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Collaborations: Stylists and Makeup Artists

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Collaborations: Stylists and Makeup Artists


Photography is rarely a solo operation. Unless you’re a street photographer or photojournalist, and even then one is effectively collaborating with the entire universe at once.¬†Projects and photographs are often more satisfying and can gain much more traction if other creatives such as makeup artists, stylists, and other production staff are both involved and invested.



This can be a great way to get your work out there and known, and to network with people in your niche. It’s the most organic way to plant yourself into the industry community and grow your professional network, by far, and can lead to valuable exposure and relationship building for future collaborations. Just sayin’.

Two common roles that are extremely helpful on set are make up artists (MUA for short) and stylists of various sorts. Wardrobe, product, food, and hair stylists aren’t uncommon to run into. They have knowledge and expertise in the subject at hand and are as concentrated on the creative process as you are. They can be called upon to style your subjects the way you’d like them to, in order to make the subject look best, and to make the subject look best for the camera. Therefore this is important because what looks good to our naked eye isn’t always what looks best on camera. This experience is the most valuable part of hiring this kind of production help.



Stylists are very popular to have on shoots because they bring refinement and subject elegance to a new level. The value of someone being there to specifically watch over and take care of certain parts of the image is immensely helpful and sometimes a difficult responsibility to let go of. It can be one of the best things that you do for yourself and your work though. Being collaborative with others can free you up from stress and extraneous decision making, and really liven the mood of your project dramatically. When multiple people can come together and focus on one thing, the photography, there is an electric feeling in the air. The electricity of community, creativity, and manifestation.

Makeup artists are just as necessary as stylists and sometimes even more so. The face is the portion of a portrait that reveals the most about the subject. The eyes, expression, and mood of the subject set the tone for the rest of the image and the MUA is integral in conveying the desired feeling through makeup. Makeup colors, intensity, amount applied, and general usability are what set the makeup artists knowledge apart from every day makeup users. Some makeup runs, some smears, flakes away, or is just altogether difficult to work with.

The last thing you want is to have a ruined shoot because of a makeup product that you aren’t familiar with. That’s why dedicated makeup personnel is essential because they can save you time and money in teh long run. So either really know your stuff, or hire it out! These are safe industry words to live by. Either way, make it work!


Some general tips and rules on collaborating with others:


Set your expectations at a reasonable level, and guide those who you work with in the right direction

Always be clear about your goals, so that everyone is on the same page

Be as polite and nice as possible no matter what, ALWAYS

Never talk trash about others, you never know who knows who, and who might take your words personally

Focus on the photography, and let the little things go. If it doesn’t affect the shoot, let it slide.


Well, thats your quick intro to working with MUA’s and stylists!


Production is exciting and exciting to share with others! That’s why photography can be such a cool thing and such a warm fire for creatives to gather around. Are you an MUA or stylist? We’d love to know that you are here!

Are you a photographer that regularly works with production shoot staff? Let us know!

If you have any questions or comments on working with stylists or MUAs send them our way!

We would love to start a conversation with you about your photo life, so drop us a line!

Until next time, take care!