How to get into Editorial Work

In a recent survey, I asked “What is your #1 Question about becoming a successful makeup artist?” Surprisingly, or maybe not so, there were a couple of answers that kept repeating.  One of the questions that a LOT of artists asked was “How do I get into Editorial Work?”  So over the next couple of weeks, lets look at Editorial Work:  What is it? Why do it? How can you create great editorials? and, How can YOU get into Editorial Work?

What is Editorial Work?

I find that there is a lot of confusion around editorial, and sometimes artists will say Editorial when they actually mean Commercial work.

COMMERCIAL WORK has a product (or service) that is being advertised.  The purpose of the shoot (still images or video) is to make a PROFIT.  So, there is usually a client involved and he or she will be responsible for how the shoot goes, including all the details right down to the hair & makeup look.  Sometimes the client will delegate this responsibility to an ad agency, creative director, or even the photographer, and sometimes they will ask the makeup artist for input.  The important thing to remember is that ultimately, the client has the final say.  So, the person in your chair (unless that happens to be the client or the owner of the business) doesn’t have any say in the makeup you do for them, which is obviously very different from bridal or special event makeup.  You may have only one person in the chair, you may have many, but regardless, you should expect to be paid your day rate or half-day rate for commercial work, not per face.

Commercial shoot, for Lorna Jane clothing

EDITORIAL differs from Commercial work, in that there is usually no product or service being sold explicitly.   If there are products (think fashion, accessories), being featured, remember the primary purpose of the shoot is not to sell those products, it’s all about the STORY, and the selling is secondary.  Editorial images are those used to accompany a story. There may be a lot of text, or the “story” may be told solely by the images.

Editorial work can be highly visual, and is often conceptual and thematic.  There is a HUGE range of possibility within Editorial work, and as creative makeup artists, there really is no limit to what we can create.

Types of Editorial Work

  • Lifestyle (human interest stories, celebrity news)
  • Fashion (focusing on clothes/accessories, can be shot in studio or on location)
  • Beauty (close up shots of face, focussing on makeup, and maybe hair)

When talking about Editorial work, most makeup artists are referring to Fashion and Beauty Editorials, and these will appear in magazines (or online).  Take a look at an issue of Vogue magazine.  Flick past the ads at the beginning (commercial work) and the stories (lifestyle editorial) to the beautiful images in the end of the magazine. That’s what I’m talking about!

commercial makeup artist, brisbane makeup artist, sue mclaurin makeup artist
Lifestyle Editorial from Sunday Mail magazine

Why do Editorial work?

 The purpose of any job as a makeup artist should be one of the three Ps

  • Portfolio
  • Publication
  • Pay (or, actually PROFIT – and if you’re not sure that you’re making a profit, you should download my worksheet HERE)

While the purpose of an editorial is to tell a story, the purpose of DOING editorial work is the second P:  to have your work PUBLISHED, and to collect the “tear” sheets.  Originally called Tear Sheets (rhymes with Hair, not Beer!), because one would literally “tear” these pages out of a magazine.  This term now includes “digital tears”, which is a PDF (or jpeg or other image) of the actual page from the magazine.  Either way, paper or online, this is the image with the writing on it!

editorial makeup artist, editorial makeup, suemclaurin, sue mclaurin makeup artist, brisbane makeup artist
Same Image, but much more IMPACT with the Editorial writing on it. (from Ellements Magazine)

Having editorial tear sheets in your portfolio can lead to paid advertising work (and suitably impress personal clients like brides too).  Nobody does Editorial work for the pay, as there often isn’t any!!

Having said that, sometimes as artists we do Editorial work to really let our CREATIVITY out to play, and to have the opportunity to show our creativity to the world!  As a makeup artist who primarily works in Lifestyle Commercial Shoots and with “Natural-look” Brides, I LOVE the opportunity to get colourful and creative from time to time.  Its GREAT FUN!!  (and we all know what they say about doing a job that’s fun and you love, right?)

How to create great editorials

A great editorial is not just about great makeup. ALL the aspects of the image: Model, Photography, Hair, Styling, Lighting AND Makeup need to come together to create a beautiful image. So it’s about a great TEAM of people working together collaboratively to bring their vision and ideas to life in an illustrative story.  At times the creative direction can be quite explicit, but at other times, quite vague, and open to interpretation by the other members of the team.

Fashion Editorial from Peppermint Magazine

The 4 C’s to producing successful editorials

  1. Concept: Start with a great concept – look everywhere for inspiration and gather your ideas
  2. Collaborate: Organise a team of like minded creatives and come up with a “story” for the shoot
  3. Create: Shoot day! This is when all the magic comes together
  4. Contribute: submit your work to a magazine for publication

(and then there’s the bonus “C” of  Celebrate, when your shoot is published and you can finally share the images!)

Don’t miss the blog post next week, when we will dive deeper into the PROCESS of creating a great editorial!

If you’d like to learn MORE about Editorial work, what is required of you as an editorial makeup artist, and how you can actually get work in this fun, creative side of the industry, then I invite you to join my FREE LIVE ONLINE MASTERCLASS on Editorial Excellence on Monday 24thSeptember 2018 at 8:00pm AEST.

Photo credits:

Elisabeth Willis
Lorna Jane Clothing
Sunday Mail Magazine
Daniel Sangermani
Elouise van Riet Gray


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