Interview: Working With A Hair & Makeup Artist As A Photographer

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💄Tune in for this week’s exclusive interview with my hair & make-up artist of 5 years, Liz Martin. We talk about all things business, how to foster your business relationships and tips on being the most effective and efficient make-up artist for photographers.

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About Jenn Bruno Smith:
After leaving a successful career as a ​speech ​pathologist and clinical liaison, ​Jenn moved into pursuing her business full time. ​She has been shooting boudoir exclusively for 4 year​s​ and teaching marketing and business to the photography industry​ for the last two.

Jenn is a featured educator in the Do More Forum and AIBP. She is a guest blogger for Skip Cohen University and her work has been featured on Fstoppers. ​Jenn enjoys mentoring other photographers and teaching them her ninja business ways​. She also enjoys ​spending time with her family and ​three small children,​ as well as sleeping (when she finds the time).

You can catch up with Jenn in her group The High Rollers Club- IPS, Business and Marketing for Boudoir photographers

About Liz Martin:
Liz Martin is a freelance Makeup Artist and licensed Esthetician with 10 years of experience. She is located in Wilmington, DE but travels anywhere upon request. She offers makeup for Photoshoots, Runway, Weddings, Events, Spa and Makeup Parties and Lessons. Check her out at:


Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:00:00] Hey, guys, Jenn Bruno Smith here from the High Rollers Club. I’m here with Liz Martin. She is my amazing makeup artist that I’ve been working with for like 4 or 5, going on 5 years, which as you guys know in the industry, it’s actually pretty rare to have a relationship that last that long with a makeup artist or another vendor. So I just figured that we would do a quick interview and talk about what makes it work for us. OK, so Liz, tell me about your business first. Tell me about what you do when you’re not here doing hair and makeup for me every day.

Liz Martin: [00:00:35] Yep. So I’ve been a licensed esthetician for 16 years now. So when I’m not working with Jen, makeup-wise I do a lot of pageants, I do a lot of brides, I do a lot of different photography, not a lot of boudoir. Jun’s kind of the one and only for that.

Liz Martin: [00:00:54] So I do a lot of headshots, corporate headshots. And then when I’m not doing makeup and hair, I have a spa up in North Wilmington. We’re actually going to move to Cristiana soon and expand. So it’ll be a salon as well. But I do the permanent makeup eyebrows. I do facials. I do waxing. I specialize in brown shaping.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:01:13] The queen of all things brow and face! So what do you think makes it work with us? Like we’ve been working together for so long. And the one thing I hear from photographers like everywhere is how do I find a makeup artist that I can work with and can keep working with? So what do you think makes it work? Besides the fact that you love me and have you booked until the end of next year.

Liz Martin: [00:01:42] I think availability is one of the main things. I think being able to do both is really a big thing, like makeup and hair. A lot of photographers, you know, they’ll find makeup artists. But, you know, that makeup artist doesn’t know how to do hair or the other way around.

Liz Martin: [00:02:02] I think that we both have a passion for running our own businesses. So we both respect each other in that aspect, you know, respect each other’s time. You know, you’re trying to run a business. I’m trying to run a business. So the easier we make it for each other, the better it’s going to be. I think that’s the main thing that works.

Liz Martin: [00:02:23] And I just I like to really be available. So if there’s any makeup artists out there that are watching that or like how do I get to, you know, the photography, just really make sure you’re available, you know? Photographers only gonna ask once or twice. And if you’re too hard to book, they’re just gonna move on.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:02:44] Yeah, that’s really good advice. That’s very true. And I tell a lot I tell that to my students a lot, too, that whenever clients inquire, you need to respond quickly and you need to be right on it. And I think it’s the same with makeup artists, too. So, you’re running your own business and you happen probably longer than I have. So what is your number one piece of advice to all of the business owners that are watching?

Liz Martin: [00:03:11] Caring. I would say caring about clients, because if you don’t have the client, the client is your business. I think people, you know, they think they can burn a few people, my number one thing is I’m not going to burn anybody. I’m not going to let anybody have anything bad to say about my business. If there’s somebody that, you know, had a bad experience or, you know, not as good as they wished. I’m gonna make it, you know, known that I care. I think a lot of people, they get into business and they’re like, oh, well, if they don’t like me, then screw them. But you know, that client is your business. If you make your client happy, that client’s gonna go out and tell ten of their friends, oh, my gosh, you know, Jenn Smith was just amazing. And, you know, I’ve never had a photographer like her. So, you know, and that’s that’s what kind of so caring about not only your client, but your business and the look of it and what people think about it, because it doesn’t take long to get burned, especially around here.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:04:17] Yeah. Small state. That’s great advice. So one thing that Les is notorious for is when she comes in, hair and makeup is done in 45 minutes to an hour. No matter who walks through my door, no matter what they look like. No matter what their hair looks like. Every time she does it, it amazes me because they look incredible every single time. So I’m sure their makeup artist watching. I know there are photographers watching them want to tell their makeup artists some of these things. So what are your tips like? How do you work so fast? How do you do it and how do you make them look so good every single time.

Liz Martin: [00:04:50] Thank you. Well, actually, I have a process, so I do. I do the eyes first.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:04:58] Wait. Did I hear you say that you have a system?. You guys haven’t heard me say that before. Systems work no matter what profession you’re in, right? Sorry to interrupt you.

Liz Martin: [00:05:07] No, no. That makes that’s actually because I have a system. And the more you implement it, the faster you get. You know, it’s like how you say every time, you know, the client sits down and I hear you say the same things every time and it flows. So just like that. With makeup, I apply it in a certain step-by-step system so that I’m not slowing myself down like I do the eyes first, because then the powder drops under the eyes. So why would I do the foundation first?

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:05:39] And that’s a big difference that I see other makeup artists doing, is they’ll do the foundation first and then they have to, then they’ll do the eyes and then they have to redo go back in touch.

Liz Martin: [00:05:52] Yeah, it’s saving you a lot of time. But I’ve been doing it for 16 years and in the beginning when I used to go to Philly to try to get my portfolio together. Oh, my gosh. I remember this one photographer was like, you know, I love you. You’re a great artist, but man, you take forever. And it was like an hour and a half like, you know, and so you have to the more you do it, the better you get. You implement that system and it starts to work for you. And, you know, now that the girls that work with me, like Madison, she comes for when I can’t come for Jen. I taught her my system and she’s right on the time. So, you know, it’s just really finding what works for you and that kind of thing.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:06:39] The other thing that I see you doing that, you know, other hair and makeup artists don’t necessarily do what they work with me is, or when they do actually like my hair and makeup is they’ll set the hair first.

Liz Martin: [00:06:49] Yes.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:06:50] And why do you do that? Why do you set the hair before you do the makeup?

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:06:55] So I do that because, one, it’s not in their face when I do their hair. Second, because when you set hair, you know, it’s cooling in the shape that you set it into. So usually I’ll curl the whole head around the face. I use the rollers. So it’s cooling. So when you take that set down, the curl actually is going to stay and it’s going to be nicer and smoother.

Liz Martin: [00:07:24] It makes it last longer, especially for those girls were you know, I curled their hair and I’m like, don’t touch it, you know, or pick it up and place it. That’s why I do that. And plus, it saves a little bit of time because you’re not going back and fixing again.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:07:41] Right. That’s a great idea. And do you have any advice for photographers when they get clients with, like, really thin hair? We see that a lot. You always make it always look not so thin. So do you have any advice?

Liz Martin: [00:07:56] Teasing is number 1, also, especially if you’re not shooting a lot from the back. You can really do a lot with the back. That’s what I learned from headshots. Doing headshots a lot is that, you know, you can do as much as you want up here, and that’s what’s going to matter. So back, you know, if you have to take some sides from the back and push it forward to make it look like it has more hair. But other than that, teasing and really good products. You know, and just making sure everything’s nice and smooth before you do it.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:08:38] So what is your number one pet peeve as a makeup artist? What would be like the number one thing that if someone would do? You really I’m not working with them again. Is there one thing that just really, hopefully it’s not something that I do.

Liz Martin: [00:08:50] No!

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:08:50] You’re like Jen this one thing you do every single day!

Liz Martin: [00:08:55] No! I really hate snotty people. I’m a makeup artist. But that doesn’t mean I’m you less important than a doctor or, you know, like I make people feel good for a living.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:05] I call you my better half.

Liz Martin: [00:09:06] Yes.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:07] Yes. That’s true. I couldn’t do my job without, you know.

Liz Martin: [00:09:10] Right. Right. And, you know, brides, you know, they wouldn’t look as beautiful if it wasn’t for me. I feel like when you get snotty people that are like, “oh you’re just a makeup artist!” That bothers me.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:24] It’s obnoxious.

Liz Martin: [00:09:24] One, I probably make more money than you do, lady, you know?

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:28] Right.

Liz Martin: [00:09:29] But no, I actually had one client. She was, I can’t say her name, but she’s a very, very, very well off, well-known person in the state.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:09:42] You can tell me after we stop recording.

Liz Martin: [00:09:42] Oh yeah, yeah, I’ll totally tell you.

Liz Martin: [00:09:46] But I was doing her makeup and her dog came in and she was like, well, this isn’t going the way we wanted it to, is it? And I was like, she’s literally talking to her dog. And the funny thing is, she liked it, she paid me, I didn’t charge her any extra because I’m not, you know “oh, she has so much money on a charger this” and didn’t leave me a tip. And then two weeks later asked if I was available again, her assistant called me. No, thank you. I don’t care how much money you have. If you can’t treat me like a human being. That is my biggest pet peeve. That is the only thing that.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:10:25] That’s obnoxious.

Liz Martin: [00:10:25] Yep. Nope. I will not work with you. And I’ve actually had to fire clients because of that.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:10:30] Yeah. Who wants to work with someone that doesn’t respect your time.

Liz Martin: [00:10:34] Or talks to their dog when you’re sitting there.

Liz Martin: [00:10:41] It hasn’t happened. That’s probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. But you know, she’ll never get me again, so she can go treat other people like that.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:10:52] Right.

Liz Martin: [00:10:53] But other than that.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:10:55] That’s good advice. Treat everyone how you want to be treated.

Liz Martin: [00:10:56] Exactly. You know, clients. Professionals. Do you know there’s nothing wrong with being kind.

Jenn Bruno Smith: [00:11:03] Absolutely. No, you’re absolutely right. Well, thank you so much. It’s been really helpful. I know you’re really busy today. Thanks for taking the time. Thanks, everyone, for watching. You can find me on the High Rollers Club, make sure you join our Facebook group if you have any questions you can always send me out a DM. Have a great day!

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