rates

More on Rates and Charging for your Skills...

Carrying on from my post on rates and knowing our worth my friend and wonderful fellow artist based in New York City, Victor Amos wrote the following post on his facebook page the other day and I had to share it. It illustrates exactly the kind of community spirit that needs to exist between artists and why it is so vitally important that we are all on the same page, connected and ready to challenge people that do not want to pay us what we are worth. You can see Victors beautiful work at www.VictorAmos.com and read his very lovely blog by clicking here.

"Session Artists: I'm going to let you all in on a secret, of how to get your money... You ready? Here goes: MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR COMPETITORS. Yep. I know it sounds crazy, but the only way you will earn the money you deserve is to stop trying to COMPETE with the people you should be COOPERATING with. Believe it or not, other hair stylists, makeup artists, nail techs, etc... are your friend. You have no reason to hold any ill feelings against them. In fact, OTHER ARTISTS DECIDE YOUR SALARY! Let me explain to you how this works... you need to befriend as many people, that do what trade you do, as possible, and work together. If producer A calls makeup artist A and asks them for their rate, and makeup artist A says, "$1000", and the producer says, "I can only pay you $600," then you need to tell them, "Can you give me time to check my calendar, and call you right back?" This is your time to think of a list of other makeup artists who are also qualified for the job, and let them know that you have quoted producer A a figure of $1000, and that you will be referring the job to them. Call back producer A and tell him that you are available, but cannot accept the rate, but will be kind enough to give him a few referrals to other artists who may be able to work with him. Do not negotiate. As producer A calls other artists, and he finds the solidarity, eventually, he will have to pay SOMEONE the rate. This is how you keep money in the industry. As long as there is someone out there willing to accept less, you will never be able to ask for what you deserve. This is what agencies do for their artists, and there is no reason that we, as freelancers, cannot stick together and do the same thing. I encourage you to repost this, no matter what your freelance trade, and make an effort to stop working AGAINST your fellow artists, and yet, work together to ensure the prosperity and longevity of our trade as a career, and not a hobby ♥ -Victor"


For more words of wisdom and an insight into the makeup world in NYC go to his facebook page and click "like"...Victor Amos Facebook

These things are not OK. OK?

With the dawn of a digital age and the fact that the world and her wife have access to the internet, free website makers, url's being at an all time low price etc etc it can often seem like the universe has been flooded with "creatives" who woke up one day and thought "Oh I have loads of makeup already and I can do a mean smoky eye on myself...I must be a makeup artist!". Actually it doesn't seem like that, that is exactly how it is.

Like anything this has pros and cons for our industry. Pros being raised awareness of what we do, more market choice and my favourite, the freedom and availability of information to do with our trade. The cons are so numerous I almost feel sick thinking about it.


What happens when lots and lots of unqualified, inexperienced people suddenly decide that what we do isnt really that difficult? Well the biggest thing I see is that ethics go out the window. Morals disappear. The hunger for a tiny slab of success or the ability to say "oh I became a makeup artist once, it was easy" literally make people go insane.


With all this in mind I thought I would write about the top "no no's" that I see on a daily basis. They started when the internet became the most viable and instantaneous way of marketing ourselves and our work. It is not exclusively reserved for makeup artists either. I think most of these faux pas apply to freelance creatives as a whole. Its a community issue!


Number 1: Image theft.


Here's the scenario. Someone leaves college. They don't want to have to graft to the top like the rest of us because you know, that would mean working. So they get themselves a web designer, hand over a load of photos that they have plucked from different artists and photographers sites and get them to make a pretty little portfolio for them. A portfolio which contains absolutely none of their handy work. When caught out, said web designer provides them with a cover story. "It wasnt me, my web designer did it and it went live before I could stop them!" Yeah...thats not how things work.


The sad thing is that the first part of that last paragraph is inaccurate. Its not just newbies that do this. Over the course of 10 years I have come across top level, serious award winning artists that have thought a good way of filling a gap in their portfolio was to simply take it from another artist. The most recent was a woman who has half the internet (including professional organisations) convinced she is some Lisa Eldridge level celebrity makeup artist who has worked on everyone from the Spice Girls to U2. Done every event, award ceremony, festival. You name it. She even has a show reel full of clips from films she never set foot on. Before myself and another artist uncovered her lies, her whole online portfolio and professional branding was chock full of stolen work. Estee Lauder campaigns, magazine covers and celebrities she has never so much as glanced at from across a room. The scariest thing is that people believe her because "the internet" says so. You put up a website, throw the word celebrity around and gather some pictures up from wherever you like and people will buy it. Terrifying huh? This particular person now has no online portfolio. Once the relevant artists were informed that she had stolen from them and she was flat out told to remove the work she literally had nothing left.


This is NOT ok. There is such a thing called copyright and intellectual property rights when it comes to the legal aspect but what about the moral aspect? Ripping people off for what? Once these people get found out their reputation never recovers and their career is over. Simple as that.


Number 2: Lying on your resume/CV


I can keep this short and sweet. If you claim to have been published in "Vogue" or say you have worked on a number of celebrities and you haven't  people can tell. They can tell by the quality of your work. So you look ridiculous and you can bet your life that people will be talking about you behind your back for all the wrong reasons.


Number 3: Constant tweeting and retweeting of praise...(includes facebook and blog posts)


Now don't get me wrong, blogging in any form always has a certain level of self involvement. The very act of starting a blog usually means you think someone is going to read it. The difference lies in the content. I will skip over the sheer horror of the grammar I see on some popular blogs and just concentrate on what I like to call "Ego Bloggers" or "Daily Mail Bloggers".


I love seeing people succeed. Especially when they are lovely, and talented and generous and humble. What I don't like is people who do nothing but gloat and brag and retweet sycophantic tweets ALL day and night. Why do these people think we need to read it 20 times in the space of an hour? We get it, you've done something mediocre that the world MUST know about or human kind will die out.


What these people don't realise is that real working, jobbing artists don't have time. People who are successful and working simply cannot spend that much time on social media. These little things called actual jobs get in the way you see. Real, working pros also think that the above type of people are hilarious pillars of amusement. They might not come out and say it. They may even follow these people because its funny but behind the scenes we pass them off as amateurs who are in it for an ego boost. Don't believe me? Go and look at the twitter pages of the top top artists. Alex Box, Val "The Queen" Garland, Alex Babsky, Jane Bradley etc. then compare that with post for praisers and you will get my point.


Can I also just add that if you ever see me doing any of the above, please stage an intervention. Thanks!


Number 4: Sticking the word "celebrity" in front of makeup artist when you have done one Z lister/reality star.


NO. Just stop it. Its embarassing. If you actually look at the artists who work on celebrities for 99% of their career, even they dont call themselves that! STOP IT.


This post has turned out far more ranty than I orginally intended but its better out than in. I would LOVE you to share some of your industry pet hates in the comments! Let it out guys and dolls...let it out.

Printed Portfolio Books


A lovely reader had some questions about the use of printed portfolio books so I thought it would make a great blog post!

My Book: Glossy white 11x14.
My printed book (pictured left) is 11 x 14 inches and made by Pina Zangaro) . This seems to be the most common, standard size that our industry uses. It is by no means absolute though. I have known some photographers to have huge printed books because of the high impact and detail it gives when they are showing their work and likewise I have seen beautiful smaller 8 x 10 books. Its a personal preference at the end of the day.

Inside my book the prints are all 11x14 and fill the wallets as you can see in this picture. However makeup artist Vanessa Collins (see her print book and link further down) chose 8.5x11 for her prints so that they look uniform against her tear sheets from magazines and print campaigns. Such a brilliant idea that had never occurred to me!


 


I think the most important aspect of your printed book should be the print and work quality within it. Don't scrimp on your prints! Always go with the highest quality that your budget allows. If to start with that's only a few pounds then hunt down the best, budget printers you can find. Local independent labs can often be both high quality and low cost and many will do a deal with you should you be printing off lots of pictures at once. My favourite high end printers is The Print Space. They are by no means cheap but the quality is unparalleled in my opinion. I know a lot of photographers that use them too.

Matte or glossy prints? 

Again, its personal preference I think. I prefer the way makeup looks in a matte print. I also think that once you add the glossy wallet over the top, glossy prints can give off too much glare. Go with what you prefer.

How many prints?

Here is the philosophy I work to:

It is better to have 5 stunning pictures than 15-20 average ones.


In my book at the moment I have 26 shots of my absolute best work. No fillers. No mediocre tear sheets "just for the sake of it". No outdated looks or weak models. You are only as good as your weakest shot. Remember that. As your work grows and you expand your portfolio by working with better teams, then add and replace. Constantly work on your book to make it the absolute best it can look. Furtermore, you should be tailoring your book depending on the client you are going to see. Research the client and see what their usual preference is. If its clean and pretty then a book full of creative colourful work will either scare them or make them think you arent the right fit for them. Just like a book full of clean commercial work wont float the boat of a high fashion, editorial photographer.

Where and what to buy?

There are so many options when it comes to buying your portfolio book it can seem a bit daunting. One of my favourite companies is Brewer-Cantelmo. The choice and diversity of the books they offer is amazing and there is truly something for everyone. One of my first books was from them. It was a raspberry red fabric 11x14 embossed book. It was beautiful. Beautiful and totally impractical. The realisation of this was something quite heart breaking as I spent a lot of money on it. The fabric meant that as soon as it was handled a lot, the natural oils and grubbiness of peoples hands marked and stained the fabric and made it impossible to keep looking clean and professional. The slightest mark looked like a massive stain and made it rather stressful when I went on go sees to show my book. That's when I switched to the book I have now. Because its acrylic its wipe clean and the scratches don't show due to its glossy white finish.

Fellow Makeup Artist's book
When choosing your book its so easy to go with something visually stunning that matches your style. Whether that's bright red PVC (like my current iPad case ;) ) or purple suede (swoon!) but the practicalities of carrying your book around whilst lots of people touch it means that, unfortunately plain leather or acrylic is the most practical. Take Vanessa Collins (all round kick ass makeup artist) for example. Her book in the following picture is 11 x 14, black embossed leather. It looks smart, neat and professional. I would also say that 90% of the creatives I know have a black, leather book. Leather looks nice as it ages and handling leather books actually keeps them soft and lush looking.


Digital Books and alternative presentation

Ipad Portfolio
There is also a current "Digital Revolution" happening (just in case you hadn't noticed haha!) and many people are switching from printed books, to ipad/tablet books. I currently have some of my book on my iPad and should probably get a move on and transfer all of my book over so I have the option of showing my portfolio when I'm not expecting to. I wont give up my printed book anytime soon because it looks so pretty...I mean its still the industry standard. Obviously. Ahem. Having your portfolio on your smartphone or tablet device is a really convenient way of showing your work on the fly. It means you always have it to hand, which can only be a good thing.


My friend and all time favourite photographer Keith Clouston has an innovative and rather genius way of showing his book. You can see it on the following video by Pixiwoo's Sam Chapman. This way of promoting your book not only shows the client how your work actually looks in a "magazine" style setting but you can also leave a physical copy of it with them for their reference! Cool huh?




Any questions or comments please leave them below!