Your portfolio is the key to your success.
Your portfolio is probably the most important part of your armoury as a makeup artist. It will be the deciding factor for a bride whether she chooses to initially email you or not so it has to look great. When you are first starting out this can be a hard thing to get off the ground but you have to start somewhere!
When I started out, I organised a mini photo-shoot with a local photographer who wanted to do a ‘test’ for his portfolio, I asked my cousin who was keen to get into modelling if she would mind posing as a bride which she was more than happy to do, everyone was a winner! I borrowed a dress from one of my married friends and off we went!
Alternatively, every time you make up a friend, family member or a client, make sure you take a good, high resolution close up photograph of beforeand afterthe finished makeup look. Future brides always like to see the transformation of previous clients (even if it is your mum or sister) You may also be able to obtain a copy of the professional photographer's image if your client was a bride.
Another option in building your portfolio is to assist other makeup artists. Many bridal makeup artists need help with large wedding parties. It is a fantastic chance for the newly qualified bridal makeup artist to learn the skills required in coping with the special demands of a nervous bride or emotional mum and to show what you can do, as well as having professional photos at the end of it. Please do bear in mind though, the work would need to be entirely your own. It would not be good practice to put the other makeup artists work as your own. Explain you are trying to start your portfolio and would she mind if you worked on one of the bridesmaids yourself so you can get a nice photo to use on your website.
It is extremely important to note, if you do assist another artist, and post work from the day on your social media, you must always credit them as well, as they were the one that got you the job in the first place and you are more likely to be asked again if you follow good practice.
Initially these photos can be gathered in a gallery on a Facebook page or on an Insatgram profile (or both) these platforms are hugely popular and an absolute must for makeup artists today, especially when you are starting out, even if some people still prefer to look at a book.
Eventually you will need to have your portfolio accessible on a professional website which will be your showcase, and be the focal point for your work and your business.