How to get into Editorial work… Part 2

What sort of artist are you?  Bridal, Event, Commercial, Film or TV?

There seems to be a perception out there that makeup artists who do bridal and events ONLY do bridal and events…  I’ve actually heard a photographer refer to another makeup artists as “Oh, she’s just a bridal artist” as if that’s the only style of makeup she was capable of doing.  I mean, really?

If its YOUR CHOICE to focus solely on bridal, then that’s awesome.  However, you might like to be busy year round, have some REGULAR clients, because, lets face it, we don’t get much repeat business from our brides! Referral business maybe…  but in all my time I’ve never done the same bride for more than one of her weddings, and statistically, I’m sure that at least a few of my 600+ brides have divorced and remarried!  Anyways, if that sounds like you, keep reading!

One of the questions I get asked so often is how to transition from bridal, formals, special events and personal bookings, to doing commercial work.  I say, why not do both?  When you have some regular commercial clients you will be able to CHOOSE when you book weddings, how many you book and not be crazy busy and not have a life for several months of the year.  For the last couple of years, I’ve chosen to limit my wedding bookings to around 25-30, and I don’t do weddings all year.  I fit them in with what I want to do with my family.  This year I took 3 weeks off to attend a reunion in Italy, ski in Austria and travel around Croatia in March, one of the busiest wedding months.

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In my experience, and what I’ve seen from so many other artists is that in order to do the great paying Commercial jobs, you first need to do the not-so-great paying Editorial jobs. Editorial can be the KEY to getting into commercial work.  Now, if commercial ISN’T your goal, the great news is that editorial can also lead to MORE and BETTER QUALITY brides (and by that I mean brides who don’t question your prices, who book you because of your WORK rather than because you’re the cheapest).

Last week I talked about what editorial work is, and why you would want to do it. (Read that article HERE) This week I want to talk more about the process of creating great editorials.

The 4 Cs of Editorial work:

  1. Concept:

Every story starts with a great idea.  Remember a great editorial is simply a great visual STORY.  So first you need to come up with a great story.  The good news is, a lot of magazines will give you a hint… so check out their submission guidelines for the THEME of the issue, and use the theme to come up with your own ideas. Look, its really hard to come up with something totally original, and its OK to take INSPIRATION from what other makeup artist have done, so long as you are not directly COPYING someone else’s work.

Once you have come up with your concept, start fleshing out your ideas.  As artists we are visual people.  Collect images and create a MOODBOARD.  A moodboard is a collection of images that shows the viewer the Mood of the shoot, so it doesn’t have to be just makeup looks.  It can consist of ideas for lighting, location, posing, fashion, as well as other images that give an idea of your concept, think colour, texture… you are limited only by your imagination.

Get creative!!!

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My favourite resource for creating a moodboard is Pinterest.  I think after Google and YouTube, Pinterest is now the internet’s largest search engine.  I can spend HOURS going down the Pinterest rabbit – hole as one image leads to another leads to another leads to another, and before long I forget where I started!

  1. Collaborate

This is where your networking really pays off.  Working with a great group of like-minded creative is a sure-fire recipe for success. You really need to be on the same page with the other creatives on your editorial teams, so that means lots of discussion and collaborating.

We are all visual creatives, so make sure that you use images to explain what you are after, and ask your team to do the same.  When everyone contributes ideas, and everyone is on the same page, that’s when the magic can happen!

  1. Create

Shoot day!  I always get so excited before a creative collaboration, wondering what magic we will come up with!  Hopefully between you all, you have a fair idea of the different looks you are doing (if it’s a fashion shoot, the different outfits, locations, hair & makeup changes) if it’s a beauty shoot, try to organise your looks so that the makeup changes are minimal or at least progressive.

Make sure that you take a note of all the products you are using, so you can supply those notes with the submission (and maybe even apply for editorial credit from the makeup companies).

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It’s not always glamorous… sheltering from the rain during a fashion shoot with model Emily

After the shoot comes selecting images.  On a full day shoot there may be close to 1000 images to choose from.  Personally, I find selecting images really hard, and often prefer when the photographer does it!  (although, sometimes I miss out on a shoot I loved at the time of shooting). Either way, you (or the photographer) want to select a series of images that flow together well in a story.

  1. Contribute

As the copyright holder, it is really the photographers responsibility (and prerogative) to submit images to magazines, but that doesn’t mean that ONLY the photographer can submit.  As long as you have the written permission from the photographer, you can submit. This is something that you should discuss with the photographer before hand.

The decision of where to submit images will depend on several factors, but make sure you have fulfilled all the submission guidelines for the magazine before you submit. Don’t give them a reason to reject you!!

Remember that one of the most common guidelines that the magazines have is that your images may not have been published anywhere else before their magazine.  THIS INCLUDES SOCIAL MEDIA.  So, unfortunately, you will need to keep the images under wraps until publication.  Yes, I know, this can be very painful!!  But Oh, so worth it!  (It’s generally OK to post a couple of Behind-the-scenes images to social media, as a “sneak peek” of what’s to come, but no posting of final edited images). This is something that is worth re-iterating to everyone involved in the shoot.

And finally….

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When you see your work in print!  Post those tear sheets everywhere, and be proud of your achievement.


This blog post contains some of my favourite published editorials.  Thanks to the teams I have worked with on these!

Photography credits:

Sam Simpson
Justin Ma
Elizabeth Maleevsky



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