FAQ to a Working Makeup Artist

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FAQ to a Working Makeup Artist

Frequently Asked Questions –
I thought I would share some of the most common questions that I get asked while working as a makeup artist.

 

What type of makeup do you use? This is probably the most asked question when anyone approaches the makeup station.  I don’t work for or represent any brand or cosmetic company.  I use what I feel are the best products for the job.  At any point in time you can find a range of products in my kit from luxury & department store brands to professional makeup for print and tv.  Yes, there’s even some drug store finds in my kit as well.  What type of makeup I bring to the job depends on the needs for that day.  Some of my favorite brands are Makeup Forever, Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown, Hourglass Cosmetics, Chanel, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Anastasia Beverly Hills, OCC Cosmetics, and Viseart.

 

How did you make my eyebrows look like that? I’m obsessed with making brows flawless.  They’re so important in framing your eyes, and rounding out the lines that follow into your cheekbones.  They’re practically never identical in symmetry so I use brow powder to even them out versus over plucking them into oblivion.  I’m a huge fan of Anastasia Brow Powders and a flat edged brush.  Powders have a tendency to look more natural than a pencil or gel, especially when brushed through with a spoolie.

 

What do you use to clean your makeup brushes?    I’m huge on sanitation.  If you keep a clean kit, people really appreciate it.  I can’t tell you how many times someone in the makeup chair shares a recent story of working with another makeup artist who didn’t follow proper sanitation techniques and used dirty brushes on a client.  I use Parian Spirit while I’m set to clean my brushes.  Once a brush has been used on a person, it is cleaned and sanitized before it is used on someone else.  I fully shampoo my brushes at home.  Gentle shampoos, and baby shampoo are ok, I prefer to use something with an antibacterial property as well.

 

My (girlfriend, daughter, cousin) wants to be a makeup artist?  There are a lot of paths that lead to becoming a makeup artist.  How you prepare yourself as a professional and the training and experience you seek really depend on your career goals.  If at all possible I recommend a college degree to start.  There’s a business and communication side to being a makeup artist that has absolutely no relation to how skilled you are at doing makeup.  You can attend beauty schools, assist seasoned makeup artists, work for a makeup company, freelance, do makeup for weddings, or work for retail makeup counters etc.  I’ve met many talented artists who are very successful in the industry.  No one has the exact same career path, but I think the college degree is a good place to start and assist if you can.

 

Is this really your job, how fun!?  How did you become a makeup artist?  I have loved makeup, fashion, and beauty since I was a young girl.  I was a good kid, but the one thing I would get in trouble for is playing in my mother’s makeup drawer.  It was too much fun, I couldn’t stop playing with makeup.  In my teens, I poured over fashion magazines and started to experiment with how subtle makeup changes could transform my look.  I absolutely loved the transformation process.  Whether it’s a subtle or dramatic transformation.  I love enhancing beauty.  Eventually I found the Kevyn Aucoin and Bobbi Brown makeup books at the bookstore and I couldn’t help but be amazed by the power of makeup can have over someone’s appearance.  I went to college and received at my bachelor’s in Psychology.  My senior year of college I started testing and building a portfolio.  Eventually my portfolio was strong enough to book small jobs, and the rest is a very long drawn out slow and steady progression of building a career to becoming a key makeup artist for shows and tv commercials.

 

What’s your favorite thing about being a makeup artist?  There are several things that make me very happy when I think of my job….

–  One of the obvious things is I’m a makeup product expert and I get to play with makeup and try new things “for work”.

–  I also love working behind the scenes and being part of the creative process.  It’s pretty fantastic when a good creative team works collectively and creates images, video, or film that is amazing.  I love being on that team.

– I get to go to a ton of different locations and occasionally travel.  The range of people I have met on this journey is pretty incredible from actors and models, CEO’s of large corporations, members of the NFL, NBA, MBL, musicians, the occasional celebrity, public figures, military officials, teachers, doctors, activists, investment bankers and even a female astronaut.  Working with actors and models is fun, but I also truly enjoy working with real people.  I get such a kick out of the boost in confidence that people have after having their makeup and hair done.  I know I’m not changing the world, but I do like bringing out the beauty and confidence from within.

 

What’s your favorite shoot you have worked on?  I have many shoots that come to mind for a lot of reasons.  Sometimes the location is really fun, or we are shooting fun content for a production.  I find the shoots that I walk away and I am most happy, really comes down to the crew you’re working with.  When you are working with the right team, it’s meant to be.

 

When you curl my hair, the curl lasts all day, how? I love being told that “my hair will not hold a curl” and then making some one’s hair hold a curl.  Usually the reaction is amazement, and then next comes the “How did you do that” questions.  My answer to this is “It’s all about how you prep the hair, and the technique you use to curl”.  The type of iron you use can make a difference.  I carry titanium curling irons in my hair kit.  They can be a little overkill in the heat department if you don’t know where to set the heat setting.  A ceramic iron is great for consistent heat, which will help your hair curl.  It’s always important not to use more heat than you need because it will lead to hair damage.  How you prep your hair really helps your curl have staying power.  Some of my favorite thermal settings sprays are Kenra Platinum Hot Spray # 20, and Oribe Soft Lacquer.  You spray a thermal spray on the section of hair, prior to curling.  Not only do these protect your hair from heat styling, they also really help hold your curl all day.  After I curl the hair, and while it is still warm.  I use alligator clips to pin set the hair.  You can use bobby pins if you do not have alligator clips.  The reason I do this is to let the hair completely cool before releasing the curl.  If you let your hair drop after curling while it’s still warm, the weight can pull your curl down.  There’s no sense in ruining all of your hard work.

Can you come live at my house and do my makeup and hair everyday?  Ha,I get asked this question literally almost every shoot and my answer is “Yes, can you pay my day rate everyday?”.  Sadly no one has answered “yes” to this question as of yet.

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading through some of the FAQ ‘s I have encountered recently.

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Makeup Time Lapse

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I recently had the opportunity to create a makeup time lapse video in studio in Atlanta with our model Bailey.   Before you get too excited about this being an amazing contouring/highlight transformation where the model looks like a completely different person, I’m afraid to tell you it’s not.  This is commercial advertising.  It’s really not about changing someone’s look as much as it is about making a believable daytime look that relates to the story.  Bailey is already gorgeous and lovely without makeup.  I was directed to keep her look fresh – where her eyes pop and she has a beautiful glow to her skin, but not too over the top.  Enjoy!


   Here is our model’s behind the scenes video that she created while on set.  You can see Keke Samberstein in there as well.  She was our stylist on this shoot.

Here is a shot of my workstation and how I styled the hair for the shoot.  I wanted to have a subtle wave to her hair for body and motion.  And in case you’re wondering – Yes, that is all of her own hair. She is genetically blessed.

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Bailey West – Actress & Model – Bailey was lovely to work with, even at the 10th hour of the day, which is saying a lot in our industry.

Keke Samberstein – Fashion Stylist wardrobe and prop stylist

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Makeup Artist Reel

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I’ve added new commercial work to my makeup artist reel.  It features my key makeup and hair work for ultra-high definition tv commercials, national advertising campaigns, television shows, and music videos I have worked on recently as a makeup artist in Atlanta.   You can watch my makeup reel in 1080p at www.kathleenmarsh.com

 

 

 

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Behind the Scenes Adventurers Shoot

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I’d like to share some behind the scenes and final images from our Adventurers shoot.  This was an amazing collaborative project I recently worked on in Atlanta.  One of my favorite things about being a makeup artist is the transformation process that happens in the makeup chair.  It was fun for me because this project required light special effects makeup to create the look of characters.

I worked with a fantastic crew on this shoot.  Josh Meister was our photographer and mastermind for the concept of the series.  Josh incorporated 7 of his own images that he photographed during his travels.  We shot the characters in Atlanta Studio Gallery L1 and Josh digitally combined the images to create the finals.  Keke Samberstein worked Wardrobe & Prop Stylist on this series.  She was responsible for pulling all of the wardrobe as well as the props which was quite an undertaking.  Keke and I worked together to create the ice, dirt, and sweat effects for the clothing.  This series was shot in one day at Gallery L1 Studio.


 

Icy Makeup Icicles Beard


 

One of my favorite characters of the series was our Mountain Climber Explorer.  This was the most intensive special effects makeup of the series.  We wanted our model to look like he was exposed to the arctic elements of an icy mountain climate.


 

 

It was important that the makeup gave his skin a visually cold appearance and icicles forming on his beard.  It’s amazing how much this makeup really looks like ice particles up close.  I applied special effects makeup to his beard and eyebrows to create the icy look.


 

Baja Desert Light Effects Makeup

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       Our models for the desert baha shot needed to look like they had been out in the hot desert sun riding for hours.  We made sure they were extra dusty and sandy.  I created a subtle layer of dirt on our model’s face, but left his goggle/eye area clean.  Both models needed a hint of glow to look like they were sweating.  When I look at the final image it looks like they really are in the middle of the desert.  The reality is we shot this in a studio in January.  I grabbed a quick behind the scenes pic of the studio while this was being shot.


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Stephanie was our model for the jungle explorer shot.  When discussing her look, we joked that she needed to look like she was recently in a fight, but she won.  She is still exploring the jungle.  I added scrapes and cuts to her face and hands.  We worked together to add dirt and sweat to the wardrobe.  Once again, this was shot in a studio in January, but thanks to an amazing team the final result is amazing.

Josh Meister – Atlanta photographer specializing in advertising, editorial, and portraits.

Keke Samberstein – Atlanta based fashion stylist whose specialties include wardobe, props, laydowns, fashion, editorial, stills and video.

Gallery L1 – Atlanta Rental Studio – The gallery is available to rent as independent and commercial film/video/photography location or studio space. Gallery L1 serves as a host to artist workshops, screenings, art parties, critiques and exhibitions as well.

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Behind the Scenes in Atlanta GA

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There’s a lot of fun that comes along with working behind the scenes in tv production.  As a joke this sign was made by a crew member.  “This is NOT a Garage Sale”.  I totally see the humor in this sign, possibly because I’m part of the TV production crew that constantly sees people slamming on their brakes coupled with the blank stare trying to figure out what is going on.  Some onlookers are a little more brazen and have no problem asking some nosy questions. We don’t really have to answer but usually will if people are polite. This sign was made out of frustration on this particular reality TV set because people actually thought it was a garage sale and were walking onto the property.  Nothing to see here people, just an interior design reality tv show production.  When we set up to shoot a reality tv show production in someone’s home, there can be multiple production trucks, and a small fleet of crew vehicles that might cause people to stare.  Here’s a few of the behind the scenes shots from one of the shows I worked on a few years ago.


282439_10150245679666534_1529479_n          behind the scenes reality tv

On the left is a lighting set up in a living room.  The picture on the right is a picture I took of our sound guys taking a break in-between takes.  They just happened to be relaxing in the perfect photo opp scenario.  As they say there’s a whole lot of “hurry up and wait” in our industry.  This would be a prime example of the waiting…..


301034_10150299301732224_910275079_n    This was a fun location shoot in an Atlanta warehouse.  It wasn’t so fun that we shot this in July and there was no air conditioning.  A lot of big features films have been shot at this location.  Even this was from a few years ago, I clearly recall a bunch of personal portable fans, sunscreen and bug spray utilized in my makeup set bag this day.


Crew Shot

Crew Shot

And here’s the crew wrap photo from our final first season episode.

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My Favorite Concealer

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favorite concealor under eye area

 

What is your favorite concealer?  Working as a makeup artist I get asked this question a lot.  It’s a question that seems to follow me everywhere in my profession whether I’m at work or not.  Concealer is a makeup crutch that I can’t live without.  I’m a working mom in my thirties with an unpredictable schedule controlled by which production I’m working on this week.  That leads to early call times, late wrap times, and a less than desired sleep routine in between.


 

The right concealer really helps to brighten up the eye area but doesn’t have a cakey appearance.   A long time favorite concealer that is in my pro makeup kit and my personal makeup drawer is Laura Mercier Secret Concealer.  There are several reasons I love this concealer and I think the pictures speak for themselves.  I go from looking exhausted “before” concealer to very well rested “after” concealer.  Laura Mericer’s concealers have the right amount of peach tone to them which is key for counteracting the blue/grey/purple undertones in our under eye area.  This is what everyone refers to as “bags” and the term makes me cringe every time  I hear it.   A common mistake I see people make is using a concealer in a lighter shade than their skin tone in an effort to brighten the eye area.  This doesn’t usually work because you’re not counteracting the blue/grey discoloration.   You’re essentially lightening the area with makeup which can create a lighter grey version of a dark circle.  Some of my clients are a little hesitant when they see the peach toned concealer at first.  Once they see the power of this concealer it’s pretty impressive.  One of the other reasons I love this concealer is it doesn’t accentuate fine lines and wrinkles.  As our skin matures, I think it’s harder to find makeup that has the right amount of coverage yet softens our skin’s appearance.   Laura Mercier Secret Concealer doesn’t settle and move around after a few hours.  It does a great job, stays put, and keeps my eyes looking super refreshed even

concealer to brighten the under eye area

when I didn’t get a full 8 hours of beauty rest.

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Mens Grooming Yes! Men Wear Makeup

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Mens grooming makeup for tv

As soon as someone learns that I work as a makeup artist for photo shoots and sports television, one of the next questions they ask is “Do men wear makeup?”.  I know it seems ridiculous for the every day man to “wear makeup”.  Yes!  Men wear makeup and greatly benefit from having a makeup artist on set.  And yes, makeup artists help men look their best on camera for tv, film, and photo shoots.

My approach is much different for mens grooming and it differs from traditional beauty makeup.  It’s about evening out skin tone and blemishes, maintaining shine control, brightening the under eye area (when needed), hiding a recent sunburn, covering the occasional shaving mishaps, eyebrow grooming, & aiding with hair styling and the occasional haircut and trim.  The reality is without having a makeup artist on set, it can become painfully obvious under bright studio lights how much a

mens grooming makeup for tv

makeup artists assistance is required.  The progression of camera technology, high definition advances, and led lighting  has created the ability to produce an incredibly sharp more realistic image.  With that sharper image is where you start to notice things you might not have seen before, flyaway hairs, blemishes, uneven skin tone, perhaps you see that the talent appears to look like he didn’t get a full 8 hours of sleep, especially in the eye area.  The technique for makeup application for mens grooming has changed with the advances in technology.  It is a makeup artist’s goal for her men’s grooming work to appear natural and effortless.  A good makeup artist’s work is virtually undetectable. You shouldn’t “see” the makeup, that means it is too heavy.

Seasoned pros know the value of mens grooming and how the time spent in the makeup artist chair benefits their appearance on camera. I will tell you, men don’t willingly sit in the makeup chair at first.  A common concern I hear from men is that wearing makeup will make them appear feminine,  as if I’m punching their “guy card” as soon as they sit in the makeup chair.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Once they realize how quick and painless the ordeal is, and no eyeliner or lipstick is involved, they usually put up less of a fight, especially once they see how great they look.  Sometimes at the end of the shoot the talent refuses makeup remover wipes because they have an audition or on-camera engagement afterwards.  The pros know to keep wearing the makeup if they are going to be on camera again.

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Turner Field Atlanta – Office for the Day

Makeup Artist - Turner Field Shoot

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Turner Field Shoot

Turner Field

 

        It’s always exciting going to set up in different Atlanta locations for the day.  Recently I had the opportunity to work at Turner Field for the day.  The pictures I’m sharing with you in this post are actually from a few different shoot days.  It seems when I work at Turner Field, the weather is very cooperative. It couldn’t have been any more gorgeous the last time I was there.  These days on set require a lot of walking and location changes.


 

Filming at Turner Field

Atlanta Promo Shoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Atlanta Makeup Artist - On location

I usually take a lot of pictures of set life and the locations where we shoot for the day.  After years of being a makeup artist I don’t have many pictures of me working.  I can admit to having several pictures of the back of my head, or of my arm sticking into a shot wielding a makeup brush or taming some flyaway hair.  Most makeup artists and fashion stylists are used to this.  When we step into a frame we are facing the talent which means our backs are to the camera.  When a test shot gets taken I cringe.  We were shooting in the Braves dugout.  On this day I was lucky that a member of the crew snapped a great shot of me working.


 

20140416_144237   Turner Field is an amazing location in Atlanta to film at.  Over the course of 12 years of being a makeup artist in Atlanta.  I’ve worked on many shoots at “The Ted”.   I was allowed to set foot on the grass during a shoot one time.  The grounds crew is always present.  They work very hard to keep the field beautiful.  If you’re shooting there, don’t step on the grass.  Don’t even think about walking on the grass.  Don’t look at the grass, I’m just kidding.  They crew is always there doing a great job.  Whether it’s January or August, the diamond always looks fantastic.


Vincent in the Booth

   I have to give a special thanks to Chip Caray and Joe Simpson.  They are the tv broadcast announcers for the Braves.  They were so kind to take a moment of their busy time to pose for this shot with my son.  This was a great day for him not only to visit the announcing booth, but as my son put it “He had the Braves Turner Field experience of a lifetime”.

Atlanta Makeup Artist/ kathleenmarsh.com


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