What I do as creative Director and Media Makeup Artist

The terms creative director and media makeup artist get thrown around as a buzzword with makeup artists but very few actually understand whats involved, its not a bad thing but it is detrimental to your business if you cannot do what you are advertising.

As creative director I do a wide range of things especially when it comes to working on film projects, mainly when I do low budget work do I try and do this to add dimension and potential marketing/pr avenues that might otherwise be missed. I have to be aware of how the story from behind the scenes and the commercial side is going to look when we release the details, it has to be consistent across media.

climbing the stairs to success

Thanks in part to my work for magazines, I am able to talk directly to brands and provide what I term primary sources of pr. I write articles and then pitch the possibility of adding the brand to a Non-exclusive product placement and will negotiate with the brand and/or the film company over where and how this can be done.

My job becomes about placement and brand support what I do is work out ways to augment and support my department with product placement and designing the elements of the characters and IF required finding solutions to problems, this can include finding something that will help the budget or add to the overall story, finding myself often online checking out options to reduce the budgets. As key makeup artist you need experience to be able to carry the can, you are as much a part of the process as the rest of the team.

As media makeup artist I work within the parameters that I know I can offer, I sell the service I am skilled and experienced in and make it clear to clients what those limits are. This can include social media, product placement within the film and of course designing the makeup with the application being done and maintained on the shoot. Commercial should be your aim when working in film and TV.

Working as a beauty and lifestyle editor has given me distinct advantages that I have built up and added to my own arsenal of professional skills that can be utilised in my work, that is the difference. For me its not a buzzword its a reality of my work. A career and vocation are totally different, there are alot of steps to be taken to get to the point of being key on film and TV or even working at a magazine, build your business sensibly.

Reaching for the Stars and how its Done

When you are working as a makeup artist, especially someone aspiring to work in film and TV. There needs to be a degree of give and take in the process. Experience will get you through and into better projects over the course of time. Understanding how business works, especially the film business, can mean the difference between securing the gig and being replaced.

Reaching for the stars

Stories leak all the time about people securing gigs on a lie, by that I mean telling the production team they can do something and then failing to provide the service offered.

When it comes to reaching for the stars sometimes you need to build a ladder to get there.

Remember networking is a must and being an assistant is not something to be sniffed at. You can gain a huge amount by assisting a senior artist.

For me its all about knowing my skill set and market audience. My journey is slightly different and I do have plans, goals and aspirations that may not suit everyone and thats OK, but heres a general sense of how to move up the ladder and earn your craft.

  • When you first graduate, remember you won’t get into large scale projects immediately you will need to build your CV and show that you are willing to put the time into getting there.

  • Nothing happens overnight. Contact artists be open to assisting and listen to them.

  • Don’t listen to rumours. Just because the person teaching you doesn’t like another artist does not mean that their opinion is accurate. No platforming someone based on rumours will end badly for you.

  • Low budget is not necessarily a bad thing. Every job should have a contract, talk to the people behind the film and be open to the options.

*From a recent chat with a director, “we contacted several artists before we spoke to you and the responses were weird. Two didn’t answer, one wished us good luck but wouldn’t work for free. She didn’t ask if we had a budget what the pay scale was she just dismissed it.”

When you work for a company you can be there anywhere up to a month (I have even see it be two or three) before you get paid, so why do you think that immediately dropping an offer is smart, ask questions and negotiate.

Know your own limits, if you can’t do it, don’t sell it.

Start small and build, a website is a must. You can tie it to your social media and other accounts and use it as a marketing tool that will benefit you long term.

Above all else, be open to the possibilities and treat it like the business you claim it is.

Building PR Around a Low Budget Feature Film

When your working on a low budget film, something that you need to consider is where every single penny is going in terms of your makeup kit. Especially when there is some moulage (character/blood work) involved.

building your budget and working the pennies

As a makeup artist the first thing you need to be asking is “whats the budget for the department?” Remember your materials cost money and a kit fee is pretty much a standard across the board, this will allow you to decide if there is anything you need that you don’t have in your kit and will cover your costs. If you are smart and there is a business plan in place with the film you can then work with the production team to gain some additional support and press, sometimes even add-on’s to your kit that would otherwise come out of the budget for your department.

The synopsis of a film or TV project will also give you an idea of what to expect in terms of the project type you are working on, a smart artist will know their own limitations and what they can and can’t offer in terms of the work and be smart enough to actually work around those limitations without losing face.

Once you have a contract (An absolute must) you can then start working on a plan of action, low budget films often have a lack of real PR planning for the makeup staff because we are well known for our ability to showcase ourselves, after all thats how we got the gig right?

Always co-ordinate with the production team on what you are planning!

Even something as simple as a tweet with a photo or an Instagram post can be detrimental and lose you the contract. Make sure that there isn’t a NON DISCLOSURE clause in your contract, if you violate the terms of a non disclosure you can be sued and lose your job with real harm done to your reputation.

By working on the project and PR plan with the team you can sometimes, if you handle it correctly, gain additional support which if YOU as the artist do right will give you a working relationship with the brands you approach that will be a long term benefit for the film/TV project and you that can be accessed and used later.

Smart moves make better films and longer careers.

Setting up a Schedule of Articles

taking notes

I decided to take the time to write enough articles that for two weeks possibly three, I will just need to do the social media shares and get the products and films out there.

The logic behind this is that will allow me the space to book a studio or find a really good location to shoot some additional pieces for the websites, the even better part of this is that Finally we will be sitting down this coming week to put together the details for projects we have had on the back burner for a while now.

Something that really appeals to me about this process is that aside from gaining the space to breathe, I can arrange additional videos of me working and create the work again to my own terms. With the amount of brand support I have had in the last few months and the continued development of The Lost Project into the upcoming Lost Films (a new website will be built for this).

On the topic of websites, this will be a good time to do the additions that have been in the back of my mind for a long time to get done. Bringing in some of the brands that we have already worked with and giving them another boost through our network.

A big worry for my bank manager, will be the cost but in my experience you have to invest in your business to draw the clients you want.

The Realities of Beauty Writing and being a Makeup Artist

When it comes to being a beauty editor or a beauty writer there is a sense of ease that is taken for granted in the process. People will undermine the work and treat it like a whimsical process that relies on words like confection and decadence to support its own validity.

Beauty writing

This also leads to people undermining the work and in some cases using the piece as their own platform to boost their own (ego) or business. Without giving any thought or credit to the person writing. Removing the platform that they use to promote themselves and demanding fair treatment when they refuse to do the same.

Invalidating someone else’s work has become somewhat commonplace, the notion that anyone in the same field as you, even in the broadest sense, is competition and ergo should be removed from the marketplace is a sad and frankly an unnecessary action.

As a beauty editor and writer my days can be spent on the computer writing, researching or arranging meetings. On odd occasions I have been known to shoot my own work, although that in and of itself is becoming rare as the platform seems to be wasted when bookings are going to fresher talent “to give them a chance” with the expectation that I promote them and/or a project that I have spent time designing for is no longer mine it has been given to someone else to “allow their business to grow.” After all I am established and known so its OK to use my network to promote someone else.

Now I am not saying that I won’t support but I also will not accept that all work must be done with freshers, that is ridiculous and negates years of training and hard work.

It has become common to Demand and demean the work to a point where I have had to tell clients I am no longer willing to work with or give voice to certain people and brands because of the sheer arrogance and egotism of their behaviour toward me and my work.

Being a beauty editor or a makeup artist has a degree of diplomacy involved and lately that has become a difficult skill to offer at least thats what I am told when I refuse to cow tow to demands that are both unreasonable and outright nasty.

It is taken for granted that money is not the objective of the work when dealing with outside parties (usually I am asked to work free because reasons) and then asked to pay for copies of said images/film.

As a beauty writer/editor and makeup artist, I have had to change my terms of service to accommodate a glut of badly managed artists who feel entitled to press.

If you are approaching the table come with some degree of humility, come with a plan and be open to negotiations otherwise you will not make it past hello.

The Next Big Investment into the JamesC Business

For those unfamiliar with my career after 20 years as a makeup artist I decided to expand on the work I was doing and create for myself as well as work on other peoples projects.

I try my best to give a platform to filmmakers, designers and brands but decided to wherever possible, to shoot the content for my articles myself to save a lot of hassle. That is not to say I will not push someone else’s work but as I have had to repeat frequently of late, this is at my discretion and as much as I want to showcase everyone, it doesn’t always hit the mark or is not appropriate so I try to do the work on my own terms.

Progressively I have been adding to my kit and will soon be making the leap and adding a mirrorless camera to my working stock. The reasoning for this is simple:

  • Smaller footprint in my overall kit (which is paired down to suit gigs).

  • Practicalities of discretion when shooting on set.

  • Cost.

zoom lens

This has been the major deciding factor in all honesty as mirrorless can be cheaper and the lenses I require along with the body will be cost effective for me in comparison to the DSLR equivalents of each part.

An additional factor to this will be that it will give me a greater degree of creative control over what is and isn’t shown in terms of my work and I will be able to factor this into my work and contracts easily and for lower budget projects (if my terms are met) will also mean additional support in PR for later sales etc.

I know this seems unfair and possibly removing a platform from someone else on a video shoot and again with designers and brands become an additional cost they need to allow for but I have noticed a change in dynamic in how my work is shared and re-platformed, often lacking the credit, I felt that it was within my own interests as a business to make this choice.

Makeup artists frequently complain about not being credited in promotions or advertising and this removes that step and ensures (wherever) possible and plausible, that I can control the work. Sad to say but a necessity of late.

Admittedly I see this as a positive step forward and an expansion of what has become a very commercially and media driven business model, though not suitable for every artist it certainly works for me.

Everything is Connected

The idea that everything is connected has never been so prevalent as it is now with social media taking over the way we market our businesses and personal lives (and yes if you share your personal business publicly it becomes marketing).

Everything is connected

By pushing your own agenda and pushing YOUR business over that of someone else who created an article or piece of work that includes you is really a show of dominance that will long term be of no benefit as they can and in my case Will remove the platform.

I did check last night and have discovered that I have written in total 125 articles on different brands, designers, makeup companies and makeup tools. This has become my own personal platform.

I work at my own discretion deciding who or what I will talk about.

Social media has opened the door to some of the best and most commonly used marketing tools that can be and is being abused.

Short term thinking and ego get in the way of business being done properly which in my case has meant I am now rethinking not just who I work with but how I do it, I have brought into the light platforms including magazines, film/TV sales avenues to a series of makeup brands. In a local sense my “voice” has been removed from the proceedings by not using the articles content and taking credit for work that is not their own, it is forcing my hand to be more careful about how I support people in future.

Which in itself is sad.

After 20 years as a hair and makeup artist my work is often overlooked in favour of new talent when commercial is my wheel house and cost is never negotiated you have no room to complain when the work is not as well received as You feel it should be because you failed to take on board an experienced artist over giving a platform to a trainee who would have benefited from support, but then you save money so its all good right?

Hire me and you get the wealth of my experience and efforts which include PR and marketing, Demand that I support for free and then remove my voice from the resulting dialogue and you lose the right to complain when I no long wish to work with you.

Everything is connected and I will find out. I have talked about this multiple times and its becoming more and more of an issue, in light of it I will be changing the terms of how I work YET AGAIN because of the way my work is treated.

Opening the Door to Better Business

There is a huge amount of changes that people are fighting to be made in the Scottish (and global) industry. People are talking about creating groups and teams that can “regenerate” the industry, especially that of fashion.

a light bulb moment

What concerns me about this is the lack of real identity to it or the background checks that should be done to prevent collapse. In an age where its incredibly easy to verify someones background through something as simple as Facebook, which many companies are now doing, I find it interesting and have fell for it myself on the surface, people still lie about their CV.

Now if you want to question the validity of my travels, my work and my business you are more than welcome because I can provide evidence that will verify it for you.

So thats simple then.

If you are dealing with people who talk endlessly about what they have done and where they have been and there work is not close the standard you would expect here’s the thing you can cross check and ask for verification.

Overselling a skill is not smart and shows a lack of thought into your business. If you want to improve your work and get into better realms EARN your craft, if you do not have the skill earn them don’t lie about them and think you won’t get caught.

To open the door to better business you just need to earn it, that will take time, marketing and earned skill nothing comes overnight.

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Having spoken at length to my own contacts and business affiliates over certain projects, there is now it seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel where business concerns lay. We have been discussing a few different options concerning projects.

a light at the end of the tunnel

We do have some small pieces that we plan to use, scripts are already done, that will be shot and edited with the intention of showcasing both our talents and the brands that have provided PR packages and giving something back to these companies as a thank you in form of promotion.

An additional aspect we are going to look at is the behind the scenes element (which is integrated into my own terms of employment on projects), we will be shooting for designers and creating both editorial content and video that will then be used to showcase all the talent working.

Creatively there is a point at which I felt that it was time to move in a new direction and add to my skill set and with plans to redevelop my own business.

The logic for this is that I wanted to expand and hold more control over the dynamic of my work, after 20 years in the makeup and hair arena feels like the right move.

No Platforming other Artists a Specialist Beat Down

There is a wave of no platforming on social media, taking down or removing the voice of fellow makeup artists based on nothing more than a specialism of skill that the detractors do not have. This is a major issue and is going to cause an increase in lower quality work taking presidency over skill and a lack of professionals in the arenas where previously they would have worked.

Removing the Platform of artists

No platforming can take a variety of forms and is detrimental to your own business. While its perfectly OK to want to move forward or be recognised for your skills its not a good move to remove that option from someone with a different skill set.

For example. If you work in Bridal this is a specialised area of makeup that is widely recognised and applauded with award ceremonies. It has a specific skill set and market that YOU have chosen to work in for its ease of marketing, awards and of course the financial gains.

So as a Bridal artist your time and energy is in that field, to then remove the voice of a media and commercial artist as “competition” to you seems pointless. If you are looking to break away from your current market then you need to identify what transferable skills you have and build on that in the same way a commercial/media artist would if they chose to step into your arena.

Viewing ANYONE and EVERYONE as competition is ridiculous, your business is not affected by someone working in a different field so attacking or deliberately removing their voice from a public forum is redundant.

There is also an element of laziness involved in this as well which is illustrated by conversations with fellow artists:

How did you get that music video job? (artist)

I have worked with the company before, they asked me if I could do it and we discussed the job. (me)

Well thats not fair, you should be giving up jobs and passing them to new people like me. (artist)

OK but I have worked with them before and I do need an assistant for my next gig. (me)

I am not really an assistant. I mean I would rather work free than be your assistant, really it can’t be that hard if your doing it. (artist)

OK carry on. (me)

*After a few weeks I usually get a call or message asking for advice from the same artist who has deliberately undercut me to get a gig. So they remove the platform that I earned to showcase my talent, working free on a paid gig so they can get an elevated credit on the project, they still expect me to support them when they can’t do the job.

Denouncing a fellow artist as arrogant and out of touch is a frequent one to be used and is often done because the person being attacked is working in an area of business that you don’t have the skills for but still insist in competing in.

Instead of burying people who are in a more specialised area of work as competition, try being realistic about your OWN business and focus on that.

If you want to work as a beauty editor, move into event makeup and fashion or film/TV you need to understand the skill set and not just demand that you get a foot in the door without the experience or requisite skills.

Setting your Professional Agenda as a Makeup Artist

When you are starting out in business or redeveloping your work you need to identify your basics and work out your professional agenda and goals for your business. What this means is figuring out the Realistic goals and aspirations you are aiming at.

For fashion and film and TV this can be a totally different ball game and requires serous planning as does any business. There is always a trade off that has to be taken when you choose to specialise or redefine your business to accommodate a different style of work.

Setting a professional agenda

Looking at Film and TV, with a level of commercial production into this which includes ads and projects aimed at sales, we need to look closely at the skill set and package you bring to the table for the project and what room you have to negotiate the price structure you will work to and your overall professional agenda.

The first element of this is your own skills and experience you bring to the table. If you have zero experience or less than 5 years in a mixed background including the time in training. You can work the odds in your favour but this requires some basic pieces that need to be Negotiated in contracts and also a level of investment on your part.

As most business works on a three tier system (I have addressed this in previous blogs) you ultimately want to hit the middle market which in the UK is web TV and digital download. Personally I prefer paid work and will negotiate a minimum term agreement for my services that will benefit all parties:

  • Behind the scenes stills and video

  • Practical application of the service looking at what can and can’t be achieved on the budget from a makeup perspective as a media/commercial makeup artist.

  • Minimum rate agreed at a set level per day/week with an option of royalties on sales.

  • A contract with terms and conditions laid out with the above stipulations.

If they cannot provide or meet all the terms provided then they have to negotiate a deal that all sides are happy with. As a makeup artist (or any crew member) you have overheads and need to remember that.

As agendas go mines is fairly simple. I want to earn a living off of a skill set I have earned over the course of my career and have reached a point where I am not as willing to work for the art and regardless of your status and experience you should be saying the same.

Having an agenda for your career is not a negative thing and shows that you are treating your business as a business and not the latest in a series of trendy hobbies.

Seeking Validation and Support is not Moving you Forward

I have been getting more and more hard line over how and what support I will offer, especially now when I am finding increasingly that I am having to step back from gigs for familial reasons.

Usually in the space of a phone call and a few minutes checking social media posts I can get a pretty good handle on what you are looking for and what your expectations are, allowing me to make a choice about the end goals of the process.

makeup

Patterns I see frequently are:

  1. “I am studying makeup at college and looking for models for…….”

  2. “How can I get into film and TV?”

  3. “how can I get into fashion I really want to do shows like LFW.” Missing details in this can often be IF you pay me for my time even though I have no experience.

  4. “If anyone has a project they need an assistant for I am free and looking to gain some experience.”

Breaking these down what I see is the pattern:

  1. Students rarely if ever (myself included to some degree when I was training) do their research and the work is often craft based and more suited to a social media account than a film set or show.

  2. With google and the unlimited access to the internet via a mobile its by far easier now than its ever been to find media access centres and meetups, so why are you not doing research first? Simple, its easier to get it done for you than do it yourself.

  3. LFW and any other shows rarely pay the staff instead the head of department gets a sponsor. fashion shows SELL ad space and there is a bit of give and take involved, you need to be showing your business skills and approach sponsors with a plan. If you want to do it free then yes you will get the work but frankly you are better pulling a team and working it as head of department or as part of a brand supported placement.

  4. Although people on paper are wiling and able to be an assistant, when you tell them what is required they get upset “how will the client know what I can do if I am just assisting?” This is an attempt to secure a client and those who do assist spend their time networking and not actually doing the work required as they are trying to secure clients for themselves via undercutting and socialising, I would rather work solo and get the work done than have an “assistant” who is there to boost their own agenda over getting the work done.

Instead of seeking validation and adding that *implied heavy sigh that no one is giving you a chance, go out and create the opportunities, find them with some research or just take some time and learn about the business instead of asking for a leg up.

Redefining the Boundaries

Having just made a call to one of my business contacts in India, we are both reading from the same page when it comes to our business. Unless we have a HUGE amount of money to spend on PR and marketing (which at the moment I don’t) we are not going to get the gigs we deserve or have worked to get because we cannot campaign or PAY for the role.

Redefining the Boundaries

Another major disappointment is the fact I am spending a great deal of my time working for other people and not really getting the return on what is ostensibly an investment of time.

What does this mean for the future of JamesC and by extension The Lost project.

First off there will be a continuation of support for my current slate of clients and brands, but this will be done via email. This will allow us to be a little more flexible about the extent of work I do however I won’t be travelling out of my own pocket to events etc, I will be taking on sponsors or charging a stipend for my time and I no longer feel that there is a gain for me.

Another element that will be looked at is Location. At the moment Scotland is just not working for me and I do have offers that could potentially see me leave long term but given my age and concerns about my pension (if I am working at 70 its because I want to not because I have to), will be a primary concern.

Film is going to be made the main concern for the future and again, there will be terms and conditions laid out in advance the first and most important is to be payment.

In the next month I will be working to redevelop my marketing strategies, redevelop my portfolio and put the emphasis BACK on my own business and not that of others to the same degree.

I am sad to be thinking like this but from a realistic stand point I have to focus on my family and my business first and foremost.

Reaching Out For Experience as a Student

When you are at college it can be a daunting prospect finding work experience and reaching out through social media can be the first port of call for many.  Aside from that what can you do?  Is there a method that would work that will allow you to find work yourself and promote your skills? 

reaching out

Let's start with film, TV and theatre.  

While there are many groups that are dedicated to film and TV you need to customise your approach to the market.  I know you're a student, I appreciate you want the experience but be realistic, you need to make money too and your skill set is developing.   

Colleges and universities also have media studies departments and a makeup artist can be a bonus for student films, *always ask permission to take photos and share the images.  Student films can be fun and often a good learning curve for fresh talent as your all learning together what works and what doesn't. 

Do some digging, google is your friend, make use of this FREE service and do some checking on meetups and media access centres in your area.  They are always looking for new faces to work with and you can even assist.  

Assisting is a contentious one, a lot of people feel that they are ready to roll still at college or not, which is not a smart move in my experience.  Being an assistant lets you talk to more experienced people and takes the pressure off you to perform as someone else is in charge and you are there to learn.  How can that be a bad thing?? 

If you decide to reach out to an artist here are some good ground rules:  

  • Look at their work. 
  • Find out what they are about.
  • Check their social media.
  • Understand that they will be busy and may take time to respond.  
  • Don't come to the table combative, be open to learning and don't expect to be working to your own rules.

Being a makeup student and doing you're own research is essential, its part of the process and will serve you well when you graduate. The more you do now, the easier the transition will be when you graduate.    

 

Creating a Buzz

When it comes to promoting a business on a micro to zero budget, which many of us have to or find simpler depending on their targets.  We need to stop thinking in terms of creating a buzz and effective use of images and other aspects of social structure.  

creating a buzz

Taking into consideration as a makeup artist, I am asked to do events which are particularly problematic when it comes to advertising and often support.  

What I do is TALK to the client and set up a strategic plan that will benefit us both, this often is done on a zero budget and requires a little effort on my part and theirs.  The first thing that needs to be agreed is a contract and written terms for advertising my involvement in the event and of course a business overview for the company/event so that I can approach companies for sponsorship either for my segment as an individual or for the shows entire makeup department. 

Fashion events can be a huge potential avenue for support and marketing that can be lucrative (see MAC covering a variety of events and projects).  

Treating each event as a potential marketing avenue for a brand I have to then sit down and create the look, talk to the brand and show a comprehensive plan of action to promote the company that will be beneficial and drive traffic to their sites and generates sales. 

Asking for brand support is a huge undertaking and requires a lot more than just a few selfies and flyer.  

Making effective use of free social media platforms can be a huge part of this and has to be taken into account with the effective use of hashtags and search terms, a minimal investment of time can make the difference between a successful event and a failure.  

Creating a buzz for free is entirely possible and can be done with a carefully constructed plan, the method of "if we make it they shall come," does not work in the long term.  

Setting Up New Shoots

It feels like an eternity since I have been out to shoot new work and now I am pulling together another shoot with two fantastic new agency models.  

Beach shoot

Starting out with the fantastic shoot at the weekend with Stef (an amazing Italian photographer), all based around the simple beauty of headshot work, to now working with the same two models to create something a little more editorial. 

Of course, I will be doing some brand integration, this time it will be jewellery from Gentlemen's Chuckaboo and more from EX1 cosmetics and my new favourite Lola Cosmetics.  

Set on the beach, at the request of the models who wanted something different, this will be a relaxed shoot with a twist of the tribal and editorial that both Anna and Steven wanted to add to their portfolio's. 

Something that will be heavily integrated into this will be makethemake brushes and as a trial run, I will add kitstars to the mix to see how they perform.  Insider tip, they are fantastic brushes so I am not worried.  

Are you blocking your own Business?

blocking your business

Talking to other artists ranging from actors to directors I hear a variation of a central theme about makeup artists that is becoming a worrying trend.  Here are some of the examples of the issues brought up concerning booking a makeup artist: 

  1. Why do they read messages and not respond on social media? 
  2. Why is it I have to chase these people around?  
  3. Why do they book a job and then dictate how and when they will work? 

There are a few more but let's start with these three and break them down.  

  1. Not responding on social media when you are a business is stupid period.  A potential client approaching you who is willing to negotiate generally needs a response and if you are not interested or unavailable then the simple answer is to tell them politely.  Ignoring them will put you on the no-touch list for future gigs.  
  2. When you are freelance you rely on clients contacting you about potential work and that means responding to emails, social media messages, and phone calls.  When a client has to chase you around to get you to respond they will quickly get bored and assume your not interested, forcing them to move to the next person on their list, ergo you lose money.  
  3. The one I find the most telling is from a recent conversation with a client, she booked a shoot, having spent time going back and forward via text and Facebook (the artist would not meet for coffee or take a call due to "scheduling issues"), only to have the person be a no-show for the shoot despite assurances that they would attend.  So a lot of time and energy went into something that was business based.  Which in turn drove the photographer to me who was willing to sit down at the table and TALK about what could be done and arrange a test shoot that will benefit us all.  I have had this happen several times and frankly, I find it really sad, if you are not a business and this is a hobby that is fine but let's get real here, other people are in this for the money and work towards goals.  

Do not get me wrong I have made mistakes as well, however, there needs to be a degree of culpability and some sense of business: 

Don't claim a skillset and title unless you can justify it and are willing to do the work.  

Building the Trust with Brands

Building trust with a brand is something I work hard on, creating a sense of support and mutual benefit is the key to this dynamic.  So how can this be done in a productive manner? 

Start by being realistic in your expectations.  If you are starting out and have no background or identifiable demographic (organically built and not bought) you need to treat this as a starting point. 

Planning and the business of working with a brand
  • Identify your target audience
  • Look at your style of work as a video blogger or writer and ensure that the content matches the audience that you are working toward grabbing. 
  • Grammarly and Squarespace are both excellent tools for this and can be used to showcase your talents well. 
  • Websites are a major bone of contention with me, I personally think that spending as little as £20 a month (less than the cost of that uber shiny brush you must have) will actually benefit you long term.  

Showcase your talents, if you are a makeup artist, show your best work and focus on the skill set you bring to the table and be upfront about what you offer.  Brands identify and support those who bring a sense of business to the table and can give as much as they receive.  For example: 

When I talk to a brand I am lucky I can provide a media pack from the magazine I work for and show previous articles, sometimes I do a general overview piece and then I contact the brand to discuss the possibility of doing a second more product-specific piece.  This can be advantageous and has provided me with support in the form of PR packages which I thin do the smart thing and add it to my shoots and do some product placement for the brand.

I always make sure that I maximise the potential of the work by sharing it across my social media and tagging with hashtags and of course notification to the brand.  

Its all about building a sense of trust and managing the placement of my work.  Smart long-term planning will give you a better working relationship with the brands you approach, its all about planning and business.  

A New Avenue

Yesterday was fun, I had a meeting with a lovely young photographer in Glasgow who wanted to talk to me directly about working together and finding a middle ground about costs, style and she wanted to discuss doing a test shot or trade test to see how we worked together.  

There is something refreshing about that I really appreciate.  

lens

What it does it opens up the debate about how we work and treat professionals who approach us. There seems to be a discrepancy in the discussion process that requires a little adjustment if people are to progress.  

One of the problems I am seeing and hearing is people want the work handed to them without any kind of effort.  I take no issue in doing a trade test for someone new if (as in this case) we can agree on terms: 

  • Test shoots should be test shoots and not a commercial venture where only one or two people are earning.  
  • Phone calls and meeting for a coffee to talk business is a necessity, your first impression truly does matter.    
  • Come to the meeting with clear goals and a sense of what you can and can't do, this is not the time to decide that a week/month/year/two years of training and minimal experience is the deciding factor on your getting the gig.  It's not.  
  • Don't sell a skillset you do not have.  if the person you are meeting is smart they will have done their due diligence and checked you out.  *It should be noted that this was done yesterday and the lovely young lady I met DID check my work, my websites, and social media and stated it happily whilst listening to my offer.  

The fantastic part of my meeting yesterday was the fact that we both had a clear idea of what we wanted and found a middle ground that worked, I did not demand nor did she, a package that would benefit only one person. 

The outcome of this was simple: a trade test with two agency models (minimum) one male and one female so she can see how I do men's grooming work and a piece on her new business using the images will be written as a form of advertorial and video footage will be created to augment this for PR on ALL sides.  Which means that I can do some product placement for the shoot which is excellent and will be a nice bonus for the whole team.  

As a professional artist, I am also a business and meeting someone who wants to create and run a business with skills and not cost being the deciding factor on hiring is refreshing. 

Russia Modest Fashion Week

It is always gratifying when a major player in the fashion world contacts me and asks for my support be it PR terms or as a consultant.  Which is why I was extremely flattered when I was contacted by the team from Russia Modest Fashion Week.

Something I am really keen to do is bring talent to the foreground and put the focus heavily on the designers and artists.  

There is something immensely gratifying about being recognised for my work and dedication to the creative arts.  Over the next few weeks I will be revealing more details about the event and of course one of my favourite London Shows: House of iKons London with Lady K media.   

Naturally I am going to still be working with the team from Scotland internaiton fashion festival who have been amazing about the show and are hugely supportive and working closely with a variety of designers and brands.