Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magazine Submissions

So a lot of newer MUAs wonder how does one get their work into those elusive magazine. Anyone who wants to work in Fashion know that tear sheets (magazine editorials for those not in the biz) are an important part to any makeup artists' portfolio. It shows that you are actively working in the Fashion Industry, you work w/ good teams and it helps when you want to approach agencies for representation. The problem is how does one get themselves into these cool mags? It often feels like a catch 22 situation - you need the magazine credits to get established but you have to be established to get on the teams that are submitting to the magazines.

I'll be honest I really lucked into my first editorials. Anyone who has read my blog from the start knows that my very good friend and photographer Todd Anthony Tyler took a huge chance on me. He was visiting his family outside Toronto (he lives in Shanghai) and he was planning on shooting a few editorials while in Canada. He put an ad out on Craigslist of all things looking for a makeup artist and I was 6 mths out of school and I responded. We totally clicked and shot 2 editorials together while he was visiting which led to me going to Shanghai to live/work and the rest is history. That of course is not how it usually ends up working for most MUAs.

I'm not going to lie it usually takes a long time like 1 to 2 yrs before an MUA can get some tear sheets for their book. That means a lot of testing w/ photographers, building your portfolio till it's good enough to work w/ better photographers, testing w/ those photographers and hopefully after it's all said and done you'll get the chance to work w/ a great team that can get something published.

The positive thing is that there are a lot more opportunities to get things published nowadays. W/ all the online magazines popping up all the time there are a lot of great opportunities for newer photographers, MUAs, stylists to get their name out there. The problem is sifting through all the crap to find places that are actually worth submitting to. Not all tears are created equal! IF you want to do Fashion and you see an ad for a photographer looking for a free makeup artist for a submission shoot and the theme is Glamour or Alternative then that shoot even if it is published might be kind of useless to you b/c guess what...it can't really go in your FASHION portfolio...remember that when accepting submission shoots. I would only do Glamour or Alternative editorials if they were paid b/c otherwise they are of no use to me...remember how I mentioned before to only accept TF* shoots that will help your book...the same kind of holds true for this too.

Also a lot of times nowadays newbie/amateur photographers throw out the statement doing a shoot for submission in hopes that they can attract some good talent to the shoot. It takes a whole team to create a beautiful shoot and the shoot is only as good as your weakest link. Just b/c a photographer says they are going to submit the shoot doesn't mean it's going to be picked up by anyone so be aware of that before you possibly waste your day. Make sure you know the facts before you agree to shoot just like you would for any creative you were planning on getting involved with.

Do you like the photographers work and does it compare to things you see in magazines? If you don't like his/her work or it's not good it probably won't get picked up no matter how well you do the makeup/hair that day. If it's a fashion shoot is there a stylist involved and what kind of connections do they have to good brands? I can't stress this enough no matter how great your makeup looks and how great the photography looks if it's styled using only H&M clothes it has a very small chance of getting picked up. A good stylist w/ good clothing connections is an invaluable asset to any shoot...I've been on several shoots where the styling either made or blew the shoot. I give all the props in the world to the stylists out there b/c their job is hard and good stylists are GOLD! Also remember the model needs to be an agency model or at the very least agency standard so make sure the photographer you're working w/ works w/ agency models. Btw the photographer is the one responsible for submitting the story. We can suggest magazines for them to submit to but they hold the rights to the pics so it's up to them to do the submitting.

So now let's pretend that you have all those elements together you have to remember that Fashion editorials are shot usually several mths in advance. Therefore you have to make sure the shoot is for the appropriate season. Don't shoot a Summer story in May...all the Summer submission deadlines have already passed. You should be shooting Fall at that point. If you're working w/ a good photographer they should know this but still it sometimes needs reminding b/c sometimes photographers can get very busy w/ things and retouching can get put on the back burner and then unfortunately if you aren't shooting it far enough in advance the due date for submissions will pass and the story will have a hard time finding a home :( (I've had this happen on a few occasions and it's always sad esp. when the shoot is good but just too late).

Also a very important thing for newbie MUAs to remember - Editorial pays little to nil! You will not get rich doing editorial work! The money is in commercial work! You know those ads you see on the subway, magazines, tv...that's where the real money comes from! But editorials let us get our creative juices flowing and they help build our books so that we can get those lucrative commercial contracts :)

I should also mention there are different ways to get your work in magazines. You can do a shoot w/ a team and the photographer can submit it to various magazines hoping that one will pick it up...usually you will do this type of shoot for free. Or you may be part of a team that has been commissioned to do an editorial for a magazine. When you're starting out you'll probably have more luck w/ the submission then the commission side of things. Truthfully, most of my commissioned (paid) work for magazines came from when I was living in Shanghai. I think to date I've only been paid once by a North American magazine...but I'm still pretty new to the game ;) But that being said doing those so called "free" editorials can lead to a lot of PAID work b/c they really help build your portfolio...so like I've said before you aren't really working for free then!

A way that I make editorials a little more lucrative for myself is I make sure to credit cosmetic companies whenever possible. If it's a Beauty story it's easy b/c the story will require you to give a full credit list for each look and you can later show that editorial to cosmetic companies who will hopefully give you gratis (free product) for the credit mention. I also frequently mention cosmetic companies I use in Fashion editorials ie. Makeup & Hair Jessica Jean Myers using Yaby Cosmetics (I use a lot of Yaby Cosmetics lol). So if the editorial is strong and in a decent publication you can get some gratis from generous makeup companies which helps replenish your kit therefore saving you money...so technically it's like getting paid for an editorial ;)

Hope that answers some questions about magazine submissions :) For fun I've included a few images from MY first published editorial...man I've come a long way in 2.5 yrs! Good thing there were a lot of hats b/c my hair skills have DEFINITELY improved an insane amount lol! I won't even go into how long it actually took me to do a clean red lip b/c my hands were shaking lol. That being said I still think it's a pretty cool shoot..the location was amazing! This was shot Oct 07 I think.
Photographer Todd Anthony Tyler
Model Victoria (Elmer Olsen)
Makeup & Hair Jessica Jean Myers

4 comments:

vivien said...

Wah, Jessica, I feel so thankful by reading your blog here, you are helping new MUA extremly a LLLLLLLLLLLot!!!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!

DSK said...

The photos look amazing!

Deborah said...

Jessica, thank you so much for this article. It cleared up A LOT of things that I wasn't sure about and made me aware of how much I need to work if I want to get my work submitted in any magazine. My situation is a little harder cause I live so far away from the hub of most things. London is 300miles away and most of the jobs are down there really. So I guess its deciding what to do and how well I wanna do it.
Fantastic article. You're a newbie's dream!

Farah said...

Great information Jessica. Everything happens for a reason right ;)