Four makeup artists from India at different places in their careers, in a candid conversation with Piamony Photography
Professional makeup and hair make your client look fresh and in control. It even adds to their confidence. But as a photographer, it helps me immensely to get the desired look for the concept. An experienced makeup artist can remove unflattering specular highlights from models’ faces. Light hits at the right spots and in the most flattering way if the makeup is done professionally.
Having a makeup and hair artist on the floor ensures that the look is consistent from start to finish. But an essential quality of a good makeup artist is their team-player attitude and their vision in contributing to the story. With that, I am stoked to share precious tips from four makeup artists actively working in the Indian entertainment industry.
Here is a short introduction of the experts:
With a background in mass media and a specialization in advertising, Shweta Shetty started her career in the entertainment industry as an Executive producer. During her work in the industry, Shweta was amazed by the power of makeup in bringing out the natural beauty of celebrities. A skilled and finely technical makeup artist now, Shweta was the head makeup trainer at Celebrity Makeup Artist, Mr. Ajay Shelar's Makeup academy. She has also worked with Marathi industry host/actor Dhanashree Damale Pradhan, Shradha Potdar, celebrity fitness guru Sudipta, and travel vlogger Sonia David.
Shweta Saw is a makeup artist and hairstylist in Mumbai. She is trained at Makeupcalories Academy. Apart from pursuing freelancer makeup artistry, she also takes classes. She has assisted with the makeup of Rishab pant, Dhwani Bhanushali, and Arjun Mathur. She has also worked in commercials such as Netflix promos and MTV ads.
Ragini Singh is a makeup artist with 12 years of experience in beauty and six years in makeup. She is academy trained and has worked in Miss India, Miss Diva, and for Savio John Pereira.
Srushti Ghuge is an emerging makeup artist with one year of industry experience. She is trained in the Lakme Academy.
All four of these artists work with photographers regularly for portraiture, headshots, beauty, and fashion. I am very excited to share their nuggets of makeup know-how. So, let's hop on to the interview right away!
1. How should models prep their face and hair before a makeup session?
Shetty: Clean face is critical as it is a makeup artist's canvas. So models should do their facial cleanup with blackhead removals perfectly for a smooth texture for makeup application. Also, moisturizing is an essential part of prepping the skin. For hair styling, freshly shampooed hair is always advisable without using conditioner and serum.
Ghuge: You SHOULD follow these steps every day at least twice after cleansing- toner, serum moisturizer, and sunscreen.
Saw: Cleanse your face, moisturize and hydrate the skin very well and drink lots of water
Singh: Cleansing, and moisturizing, for sure!
2. Which makeup items are your go-to?
Shetty: Mac compact, mascara, and a Mac lipstick
Saw: Moisturizer, concealer, and lipstick
Ghuge: Lipstick, Kajal, compact powder
Singh: Concealer and lipstick
3. What's that emerging makeup item that makes all the difference?
Singh: Heavy foundation and eye makeup.
Ghuge: Mac prep and fix
Saw: False eyelashes
4. What is your biggest challenge when doing hair and makeup?
Saw: Time because when we are shooting professionally, for example, in advertising, the clients and models need to be relaxed. Because when they are relaxed, makeup also looks good and fresh.
Ghuge: The pressure of getting the desired look or eyeshadow, sometimes even eyeliner…Every face is a new challenge. Also, problematic skin!
Shetty: Skin textures & bald hair patches
Singh: Poor skin quality and unhealthy hair
5. Please share your all-time favorite makeup look.
Singh: Nude makeup look
Ghuge: Soft glam look✨
Saw: Basic nude, ready-to-go makeup
Shetty: Soft brown Smokey makeup look is my all-time favorite look
6. What is that one makeup tip you want your models to know?
Saw: If you don't have any makeup products with you and only lipstick, you can use it 3-way- lip, blush, and eyeshadow and smudge with the finger. Also, definitely prep your skin very well.
Singh: Clean your makeup thoroughly. It would help if you were very particular about it.
Ghuge: Contour your face according to your face shape
Shetty: Keep yourself hydrated for the event to have a glowy and flawless makeup base. Makeup will look as good as the way your skin is naturally.
7. What are your two cents for models starting in the industry?
Shetty: Please talk less and make no constant phone calls during the makeup session. Please trust your makeup artist as they know what best can be done on your face, as it is also going into their portfolio.
Saw: If you have smaller eyes, you can go for a white kajal. It makes your eyes look bigger. And most importantly, never go to bed without removing your makeup.
Ghuge: Your skin is your wealth. Make water your best friend; let your skin glow. Your eating habits and daily exercise will matter the most because, as a model, you have to look naturally beautiful. So make skincare your favorite routine and invest in good quality skincare and makeup products. Also, learn some essential makeup hacks for yourself. And most importantly, never lose your confidence 🌸
Singh: Be Confident! You should know what you are doing.
8. If there is one piece of advice that you can give to beginner photographers, what would that be?
Singh: Angle and editing is the most important thing.
Ghuge: In the beginning, everyone makes mistakes. Don’t give up! Try collaborating with models who want to pose for you passionately.
Saw: Great lighting, editing, and creativity make all the difference.
Shetty: Think from the client's point of view, don't land up clicking for your profile creation.
9. How are your favorite clients? What are their best qualities?
Singh: Devendra Fadnavis is my favorite client because he is very down-to-earth even after being in that position. My favorite model is Miss Universe 2021, Harnaaz Sandhu.
Ghuge: The best quality of my favorite clients is that they first discuss what they want and then trust me entirely after that.
Saw: When they get comfortable with you, you can ask what they want in makeup, how they like the base, and everything.
Shetty: Trust, trust n trust. I have been lucky enough to get clients who trust my choices and work. For that reason, 85% of my clientele are repeat clients.
10. Tell me one secret that no one would know about the HMUA industry.
Singh: It is just glamorous from the outside, but you have to work hard.
Ghuge: Lack of opportunities!
Saw: No one asks for certificates. All they want is an experienced person. And, of course, contacts are vital to get into this industry.
Shetty: That all professional makeup artists are not really professional. 😄😄
11. Last but not least, what's the most fantastic advice you can give to beginner hair and makeup artists?
Shetty: Understand your client and their choices of color before you start with the session. Always come prepared for what kind of look you will create and which shade of lipstick will look classy. Carry nice wispy eyelashes, as it seems more natural. Have a set of contact lenses in your vanity. Carry at least three clean sponges in your kit.
Saw: Sanitize every product you have, such as brushes and palettes, after every client. Always ask clients and photographers what look they want. Ask for reference pictures or a mood board to understand their requirements better. And, never stop learning!
Singh: There is lots of competition but do not give up because once you get there, you will love it.
Ghuge: I would suggest trying to practice as much as possible. Try to find out workshops where you can get exposure, and you can network with industry experts.
The bitter truth is that no one will initially pay for your work. You might lose the client if you charge like other experienced makeup artists. You have to show the potential clients first what you can do. Lastly, you must show your best work to the world, so finding suitable models and good workshops will help develop your portfolio.
(End of interview.)
Thank you, kind artists, Shweta Shetty, Ragini Singh, Shweta Saw, and Srushti Ghuge, for taking time out from your busy schedule and enlightening us with important pointers from your experience. I wish you all the success in the world, and I humbly urge my readers to view their extraordinary artistry on Instagram and give them a follow. :) I am sharing their profile links below.
Also, please mention in the comments below if you think this blog post was helpful to you in preparing hair and makeup for photography.
PS: Although self-taught, I used to do makeup and hair for my clients and models during my initial years of photography. ;)