Considering the climate we’re in, of insta-beauty and ‘MUAs’ this is a very valid question because there is so much competition out there and, as a result, it is hard to make your talent stand out above the rest.
One way of doing this is by specialising. If you specialise in a technique, race, part of the face on your client, it is far easier to get your business or name off the ground because you’ll become known for being an expert in that one thing, rather than just being a general artist. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be able to do makeup on all skin types, brow types, lip types, or be able to create different looks – you need to learn it all - but specialising can help you get your name out quicker.
As a makeup artist you should be able to do makeup on all types of people, skin types and races. But if you make it your business to specialise in specific groups: like students, cultural groups or ethnic groups, then you may get more business simply because these groups tend to be niche. People talk to each other and will recommend each other. And if a group is very tight knit, as cultural and ethnic groups often are, they will ensure that your name gets passed around. So if you specialise in Arab or bridal makeup for example, and the clients like you, they will talk about you and you will get a following.
Working in a salon is similar to working in a store or working for a specific group of people. You get clients that talk to each other about your work and in turn you get more clients. The difference being that it's easier than freelance because you have the salon as your base. So you have hair clientele as well. In cases like this it is worth being able to do hair so that you are a beauty artist rather than just a makeup artist which will then widen your appeal and your reach.
A lot of people will specialise in a certain technique, because for most makeup artists there is one technique that they aren’t THAT great with and there is one that they are EXCELLENT at. If you advertise the fact that your specialty is a certain technique, people are more likely to flock to you because you look unique and an expert in your field. Promote your speciality, whether it be cut crease, marrying colours or contouring and people will come to you for that expert touch, especially if you catch on to what is trending. Cut creases have become increasingly popular, but are also difficult, so if you manage to master that then promote it in all of your portfolio pictures and people will come to you because they feel like you're completely the right person to do their look.
Dramatic/theatrical make up:
Doing everyday looks for the everyday people is good. But specialising in dramatic makeup is a good way of creating the specific image of your brand that will set you apart from other makeup artists and get you more attention. It is also a way of getting you booked for more than simply make-overs but events and productions as well.
Fashion show Makeup:
Working with fashion is a slightly different type of makeup artistry all together. Where working in salons or with specific groups is about enhancing people's looks and theatrical makeup is about transforming people, fashion, though a little like theatrical make-up,is about interpretation. Makeup for a fashion show is about working with the clothes and explaining what the entire fashion line, or outfit, is about through the makeup, rather than doing makeup to make the model look good. It’s about being able to interpret what the designer is trying to get across by the clothes that they have created and working with that feel. So where the overall outfit or line might have a grungy look, as an artist you would need to create a look which brings out the grunge rather than a look that makes the model’s face look pretty amidst the grunge.
Regardless of what you specialise in, it is important that it is something that you enjoy. Specialism only comes with practice and passion. If you don’t enjoy that area of makeup, you won’t have a passion for it, which means you’re less likely to practice it, promote it and get a good business from it. Specialise in what is you and you will do well.
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