Tag Archives: creative

I hate to be a pain in the portfolio…

19 Feb

… but if, like me, you’re doing a shitload of TFP (time in exchange for pictures) shoots, you’ll be working with professional photographers, models and possibly stylists or other creatives, and at the end of the (long, hard day in the freezing rain) you all want the same thing – shit-hot photos for your portfolio.


models: Ieva at Model Team and Lauren at Superior Model Management
makeup by me, photography by Bryce Powrie, threads by One For The Wall

All of us – the photographers, models and makeup artists – all need up-to-date pretty pictures to show off our mad skillz.  Which is why lots of us spend half our lives running around like blue-arsed flies on these TF photoshoots.

They’re great fun, and there’s something nice about a wee gang of you working together with the same vision, not for money but for the love.  Not to say we’re not all getting something out of it, but anyone doing anything for free is displaying some level of dedication, and that’s nice to be around.

All the pretty pictures for me are ending up in my portfolio, which is actually an official thing getting assessed at college next week.  With an interview and all.  We need a minimum of 8 photos from a minimum of 4 photoshoots.  I’ve done 6 photoshoots and pics from 5 of those are going in my portfolio.

I think if I didn’t have a clear idea of what I needed, and if I hadn’t been lucky in landing shoots with reasonably experienced and professional people, that number might not be so high.  As it is my final task for portfolio production is showing some uncharacteristic restraint and editing down my selection to best highlight my makeup work.

None of this putting photos in just because they’re cool and I like them.  Is it a photo that showcases my makeup work, or do I like the photo because the model’s hair looks swishy or because there’s a cute puppy or because the clothes they’re modelling look really good?  All wonderful things, and important components of a good photo… but FOCUS, IMOGEN!

example of a photo that doesn't reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.  BUT PUPPY!   photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

doing the no-makeup-look on a guy is harder than you think, but you’re not even looking at him are you.  This is an example of a photo that doesn’t reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.
photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

Which led to me Googling “how to have a not-shit portfolio” which took me all sorts of interesting places on the internet.  Here is one of the more useful things I read, copied and pasted because you’re more likely to read it if I do it like this, aren’t you.

Get Usable Image Files From A Test With These 6 Questions

A test shoot is a collaboration in which all parties involved should benefit from the pictures received. I don’t go in for contracts or think you should come across like a demanding diva when approached about a test shoot but you do need to discuss a few things with the photographer before the shoot so you can be sure what you receive later will be useful to you.

Here are some questions you should have answers to before any pictures are taken to insure that the image files you receive after the shoot are suitable for printing.

1. Can you get some close up shots of the makeup?
Always ask the photographer to get some close up shots of the makeup as part of the deal and remind them on the day that you need some head shots. A great beauty shot next to a full length image can look fantastic in your book and will show your skills as a makeup artist more clearly.

2. Can you start the day off with a really clean beauty look?
You should be focusing on clean beauty when you start building a portfolio so if you get roped into a test that doesn’t involve clean beauty see if you can do a quick beauty look at the start of the day which you can build on after to achieve something more adventurous. This way everyone should get something usable for their books right from the start and you get more looks out of a days shooting.

3. Will you get Hi-Res files?
Make sure the photographer is going to provide hi-res files so you can print nice sharp images for your book. Low-res files are only suitable for posting online so they don’t take too long to load.

4. Does the photographer have watermarks on all his/her images?
If the photographer you are working with uses watermarks on his/her images check that getting files without the watermarks won’t be a problem so you can print the images for your book.

5. How many images should you expect to receive?
Discuss how many images you should realistically expect to receive and whether these files will have been retouched. Unless you are shooting a big editorial story it is unlikely that you would really need more that 5 images from a shoot.

6. Will you have any input into the final picture selection? 
Often all parties involved are looking for something different for their books so it’s great if you all have some input into the final image selection. If you are given a choice of images think about the composition in your book so the images you pick go together on a double page.

If you are unsure about any of the following points discuss them with the photographer in an email. Emails are great as it gives everyone a record of whats been agreed on to refer back to.

I stole that from http://whattheprosdo.blogspot.co.uk/ – which sadly hasn’t been updated in nearly 5 years, but still has loads of really handy tips for the nascent makeup artiste.
It’s a UK based site however a lot of the stuff on there would be useful for anyone starting out – things like what to think about when putting together your website and business cards, what to carry with you (bottle of water and a banana because no one feeds you on photoshoots – so true, and the reason my makeup kit is a suitcase is really so it can fit all the muesli bars in it that I require for a half-day on the go).
So there you have it flogstars, a bit of practical know-how for ye.
Here’s Steel Panther with The Burden of Being Wonderful.  Watch it and next post I’ll tell you all about the weekend I’ve just had in Denmark partying at them.  Not with them.  At them.

is that… Alice Cooper?

13 Feb

No.  It’s Grant in makeup and a wig!


Why so sad, Alice-Grant?  Is it because my plan to see your performance in Edinburgh on Halloween last year fell through, and you’re all bummed out because one of your fans never got to see you live on stage?  I was disappointed, too – Chloe and I were going to go as Wayne and Garth.  But it was not to be.

I didn’t think tickets would sell out as fast as they did, then BOOM all of a sudden they were £140.  Damn the scalpers, damn them all to hell (but not the good part of hell where I will be roasting marshmallows with all my friends in due course – the bad part, for bad people who rip music fans off.  Hisss)


Well.  As I always say, if you want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself.  Didn’t get to meet Alice Cooper?  Just paint someone else up to look like him and voila.  We are the masters of our own destinies, the architects of our own fortunes, the creators of our own fan-girl photo opportunities, are we not?


What we have here, for those curious about the technicalities, is MAC Paintpot in Blackground (that bad-boy’s been getting quite the workout lately, but it really is good stuff), just painted on with a concealer brush.

Add a black wig – I found this one under the reception desk – and fingerless stud faux leather gloves.  Borrow a leather jacket from a Spanish guy called Sergio (if you can find one), and Bob’s your uncle.  Or Grant’s your Alice.  Or whatever.

Have fun, dear children.

Grant’s skull nails (freehand)

7 Feb

So, this was what I was trying to do.

skull nails

My handsome, hilarious, charismatic friend Canadian Ian emailed me that picture, knowing I love all things skull and nail art.  I screamed and decided to give it a go, enlisting my favourite hand model Grant and his nice big neat fingernails.


I started off painting the ‘ribs’ hand black with Barry M Nail Paint in Black.  For the hand with the skulls, I painted a big white spot with my white nail striper from www.sparkly-nails.co.uk, outlined with my black nail striper.  Grant commented that this was a bit of a 60s/mod kind of look, and I agree – in fact it reminded me of these nails from MAC’s Glamour Daze collection (late 2012)….

mac glamour daze

…which I tried to recreate on myself a few months ago, long before I owned nail stripers, I was painting the black on with a regular (ie, too thick) nail polish brush so it was impossible to get the thin lines I was after.  So I improvised and only did three sides of each nail, I thought they looked pretty funky and graphic.  I like the combination of candy pink and black.


And here are those nails in action, just for fun.


Anyway, back to the skulls.  They then transformed into panda feet and something kinda Aztec, when I painted the teeth on with my white nail striper.

IMG_2564 IMG_2565

Before finally becoming what I think is a decent copy of the photo up the top of this post!


In the original picture she’s got nail stickers on her thumbs; here’s me with two different types of Nail Rock stickers on my pinky and ring fingers (for some reason they WILL NOT stay on my middle and index fingers on either hand). 


So what do you think?  Do you find fiddly nail art easy or does it take you FOREVER (like me!)?

skull nails


Thanks to Instagram Queen Carissa for the snaps of my nails!

nailed it: Hunger Games/Katniss/flame nails

30 Jan

Feeling a lil bit hot-rod one day, I thought flame nails would be a good idea.  HOT DAMN!

To YouTube!  The CutePolish tutorials on YouTube are some of my favourites.  Using my newly acquired nail stripers from http://www.sparkly-nails.co.uk, I got busy.

I’m right handed so I had a go painting my left hand with free-hand flames, which in the end came up better than the flames I painted on plastic for my right hand.  I used cling-film instead of a thicker lunch bag type plastic, and they ended up kind of wrinkly.  They still looked pretty cool, though.

Here are the nails I painted freehand, I don’t seem to have a photo of the other hand.


These I painted on starting with the red then moving in towards the centre of the flame with the orange, followed finally with the yellow.  Once it was dry I went around the outside with a black glitter nail striper.  The usual Sally Hansen base and top coats (Miracle Cure nail strengthening basecoat and Insta-Dri anti-chip top coat).

What do you think?

goldeneye/graphic black and white eye

20 Jan

Agi is a big fan of the asymetric look.  She often gets me to do a feature eye (just the one – see the pictures of her on my Introductions post), so today we did two different eyes.  A graphic black and white eye which Agi has wanted to try for a while, and a ‘goldeneye’ that I have always wanted to do on Agi – she’s really blonde and I thought making a feature of her pale lashes would be cool.  So here she is!


The black and white eye was done with MAC eyeshadow in Shroom all over the socket, MAC Paint Pot in Blackground, MAC Pigment powder in Vanilla between the top lash line and socket to make it extra white.  Maybelline Colossal Volum’ mascara in black, and some Eyelure individual falsh lashes glued on with Revlon’s new Precision dark lash adhesive.  Maybelline Master Shape brow pencil in Dark Blond and the Body Shop Lightening Touch 01 under the eyes.  Her lips are MAC lipstick in a shade called 15 Minutes which from memory was part of the Andy Warhol limited edition, so not available anymore, although their shade Scanty is similar.

DSC04250 (2)

The goldeneye was done with my lovely, shimmery new creme eyeshadow, Maybelline 24HR Colour Tattoo in 65-Pink Gold. (I’ve also got it in 35-On and on Bronze, which is great for blue eyes).  It’s all over the eyelid and slightly above the socket, applied with a concealer brush because my nails were too long to get into the pot with my fingertip.  Agi’s golden lashes (top and bottom) were done by coating them with MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque, also used on the brow bone to highlight.  This photo doesn’t really capture how it looked in real life unfortunately; it really suited her olive skin tone and brought out the colour of her eyes.


Both eyes looked cool however if we’d actually been going out, rather than just doing two completely different eyes just for practice, I’d have matched the graphic black and white eye with something a bit stronger on the other side to balance it.  The goldeneye would be good for some kind of ethereal dress-up.  Angelic 🙂

What do you think?

agi eyes

Introducing my models

16 Jan

I suppose I should begin by introducing the gracious folk who lend me their faces.


That’s us (probably about 20 years ago), me on the left and my sister Chloe on the right (bad photo, she’s not actually developmentally challenged).  Chloe has been with me from the beginning, letting me apply eyeshadow directly to her eyeball without (much) complaint.  She is a very patient model and one of my favourites because her face is so similar to mine, so it’s easy.  And weird and interesting putting makeup on my own bone structure, but not in the mirror.

Speaking of mirrors, here she is again.  A more recent photo, mirrored in two different wigs.  This was Halloween 2012, where she went POP-art.  More on that occasion later.


I am also lucky enough to have a dear friend who is as keen as I am on the more creative side of makeup; Agi, who always has an interesting idea and always lets me just practice.


So these two are my main faces.  You’ll be seeing plenty of these two lovely ladies.

%d bloggers like this: