To MUA or Not MUA...

I’ve been doing this whole photography thing for nearly ten years now. Actually, it will be ten years next February. Be looking for a post to commemorate that when the time arises. I should probably do a shoot to commemorate the same thing. I don’t know what theme to use just yet. At least I’ve got some time to think about it. But I’m getting WAY sidetracked so let me get back to my point…

I’ve seen many photogs in the same timeframe that I’ve been shooting (or sometimes even less) establish a team of sorts. They have an assistant or two to help with lights. They probably have a stylist on stand-by. Some even have a reliable videographer. The one person that many, if not all of them, have is a go-to make-up artist or MUA. All of those really help to complete a shoot.


The problem I’ve been running into is that I don’t shoot full-time. That rather hampers the possibility or even the need to have all those individuals as part of a team. It also means that since I have a regular joe-schmoe job that keeps me occupied, the free time that I have available to shoot is severely hampered. As a result, it also limits the time that I would be able to get more than one person gathered for a shoot. It’s hard enough getting one schedule to coordinate. Imagine trying to coordinate the schedules of three or more people to a time that everyone could shoot at the same time.

Another issue I have run into is that there are some folks out there that call themselves MUAs that really aren’t. It’s not about having a professional designation to prove it. Although let’s be honest, that certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s just that some folks just aren’t very good at it. I’m not a fan of the clown-look where it appears as though the subject has the make-up caked on. I very much prefer the natural look when shooting folks. I’m still amazed at how little I see that nowadays.

This time of year when I do Halloween-themed shoots, I’ve been looking more for a reliable and talented MUA. These are the one type of shoots where you actually want that ‘clown’ look. However, it still has to be done right so the shot still looks authentic. Some folks can do their own and do a pretty job. Then there’s an MUA like Alejandrina Rosa who’s absolute beast when it comes to the Halloween themes. Again, there is still the issue of getting schedules to jibe, but when they do, it produces magic.

A look like this takes up to a couple of hours to do. Alejandrina personally did each individual tattoo in replicating Jared Leto’s version of the Joker. She had it to the point where they looked authentic enough to be actual tattoos. Even down the detail of giving them a weathered look so you would think the tats have been there for a while. As good as she is at special looks like this, she can also do the regular looks. The natural looks. So it makes it much easier trying to find a MUA to use when you know someone who’s versatile enough to pull off any look possible.