. Whether or not you charge for the consultation is up to you, but if you choose to, it shouldn’t be more expensive than $50.
- What extra makeup does the bride want? If the bride wants a tattoo/skin mark covered, faux lashes, or touch-ups throughout the day, it’s a good idea to charge them for extra time and resources. As a beginner, the recommended charges are $10 per person for cover ups and lashes and $40 per hour retained for touch ups.
The average price to charge as a beginner bridal makeup artist is $70, so start from there and add on to it depending on the bride’s request. Remember to be upfront about your pricing to avoid any problems later!
How long should I tell the client to expect the bridal makeup session to take?
The length of the bridal makeup session will also depend on a couple of factors:
- How many people are getting their makeup done? If you’ll be doing makeup for bridesmaids and flower girls too, factor that into the makeup session time. On average, it’ll take 35 minutes per bridesmaid, but much less for flower girls (think around 20 minutes maximum).
- Will you be applying any extra makeup on the wedding party? Cover ups and faux lashes take time to apply! Normally, it’ll take as much time as you took to add primer and foundation to the bride to apply cover ups, and a little shorter for eyelash application per person.
On average, it will take about 60 to 90 minutes to apply makeup on the bride alone without any extras. This includes the base (foundation, etc.), eye makeup, lip makeup, and setting spray.
If you worry that you’ll lose track of time while applying makeup, work with the bride to find the best time to apply makeup on her, and set up time slots to apply makeup to anyone in the bridal party who needs it as well, especially if the bridal party is also getting their hair professionally done or taking photos before the ceremony.
And there you have it, 10 tips to help you land your first bridal makeup client, with a bit more advice along the way.
If you’re a complete beginner you can also take bridal makeup courses online! But wether you are a beginner or a professional who’s working to expand their customer base, I hope this will help you land your first bridal makeup client, and many more to follow along the way.