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How to Find an Amazing Makeup/Hair Stylist

How to Find an Amazing Makeup/Hair StylistTHE Q:

“Hi Molly,
I’m a professional portrait photographer, who is becoming more popular with Boudoir clients. Boudoir is quickly becoming my favorite type of shoot. I would like to offer my clients the option of having their hair & makeup done professionally in my studio before their shoot, but I don’t know how to go about finding someone to do it. Would I approach a salon owner or a stylist individually? I spoke to my stylist who is interested in doing it, but he wants the clients to go to his salon to have it done. I prefer to have it done in my studio, for the convenience of my clients. Any advice on how to go about finding someone? What types of questions would I ask him/her? Any advice you can provide would be greatly appreciated.”


This is such a great question! I firmly believe that if you’re offering boudoir sessions you NEED to be including hair and makeup services. Not only are they an amazing incentive for your clients but they cut down on your editing time as a photographer as well as taking the shoot to a new level of professionalism.

Even before you begin looking for a hair/makeup stylist I would decide whether you want your client to go to that salon right before your shoot OR if you want the hair/makeup stylist to do the styling in your studio. It’s important to know which way you want to do it because there are a lot of rules and regulations that go along with the beauty industry. Also, some stylists may be ok with traveling to your studio and some may not. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons to both sides. From there you can decide which will be best for your studio and yourself.

CONS to having your client go to the salon and then your studio separately:
-There will be other people in the salon so it might be harder for them to keep their boudoir shoot 100% private
-There will be a tad more scheduling and emailing with your client
-It might take a little bit longer depending how far the salon is from your studio
-It’s more work for your client and may break up the experience
-You may have to meet them at the salon otherwise if somebody were late you wouldn’t know about it
-You may have to meet them at the salon to oversee the hair/makeup
-If you partner with a salon you might like some of the stylists but not all
-I’v found that stylists in salons are sometimes much more trained in hair then in makeup

PROS to having your client go to the salon and then your studio separately:
-You won’t have to worry about any licensing or health department laws
-Legally it is all on the salon if something were to happen
-You wouldn’t need to have a studio
-Your clients could pay the salon directly if you really didn’t want to deal with that aspect
-If you partnered with a salon they might have multiple people so if one was sick or a no show they could just use somebody else there that day

CONS to in studio hair/makeup styling:
-You would need to have a studio
-You need to make sure you’re complying with all your state health and beauty regulations
-There may be a fee associated with getting lisencing for your studio to preform these services (each state is different as you state health department)
-All legal aspects are now on you
-If the makeup artist is sick, late or no show you need to have a backup on call or you’re just SOL

PROS to in studio hair/makeup styling:
-Everything is 100% private
-The client only needs to come to one location for everything
-You’re in control of everything and overseeing it every step of the way
-You’re able to create the ambiance etc. for the whole experience
-You can hire individually the artists you love the most

Once you’ve decided if you want to have in house hair/makeup OR go the salon route next it’s time to find that makeup artist or salon, yippee! My #1 TIP is to put a day or two on your calendar where you can “interview” these stylists. You must must must love their personality as much as their hair/makeup skills! Follow these next steps to complete the process:

STEP 1: Decided on in salon services or in your studio services
STEP 2: Put days aside on your calendar to meet and interview potential makeup/hair stylists
STEP 3: Put a call out for hair/makeup stylists (see below for marketing tips)
STEP 4: Set up interviews with potential stylists that you like
STEP 5: At their interview have them do trial hair/makeup on you, an intern or a friend (my interns love when they get free hair/makeup, just sayin hah!)
STEP 6: Narrow down to your favorite and team up, bam baby!

Good questions to ask stylists during the “interview:”
-Where did you receive your education?
-Will you style hair AND do the makeup? (some will only do either or and you typically want one to do both)
-Are you a licensed beautician?
-Are you a timely person?
-What makeup line do you use? Do you also sell the makeup/products you will be using?
-Why do you love doing hair/makeup?

-Make a status on your personal facebook about the call for a MUA (encourage people to share on their fb walls)
-Call salons and let them know you’re hiring (or that you’re interested in partnering and would love to schedule time to chat)
-Put up flyers at local beauty schools or call the beauty schools and let them know inquiring stylists can email you

-Let you friends know you’re looking to hire (most of the stylists I’v hired I met through word of mouth)
-Make an email template and email local salons or stylists you find on google. Let them know what you’re looking for and if they’re interested they can email you to set up an interview.

If you enjoyed this post and would love to learn from me on how to shoot smarter in your boudoir business I’d love for you to grab a complementary coaching call here

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Molly Keyser

Boudoir photographer and business coach, I am dedicated to changing the world with the power of a camera. Originally from Wisconsin, I'm now in Texas, but I help photographers around the world learn how to go full-time with boudoir photography.