Q&MUA – Different approaches to different projects

Today, I’m launching a new column of my blog, namely, Q&MUA a place where everyone can ask anything you would ever want to know from the makeup artist. I notice that there is still a lot of questions and question marks about what “we” makeup artist do, and how we help the team we work with come up with the best results, so here’s your chance! ask away!


So here goes with the first question from a Photographer!

The question for this blog: As a photographer I regularly notice that makeup looks are really exaggerated in person, really different than a normal day-to-day makeup. However, when editing and on camera, the makeup looks much more “normal”. Can you explain why a MUA does that, and if that is something that always happens?

First of thank you for that question! I love getting questions from fellow artistic folks!
Yes, Makeup for different occasions is very different on a case to case basis. When your wife walks out the door, she has a lot less (mostly) and different products to use, then when I cater to a client for a photoshoot.
For me there is a difference to whether I apply for photography, film, theater, weddings or catwalks. I’ll try to explain in a way everyone can read along.
For one, I have to keep into account if we are working with flash. Because that blasts so much light at a face that you lose a lot of definition and detail. I don’t know if you have ever just taken a random snapshot of your girlfriend/wife/daughter but when you take a picture with her just wearing her regular makeup, you will notice that her brows will be less visible, or if she’s blond, that they disappear. Same thing happens with lashes. If you just wear a regular coat of mascara then that will not hold up under flash lighting.
Another thing that happens while working with flash and photography is that with both mediums you lose depth in the face. So ones cheekbones are less to not visible anymore. That is why you contour and highlight. To bring the depth back in the face. And to get the image back to “normal”… the eye sees more than the lens, you lose definition, It is my job to paint that back.
I can’t use the same tricks for catwalk because that is under lights, but under continues lights, they don’t flash, so I have to be a little lighter handed. On the other side you have theater where you literally paint for the back row, meaning that the people on the back row should be able to see what you have on your face, which means that you have on A LOT of pronounced makeup on, and that reads on the front row too… but the whole room has to instantly see what your role is, so you paint for the back row.
With film you biggest job is next to making the makeup bulletproof (acting, running around, under sometimes heavy lights) it cannot sweat or rub off, that gives delays and cost money, so it should say put! Next to that it is important to cancel out the loss of definition by the camera and amping up the actors features.
By doing this for a couple of years you can basically anticipate what a certain set up requires, be it a flash setup or walking on set and once a picture or piece of film is made I can correct anything I might have missed.
So there you have it, there is actually a weird kinda science to my magic 😉
Hope this explained it all, if you or anyone else has a question, please feel free to ask trough the comments, reaction form or…anywhere!



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