5 Ways to Book Your First Client as a Makeup Artist

After becoming a certified professional Makeup Artist, there are many paths that you can choose to begin to form your client base and secure yourself a spot in the industry. You received a great education, learned from the best, and have your makeup kit thoroughly prepared and ready to create. This is a selection of five expert tips to begin building a dedicated client network that will set you apart and have you shine like the star you are destined to become! 

  1. Determine your niche – decide what artistic direction and specialization you wish to go with your career

  2. Build your portfolio – organize and arrange for creative opportunities with other individuals with the same goals and vision to create a strong portfolio that showcases your talented work.

  3. Social media – create business profiles on all social platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more) to promote your work

  4. Donate your time for a good cause – it’s a win-win! Offer your services for a fundraiser or auction, you’re sure to bring in a new client base!

  5. Networking – perhaps the most important! Begin to let people know of your new business and connect with those who align with your brand and services (special event planners, other small business owners, etc!)


The most important thing as you begin to develop your own personal talents and signature aesthetic is to decide which type of direction you desire to take your makeup artistry and career in. Building this groundwork will also help direct you towards reaching out and connecting with your ideal client, and ultimately booking your first (of many!) jobs. 

These initial thoughts should ideally begin while you are still in school, develop your craft, and as something to keep in mind during each new learned technique and course. Looking back to your courses; what part of the makeup industry really provided you with excitement? Was there a time you just couldn’t wait to explore the topic in more depth and begin to create? 

Whether you envision yourself focusing on editorial/set makeup artistry, television/film talent, celebrity red carpet, and stage, a bridal/special occasion event artist, or as a makeup consultant specializing in bringing the best out in everyone – the opportunities are truly endless. Makeup is the art of making people look good, and everyone can benefit from your talents. 

  1. We recommend writing down a set of goals for your first year in business, including both achievable necessities and personal dreams (acknowledging, conquering, and celebrating each milestone is always important!) and where you think your talents are best utilized (this can cover multiple ranges!). Progress is the key to success, keep on moving in the right direction, your goals can adjust and shift as you encounter new clients and professional experiences. Use this as a guide to start exploring where you would like to build out your brand and become recognized as the “best” at what you do.

  2. Once you have figured out the direction of makeup artistry that fills you with excitement – practice, and begin to reach out and make yourself known to others! Find like-minded individuals who work in similar forms and start to make connections (this technique will be covered in more depth in the “Networking” tip!). Finding your spot in the industry and creating a plan of action to build upon will surely lead to finding and booking your first client.


Creating a presence where your work can be found and viewed consistently and immediately is of utmost importance! Not only for your client’s review but also for your own growth and development as a talented makeup artist.  

Having a strong and professional portfolio (both available online and in high-quality print for in-person consultations) is a necessity. Your work will be the first impression that anyone ever sees, so think of it as the key to putting your best foot forward and making the right first impression which reflects the brand image you want to portray. How do you begin to create the portfolio that represents your best self and highlights your unique talents? Choose your team of collaborators wisely (representing your individual strengths and desired direction as we covered above!) and work hard to create beautiful images with the collaborative team(s) that inspire you. 

  1. Ask your advisors and mentors for recommendations, building relationships with the educators that have inspired your journey is a great key to making the right decisions that align with your ultimate vision. Share with them your goals and have specifics in mind of what you are looking to achieve, and it is almost certain they will be able to help guide you in the right direction (and even possibly provide a recommendation!) while learning from their own individual experiences.

  2. Make yourself known and register your work! There are a multitude of online platforms that allow you to connect with collaborators for creative work (this is usually ‘TFP’ (Time For Print) – in which you receive images of your work from the photographer as compensation for your time, but is the best way to begin to establish a strong set of imagery that will impress and sell yourself for your paid clients and beyond (you also never know who you will meet on set!).

  3. One of the most well-known platforms to register your work on is ‘Model Mayhem’. ‘Model Mayhem’ is an international platform (which you can search by opportunities within your location) and allows you to connect with other creatives (photographers, designers, stylists, etc.) to work on projects that will build your portfolio (and possibly even lead you to get published, which is another major milestone in increasing your client reach!).

  4. Social media is also an incredible way to find creative collaborators (more tips below!), particularly through Instagram – search locally for creatives in your area (or beyond if you are willing to travel) that are aligned with your vision and reach out (and don’t be afraid to follow up!). Begin planting the seeds to building a great team of individuals that inspire your artistry, and in turn, connect with talented individuals who share your same goals on a multitude of different creative platforms.

  5. Once you have begun building your portfolio and have images to share with potential clients, create your own uniquely branded website (you can easily develop this on your own, or work with a web designer – Wix, Squarespace, and Format are great beginner platforms that are user-friendly for all). Be sure to include the best images of your work that highlights the focus of your makeup artistry clearly (keeping in mind the direction in the industry that you have begun to establish yourself towards, as we covered above in “Determine Your Niche”).

A strong portfolio that showcases your vision effectively will lead you to build the client network of your dreams!


What better way to promote your talents than to share your skills on social media? Social media, in general, provides you with an international platform and an unlimited reach. 

The beauty of social media is you can connect with your audience (which are your potential clients!) in an interactive and inspiring format. As a makeup artist, you can build your brand through social media platforms by highlighting your unique vision and work. 

  1. Utilize those portfolio images that you have built your foundation on (and incorporate behind the scenes and in process photos as well!), and share them far and wide – Instagram and Pinterest (as well as Twitter and Facebook) are perfect platforms for this. Create your own individual makeup artist business page, as part of your own unique branding. Be sure to hashtag the key phrases and words that people search for (#beauty, #beautyoftheday, #makeup, #makeupartist, as well as your location – are just a few examples. You can also narrow this down to the direction of your individually established artistry – #editorialmakeupartist, #bridalmakeupartist, #celebritymakeupartist, etc).

  2. YouTube is also an important platform that will allow you to gain recognition for your talents and promote your work to clients. As a makeup artist with your own YouTube channel, you can cover all topics from inspiring makeup “How-To’s”, to what the best tools are to achieve the perfect look, and even share your favorite products (and why!). Your knowledge and brand direction will be available for all to see in an engaging format that directly connects and sells your skills and artistry to clients.

  3. As an Online Makeup Academy student or graduate, it is our goal to promote your work, milestones, and success! Be sure to tag @onlinemakeupacademy and #onlinemakeupacademy and share your best images with us, and we will share with our community to promote your business and your talented work! A free marketing benefit and tool that we are proud to offer to all of our students!

Top social media platform recommendations to build your brand image: Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp. 


It’s always important to give back to your community and to connect on a level with a cause that is important to you (and your work). Remember, as a makeup artist, you have the opportunity to inspire change and to interact with everyone on all levels; depending on what your business direction leads you in – everyone that you choose to interact with is a potential client, now, or in the future. 

Donating your time is a great opportunity to share your art with others on an inspirational level, and as the saying goes, “no good deed goes unnoticed” – so the kindness and talents that you provide are sure to spread. The people that you connect with will always remember your generosity and recommend your work to their network (ie: more potential clients), securing additional jobs, and establishing your brand image in a positive light. 


This tip is integral to success and securing your first client (and beyond!), as we’ve mentioned above, connecting this with many of the other highlighted recommendations. 

Networking never stops, but there are several select areas to key in and focus on when building your brand and identifying yourself as a makeup artist, available and ready to work!

  1. First and foremost, step outside of your comfort zone – be sure to have your “pitch” ready; introduce yourself, talents, and services (at the right place and time). Being assertive and direct (yet also always friendly and considerate!) is a key to successful networking. You should always be open in sharing your goals and what you are looking to achieve, and listening with an open mind to others as well! The creative community is one of acceptance, and working on establishing those roots will lead you to successful job opportunities and solidifying your client base.

  2. Always have business cards and images ready; be sure the cards represent your brand image and include your direct contact information and website where people can easily refer you to work!

  3. If you are looking to work as a makeup artist for special events (bridal, etc) – connect with those vendors in person (planners, venues, boutiques and more) who help plan these occasions. Form partnerships, exchange information and cards, share your availability and services, and discuss potential ideas for mutually beneficial collaboration.

  4. Another great networking tip for women makeup artists who are looking to establish their work for bridal services is to register your service through online platforms such as theknot.com (which does charge an advertising fee in order to be listed as an official vendor) or by forming partnerships with various other wedding websites that have a vendor list and bloggers who can share and highlight your work to reach your desired audience.

  5. Assist on set – Special Note: This is one of the most important tips for anyone who is looking to break into the entertainment or fashion/beauty editorial industry. If you have the opportunity to connect with an already established editorial or celebrity makeup artist (use some of the tips for reaching out as mentioned above in BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO and SOCIAL MEDIA!), assisting on set is a perfect way to begin to add legitimate credentials and establish your career. Being involved on a set directly where “the magic happens” for fashion and beauty campaigns, is a wonderful experience assisting in a creative process and having the opportunity to interact with different members of the team. This also allows you the opportunity to form real relationships within the industry, which in turn can eventually lead to glowing recommendations for client work within the editorial and entertainment industry.


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From the basics to advanced techniques, insider secrets, importance of the consultation, expert techniques, insider tips, and how to market your services to brides and others.

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From the basics to advanced techniques, insider secrets, importance of the consultation, expert techniques, insider tips, and how to market your services to brides and others.

Please note: Photos sitewide reflect student work from their in-class photoshoot(s).

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As part of our student’s curriculum, they participate in portfolio photoshoots working with professional models to showcase their makeup! If you are selected to join us, you will get 2-3 looks and 4-6 retouched photos and lunch is provided! These opportunities are unpaid, however, you will network with photographers, artist and other models and have a great experience on campus with us! Looks are at the discretion of our artists based on what they are looking to add to their portfolios. You will be on campus from 8:30 – 3 for a typical shoot and we have both weekday and weekend shoot dates.

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