How to Prepare for Your Portrait Session | Find Makeup Artists and Hairstylists

Happy Wednesday friends! If you’ve been following my blog for the past two weeks, you’ve gotten a few tips on choosing the perfect location for your portrait session. And this week I’m dishing out tips on how to find makeup artists and hairstylists for your photography needs!

After choosing a session location, Hair and makeup is another piece of the portrait planning puzzle that will make for stunning photos. Working with professional hair and makeup for your session ensures that your skin is flawless and that your eyes really pop in every photo! And that extra pop truly makes your portraits stand out; plus there is so much less stress for you on the day of your session.  You get to take a little extra time to relax and be pampered prior to having your photos taken.

mother holds baby daughter in light and airy portrait photos

Even if you don’t normally wear makeup or wear very little, having a  professional artist really makes a difference in the overall quality of your photos. When you feel beautiful and glamorous with your hair done up and your makeup complimenting your look, you have one less thing to worry about and you put that confidence to work in front of my camera!

But how do you go about finding professional hair and makeup artists for your portrait session?! Do you visit a makeup counter, get constultation online thanks to The Lauren Ashtyn Collection website, or do you head over to a salon or does the artist come to your location? In today’s blog post, I hope to help you answer some of the questions you may have!

mother holding her toddler daughters in white dresses for family photo

5 Tips for Finding a Makeup Artist and Hairstylist

  1. Take a look at their portfolio online and narrow it down to your favorite 2-3 artists. I usually search hashtags on Instagram, because artists tend to update their photos in real time and you can see their professional clients and unedited behind the scenes of their recent work. Give it a try by using #yourareamakeupartist or #hairstylistyourarea. For example, you can do a hashtag search for #phillymakeupartist. Also, The Knot and WeddingWire have great online databases for finding hair and makeup artists! Although these databases are geared towards brides looking to hire professionals for their wedding day, hair and makeup artists create looks for portrait session clients too! Search the Knot or WeddingWire websites based on your city/town to view available artist portfolios.
  2. Choose an artist that travels! Many hair and makeup artists will travel to provide services on-location or you can meet them at their studio to have your makeup applied. I shy away from advising clients to visit a beauty makeup counter or department store chain, because many of the artists are new at their craft. Although some beauty store artists and budget hair chain stylists are really talented, you are really taking a chance and hoping you get paired with a more senior artist. Also, depending on the time of day the location can be very busy with other customers and your artist may be interrupted from time to time; so that they may service others. You don’t want these interruptions to make you late and frazzled for your portrait session!
  3. Interview your final choice. Once you find a makeup artist and/or hair stylist that you like, interview them and see if you vibe with their personality. The images you see online and in their social media, may not match with their real life persona.  It’s important to ask questions and find out all about the artist you want to book, how they work, what’s included in their service and their style.
  4. Ask your photographer. Talk with your photographer after booking your portrait session!  As photographers, we work with hair and makeup artists for a variety of shoots, so we have an extensive network of professionals whose work we can recommend based on your shoot needs.
  5. Know what you want for your makeup look. Do you prefer a natural look or do you prefer a killer contour? If you know what you like, you can better communicate with your artist on how you want to look in your photos. If you’re in search of some inspiration, utilize Pinterest to make a board of your favorite looks. You can share the board with your artist to give them a visual idea of what you would like for your session. Also, sharing your outfit choices with your artist can help inspire your final look for hair and makeup.

close up beauty poses of mother and daughter pictures

Best of luck finding your favorite hair and makeup professionals for your next portrait session! Next week, I’ll be sharing tips on how to find ‘What to Wear’ for your portrait session and I’ll be sharing an Outfit Guide from one of my favorite Philly personal stylists.

Catch up on last week’s post here:

Photo Location Ideas

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meet ann


Hello & welcome to the ABP blog! I’m a Philadelphia based portrait photographer creating beautiful, light-filled images for families looking to create lasting memories and women creatives excited to grow their busineses with branded photos. On the blog,  I’ll share my most recent sessions, travels,  photo tips and more. So grab an iced coffee and . hang out a while!

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