Friday, May 28, 2010

Weddings - Makeup Artist Rules to Live By

I'm happy to announce my wedding business is progressing along very nicely now! I've actually booked 2 weddings this wk for June & July! What sucks is turning down weddings b/c you're already booked that date :( ...come on brides there aren't only 2 dates in the Summer to get married lol.

So I want to give a few tips to the Makeup Artists out there about weddings.


I know this sounds like basic knowledge but you don't know how many MUAs I see that post their prices on craigslist or their site and I wouldn't even leave my house for the price they are charging. Of course understand your area and what you can charge but if you're in TORONTO (like me) this is a major city...charge for it! I'm not quite sure if these MUAs are doing this as a hobby and have a husband at home to support them, live w/ their parents or if they've never actually figured out their costs and what they end up making per hr. Doing a bride's makeup or any of her bridesmaids for under $50/person is NOT acceptable...hell doing a bride for under $100 in my book isn't acceptable but I'll give some room I suppose (btw I'm taking just makeup here, no hair).

Remember when you undercut you're not just hurting yourself you're also hurting the business and all the other makeup artists out there! You'll never be able to raise your prices b/c you'll be known as a budget makeup artist and therefore you'll only attract budget brides. Plus remember you have to travel to the person's house or hotel or your rate needs to reflect this service. Your product costs money and needs to be refilled. You have do pay taxes right ;) You have to pay for your website and advertising. Plus all the time you spend not just doing makeup but cleaning brushes, emailing, networking etc. Weddings are WAY too much stress and trouble to be giving our services away...have a little respect for yourself and your profession!

2. Learn How to Do Bridal Hair

This will open up so many doors for you as a makeup artist if you can offer this service it means more $$$ which is always a good thing in my book lol! If you're hopeless at hair find a hair person to team up w/ and make a go of it together. Brides love anything that makes their lives easier b/c the planning of the wedding can be a very stressful time.

3. Know the Importance of a Trial AND Charge for It!

I see a lot of MUAs giving away trials for free. I don't agree w/ this (esp. when this same MUA is only charging $50/person...OMG). Time = Money and MY TIME is important! Why would I give away my time and skills for free when I could better spend that time making money on another makeup job. I get booked for photo shoots, music videos, print advertising, proms etc. I don't have time to GIVE away my talents when I could be making money for that time. I'm not opposed to charging a bit less for the trial but understand the trial is A LOT of work. Sometimes it can be more stressful then the actual wedding day b/c this is the chance for the bride to figure out exactly what she wants and to assure her that you can help create her vision...sometimes it takes a few alterations that day. Plus it takes a couple of hours...hours I can't book other work during! If a bride went to a salon to get her hair done would the hairdresser do that for FREE...I don't think so. If yes tell me the salon b/c I think I need a trial updo next time I have a night out ;)

4. The Trial is an Interview

So often we think of the trial as a way for the bride to decide if she wants to use our services. It's like an interview/audition of sorts. But you have to remember to look at it from the reverse point of view. Makeup Artist Liz Yu really got this concept into my head - YOU are also interviewing the BRIDE! YOU don't have to take that booking if you get a bad feeling at the trial b/c you think she'll probably be a bridezilla or more stress then she's worth! Truth is if you're good and do your networking you'll probably get another bride inquiring about that same date...someone who might not be worth the headache. This is why it's important to charge for a trial. It shows that you respect yourself, your time and your skills and it also let's you have the power to turn down a wedding if you don't want to take it b/c you don't think it will be a good fit. I'm not saying this will happen often or anything but it's good to be able to say no if you want to.

5. Avoid Bargainers

If the bride is trying to bargain your prices right at the beginning it's a warning sign of bad things to come. I'm not saying it's a guarantee but in my experience ppl that bargain and care more about the bottom line don't appreciate what you have to bring to the table and will NEVER be satisfied w/ your services b/c they don't respect your services in the beginning. These will be the ppl that email you constantly and complain about everything and want multiple trials (free of charge :S ). You want clients that respect your craft and the skills you bring to the table...remember we are ARTISTS!

6. Network, Network, Network!

Bridal business is just like any other makeup business it requires A LOT of networking. Build a good website. If you're starting out set up some mock bridal shoots w/ photographers so you have some nice pics for your website. Contact local wedding photographers and introduce yourself to them...lots of brides ask photographers about makeup/hair artists. Set up a links page on your site and link to vendors that are also willing to link to you. Get your website SEOed! Go on bridal forums and give your opinion or advice about things. Even network w/ other bridal makeup artists...they aren't the enemy or competition sometimes they can help you out! If they are booked they might refer you to the bride and likewise!

I know I've missed some things so let me know what you think is great advice for other Bridal Artists out there!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Natural Bride - Lindsay

On Sunday I had the pleasure of doing the Makeup & Hair for a wonderful bride named Lindsay. She was a total pleasure to work w/ and totally easy going. Exactly the kind of bride us makeup artists dream about. She's a simple bride w/ simple tastes and therefore her look followed suit. I kept her makeup and hair VERY clean and natural for her big day and basically just accentuated her beautiful features.

An important thing to remember...even though a bride might want to keep her look "natural" that doesn't mean that a professional makeup artist isn't beneficial b/c a professional MUA uses and understands products meant for photography therefore guaranteeing the bride the best pictures on her special day. Btw Lindsay got married on Toronto Island in an outdoor ceremony and I met her EARLY on Sunday downtown at her hotel.

We did a trial a few wks ago so the actual wedding day application was a breeze but that trial really did reinforce my idea that a trial is a VERY necessary part of the wedding process for EVERY bride. No one wants stress on their special day...and I don't want to be stressed out either lol. The trial w/ Lindsay helped out a lot b/c she wanted something super natural and even though I kept the colours very neutral at the trial we realized that she didn't want any shimmer on the eyes b/c she felt it was too much but she did like everything else including a bit of contouring/highlighting on the cheeks, soft blush, nude lip w/ peach gloss. On the day of I knew exactly how to create a look that she would love but that would still look polished and beautiful.

Here's a snapshot in the hotel room...can't wait to see some of the pics from the island b/c my camera really doesn't do her justice :)
Btw if you haven't already check out my NEW wedding website!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

1 Year

Believe it or not it's been a yr since I left Shanghai and came back to Toronto. Well technically, Friday was exactly a yr but I didn't have time to post that day. Sometimes in life you have moments of time where you just go - WTF and this year has definitely been one of those for me. I just don't know where the last year even went to be honest...a couple of mths yes but a whole year! Some moments it feels like my life in Shanghai was a million years ago and then others it feels like it was just last wk.

I'll be real I'm not completely happy w/ the progress I've made in a lot of things...including my career which is partially why I just keep going IT'S BEEN A YEAR!?! I hate when I feel like time has been wasted and I definitely feel there was some wasted time this year and I didn't do everything I could to push myself forward the way I want.

But you know what...I really feel I've turned a lot of things around these past couple of mths and I am making a strong effort to get where I want. I feel more at ease w/ things and how they are progressing and I actually feel I'm headed in the right direction now.

When I first came back it felt like it took forever to get the ball rolling on shoots w/ photographers and the planning was taking mths. But now I have two stories coming out in a mth or so and I have two other stories I'm waiting to be edited that I can't wait to share w/ you. My wedding website is finally up and running and I'm getting a good response from it already. My hair skills have really improved these past few mths and I'm really getting a lot more confident w/ it.

So if I learned one thing this past year it's that I need to stop looking to the past and dwelling on mistakes or missed opportunities. This year my goal is to look forward and to take and make all the opportunities I can.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I'm so excited to announce my Bridal Website is FINALLY up! I've been working on this thing for what seems like FOREVER! It's taken me awhile for a lot of reasons - I've been busy, my computer is sooo slow and well as I've mentioned before I'm a computer idiot lol. Considering all these things...esp. the computer idiot part I think it looks pretty good. It's simple and not as flashy as my Editorial Website but I did it all by myself and I'm pretty proud.

I'm really trying to focus on the Bridal business in Toronto this year and I've already got a couple of weddings if you're getting married and need an artist check me out!

For some reason the Testimonials section isn't loading yet but I'll get that kink figured out soon :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Voyeur's View

Last Thurs. I had the pleasure of seeing A LOT of hard work and planning finally come together. Photograher Dexter Quinto, Stylist Alexandra Loeb and myself have been discussing a High End Fashion Lingerie themed shoot for a couple of mths now. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I Don't Do Last Minute CREATIVES and I insist on working as a team to develop all the aspects of the creative so that we're all on the same page the day of the shoot and there are no surprises. Taking these measures ups the chances of a good creative worthy of submission by like a million percent!

Trust me if we wouldn't have done all this planning there could have been some serious miscommunication on ideas or styles. We originally were planning on a different location but once we changed locations we needed to change some of our ideas. We ended up using Alex's parent's house which was beyond GORGEOUS and the PERFECT location for what we were doing! Seriously Stunning!

Originally, Alex and I were thinking something a little more crazy w/ the hair and I wanted something darker w/ the makeup but then once I saw were Dexter was going w/ his style I knew it had to be changed or it just wouldn't mesh. This is where reference pics are so useful. Dexter originally used the word Romantic to describe something and when I heard that I groaned a bit b/c the last thing I felt like doing was another Romantic makeup look...b/c I've been doing that a lot lately...I wanted to get back to my edgy roots a bit more ;) But once I saw his pics I got what he meant by Romantic but it wasn't how I was taking Romantic. I could still do a bold makeup look...just not the dark edgy look I was originally going for. What I think we ended up creating was something that was Romantic but also Raw, Voyeuristic and Sexy at the same time. Our biggest inspiration was this lingerie shoot Steven Meisel had done w/ actress Eva Mendes for Vogue Italia...but don't worry I think we put our own stamp on it ;)

After we had all our ideas on the same page we then had to go about the daunting task of finding the PERFECT model for the shoot. Finding a lingerie fashion model isn't like finding a reg. editorial fashion model. She has to be sexy, curvy and even have some breasts (of course a pair of chicken cutlets can always help w/ this one ;) ). Whenever Dexter is looking for a model for a creative submission he makes up a very thorough outline to submit to the agencies so they know exactly what we are trying to achieve and what we are looking for. This really helps them send us the best suited girls and it shows them that we are taking this seriously. Dexter includes theme and lighting concepts, styling, makeup and hair all illustrated w/ pictures. By far Sutherland sent us the best girls for this shoot. Being the anal person I am I thoroughly looked through all the girls and immediately when I saw Bayan I knew she was PERFECT for the project. What was funny though is her comp card main pic was really not a great representation of her real style and beauty so originally Dexter and Alex passed over her. Once I mentioned her and they took a second look they both agreed that she was our girl!

And what a girl! Seriously, I cannot say enough about what a well spoken, professional, friendly and amazing model Bayan is. If she wasn't so friggin' sweet and good spirited I'd hate her b/c she's 5'11, gorgeous skin, beautiful features, legs for days and 22 in. WAIST (yes you read that right 22 in waist...and 35 in hips - CURVY)!! Oh and did I mention she can eat whatever she wants and lives off candy...bad for me to be around b/c I have little self control around the candy lol. Seriously, she's like she teaches herself to play piano just by watching YouTube videos lol!

The hair, makeup and nails look took almost 2 hrs that day so it's great that Bayan is such a great sport and great to work w/. For makeup I ended up doing a vintage winged liner (very big for Fall), big lash, bold eyebrow look. I also contoured/highlighted the cheekbones b/c anyone that knows me and my style knows I LOVE a good cheekbone...thankfully so does Bayan lol. Throughout the shoot I changed the lip according to the look - anything from nude to bright pink to deep burgundy. For Hair I wanted to go w/ a flat smooth top and then huge, billowy they day went out it morphed a bit to back combed, ratted bigness but it still worked. This was the first time I decided to do something more then just a typical paint job for the nails. I really wanted to challenge myself as a full artist - makeup, hair & nails. The night before I made false nails that we attached that day (Alex makes an amazing assistant ;) ). I painted the nails a beige colour and then I applied black lace over the polish and sealed it w/ clear polish and then trimmed it to the size of the nail. It looked really cool for the shoot but I'm going to be really - totally NOT practical for real life. The lace even w/ the sealer left the nails w/ texture therefore when you're doing a lacy, sheer lingerie shoot you have to be even more careful when changing...don't want to snag anything!

Alex really out did her self on the styling. She had this great connection to this high end lingerie store and pulled some amazing French lingerie. Plus the jewelery...OMG...she had it flown in from all over and probably had over $10 000 in accessories. Also Alex has one of the sickest shoe collections I know! She wears a size 10 which might suck for real life but is amazing as a stylist b/c guess what - the models can wear your shoes! The shoes were HOT - Manolo Blahnik, Mui Mui, YSL, Stella McCartney, Laboutin etc. See this is what I'm talking about when I say you need a stylist that has connections and can pull the REAL SHIT! This is how you build a story that is worth publication!
Here's where it was all laid out!

So after all of this elaborate planning we finally got to get down to business and shoot. This ended up being a really long 9:30-9:30 but Bayan was so professional and didn't complain once. I swear her energy and spirit was higher then mine at the end of the day. She could see where we were going w/ things and loved the direction so she was totally willing to stick it out and make it work and I thank her for that. Can't wait to see the finished results from this one!

Here's some behind the scenes pics from this amazing day! We ended up shooting an amazing 11 Looks that day...the norm is usually 6-8. How Dexter is going to pick is beyond me...esp. w/ so many amazing double pagers!

Me Doing My Thing
Doing An Even Winged Linger On Both Sides is Secretly My Weakness...Shh Don't Tell ;)
If you look closely you can see her nails a bit...I don't think we have any close ups on the behind the scenes pics
First Look
Don't Hate Me B/C I'm Beautiful
Tiny Waist!
Amazing Colour
We Ended Up Shooting This Look Somewhere Else
I'm Not a Lesbian...But I Think I Have a Bit of a Girl Crush ;)
By the Pool Earlier in the Day

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shipwrecked - Hot & Stranded

Last Weds. I got hooked up w/ an interesting gig through my stylist friend Alexandra Loeb. She got an email from a friend of a friend asking her if she would be a stylist on this shoot for a flooring company!?! Turns out they need a makeup/hair artist as well so she put my name forward we did a little rate negotiation and it was done. The shoot is done and finished and I have to be honest I'm still not completely sure what exactly these pics are going to be used for but it was an interesting concept and it was a paid gig so that's all that matters lol.

The photographer for this project was this really nice, young guy Alexander Browne. We were shooting at this gorgeous house. It was a bit weird shooting in the house though b/c it's completely empty and it's actually going to be demolished soon and the owners are going to build a new home. The house actually had a bunch of graffiti on the walls b/c the owners let their kids throw some crazy parties in the house since it's being demolished...nice parents!

So basically the concept was two hot models stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean searching for land. The raft was made out of some of the flooring from the flooring company the shoot was for and the water is going to be added in digitally afterward.

On my end of things it wasn't too hard - Hot club makeup - ie. smokey eye, big lashes, nude or bold lips and big sexy hair. The girls were dressed in a couple of different bathing suits and tattered white blouses.

The models were really great girls and w/ their 5 in heels they made me feel really really short lol. I don't have the pic but there's this one pic of Alex Loeb and I standing w/ the models (who are both 5'10/ 6'3 w/ heels) and just the angle of the pic we look like little people...literally we look like little people lol! Also I have to give major props to the models who were great sports when we soaked them down in water at the end of the shoot just to get some variety in the was very cold inside the house and I know I wouldn't have wanted to be them!

The shoot was a lot of fun and totally relaxed....great easy going team. Here's some behind the scenes pics from the shoot.
Me Reaching to Touch Up the Amazons lol!
Hot and Stranded
Group Shot of the Models & Crew at the End!
Btw Stay Tuned for my Behind the Scenes pic of the VERY VERY Hot Lingerie Shoot I did last wk w/ Dexter Quinto, Alexandra Loeb and the amazing Bayan (Sutherland)!