Clare Burgess talks to Katie Ingram, make-up artist at the Sandra Reynolds Agency, about her glamorous job.

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Jobs24 Factfile: make-up artist


The most common entry route is a relevant course at a college or a private training organisation. All make-up artists should have achieved at least a level 2 qualification. Always check the degree of recognition given to the courses offered.

You should also gain practical experience, build up a portfolio to show potential employers and develop a network of contacts in the industry.

You will need to have your own kit and keep up to date with new methods and materials perhaps by attending specialist short courses.



It takes one year to complete a full time level 2 course.

Local training

• City College Norwich 01603 773773/

Full time options in media make-up.

• College of West Anglia 01553 761144/

Full and part time options in theatrical and media make-up as well as specialist short courses.

• Jackie Hamilton School of Beauty 01603 629689/

Wide range of professionally accredited courses delivered on an evening, weekend or intensive basis including fashion and media make-up.

For further information:

• National Association of Screen Make-Up Artists and Hairdressers

• Skillset Careers

Specialist careers information for the creative industries

Salary range

Freelance make-up artists are usually paid a fee for each contract. Rates vary but the recommended rate for a 10hour day is £200.

Belle Jones

Why is it a good profession to get into?

Being a make-up artist means that you get a varied lifestyle - it’s definitely not a standard nine to five job. You get to travel, meet new people, and be part of a creative team and no two briefs will ever be the same.

What does the work involve?

As a make-up artist you will normally have to start very early in the morning because you have to get yourself to locations and set up with your kit. You then have to get your client ready for the actual shoot and be on hand all day for touch ups or changes of looks. You also have to be prepared to get involved with every aspect of the shoot, I often find myself holding lights and reflectors for the photographers! Days are pretty full-on and you really have to be on the ball but it is great to see the finished result at the end of the day. Make-up artists will work with a wide variety of people but because I work in-house for a modelling agency I am mostly working with models for things like fashion shoots, TV commercials and photographic advertising campaigns. Every day is different so I might go from working with children who only require minimal grooming to working on a high fashion shoot with a glamorous model. Being a successful make-up artist is mostly down to experience so it is really important keep up with industry trends too. You also have to have a really sensible head on your shoulders and be organised. If you can’t arrange to get yourself to a shoot on time with a full kit no one will book you again!

What are the positives/negatives of this profession?

The positives are that you get to travel and you get to meet lots of people from different creative backgrounds. However because you are following your client’s brief you might not have as much creative rein as you would like and you are often given a short amount of time to create the look so you really do have to be on the ball.

Is there much local demand for people trained in this area?

There are some great make-up artist training courses in the local area that will give you a real insight in to what the work is all about. However I don’t always work locally and often find myself in Suffolk, Cambridge, Essex, London and even overseas for shoots. If you want to work on the big campaigns you have to be prepared to travel.

What would employers look for in someone applying for a vacancy?

The main things an agency or client looks for is a creatively versatile portfolio, a professional/organised attitude, and the ability to work under pressure. If you have that extra enthusiasm, it will make clients want to book you again, and help you build a good reputation.