Swipe up with me if you will, into a topic that’s crucial for pro makeup artists in today’s digital age: utilizing Instagram as a powerful portfolio tool. We’ll explore the ins and outs of leveraging this social media platform to showcase your work, build your brand, and connect with potential clients and colleagues. So, if you’re ready to maximize your online presence and tap into the vast opportunities Instagram offers for makeup artists, let’s jump right in.

instagram – is it the best strategy for pro makeup artists?
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Using Instagram as a visual medium and how it has the potential to showcase your work effectively to a massive audience.
  • Engaging with your followers can help to build meaningful connections within the makeup artist community.
  • Managing your time effectively, and posting with a consistent routine can serve as powerful marketing for your skills and services.

Episode 69: Show notes

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I heard a story about a makeup artist who rejected hiring or bringing on someone because they didn’t have an Instagram account.

Well, that was the cause. They didn’t have an Instagram account

This person doing the hiring couldn’t see photos of the artist in question’s work and therefore chose not to hire them because it was someone that they didn’t know personally.

When I heard this, I was pondering it what an interesting thought that was.

And the old lady in me immediately responded, thinking that there is no wisdom in that.

I personally like to go by recommendations and referrals.

By talking to people that you’re working with, you can get a sense of someone’s character, creative approach, and ethics. And then there’s IMDb, right? Sure, people bend the truth on it.
I know that they do, sure, but at least it gives you a sense of how long somebody might have been in the field.

There are plenty of methods to learn about someone that you haven’t worked with personally.

So this whole concept raised a lot of questions for me, and then I realized that the answer is right in front of me.

You just have to look around.

People are on their phones constantly.

Constantly, all the time. I’m in New York at the moment, and I love people-watching and taking in how gifted people are at walking while phone browsing like it’s a lucrative sport. And if they’re not face in phone like they’re an extra from Night of the Living Dead, they’re talking on their phones with arms flailing farther than the chef from the Muppets.

This worldwide phenomenon is pandemic, right?

And it really didn’t take me long to realize that in this day and age, if you are not leveraging your phone and what it offers by way of the Internet to get yourself out there, you’re missing out on massive opportunities, and they might just be high paying ones, too.

So this all led me to do a little bit of detective work and get really deep and dirty into the ups and downsides of Instagram. And why or why not? You should use it as a portfolio or a showcase, if you will, of your makeup work.

So I wanted to look at your Instagram account or the potential of having an Instagram account and the pros and cons of using it.

Almost like a free website or portfolio. Because it’s free, right?

But we’re going to get into that. So what do you think?

Let’s have a look at the pros first.

The Pros of Using an Instagram Account as a Showcase of Your Makeup Work

A Visual Medium

So, first of all, it’s a visual medium. And with that said, what better platform is there to have a free, altogether gratis visual representation of your work out there that it just sits out there on the Internet?

Sure, as a professional makeup artist, sometimes it can be tricky with the NDAs that we sign and agree to.

So how do you get around that?

First off, I am a big believer in not using continuity photos unless your actor is okay with it and they’re comfortable or they’ve seen the photos and approved, said, yep, that one’s good. Go for it.

And this may be enough of a conversation for it’s own post entirely. But it’s definitely something to keep in the back of your mind.

Another great workaround is to take really screenshots once your movie has been released. And if you think about it, you won’t be posting anything before the movie is released anyway, right? So there’s a perfect approach to get good quality images, that are contextual, because they are in the the movie!

I have used software called Greenshot on my Mac to get high-resolution screenshots from my computer. And that’s just one, there are many of them, and I’m sure there are plenty of great, robust pieces of software out there, once you get digging.
There’s one called Snagit on Windows.

Or you can do it the old-fashioned way. On your phone or iPad or computer, and just take a screen grab with the, you know, the side button and the home button.

But do be aware that if you do it this way, you will instantly lose resolution and picture quality.

So bear that in mind. And then also, please avoid the temptation to zoom into the work within your portrait photo, because this is the quickest way to lose all manner of detail in the work.
And because it goes fuzzy, you lose resolution, you lose that pixel information, and you also lose complete credibility as an artist and being taken seriously when you present images that aren’t clear and in focus. So just keep that in mind as well.

Now, while it should go without saying this caveat is worth mentioning, I don’t know if I see this as much anymore. Because the work, our industry has changed so much in the way we present ourselves, such as forums like Instagram, it’s very different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago.

It’s always professional and courteous to mention your boss, and to mention everyone involved in the project, as well as the look that you’re posting.
There is no room for taking credit for other people’s work or trying to appear as if you did everything yourself.

This is a very small little biz that we work in it and you will get found out.

And what a horrible thing to get known for.

You know, I think it’s a surefire way to put a premature ending point to your career and cut it short before your time.

Quite frankly, in this day and age, the way the business has evolved and is evolving right now, things are changing really quickly. And if there is a 99.99% likelihood that you didn’t do the work all by yourself, and anyone who claims they did are most likely fooling their own egos more than anyone else’s.

I’ve heard so many stories. You’ve probably heard them, too, of artists. And again, this happened more back in the day, in the 80s and 90s. Maybe into the 2000s – artists tried to showcase their portfolios to prospective bosses, employers, and department heads by showing photos of work that they had nothing to do with but that the person they were trying to impress had done the work. Ah, not a good look.

Isn’t that awful? Anyway, so I don’t think that stuff happens as much anymore because you just can’t get away with it. We’re all connected online and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about now, actually. So it’s a visual medium, isn’t it? It’s like Instagram was made for anyone in a creative field, anyone that works with something that produces an end result that you want to photograph and share and promote. Yeah.

Definitely two thumbs up from me as far as it being a visual medium to use to your benefit.


Now, the next pro we’re going to talk about is the reach. And what I’m about to share with you, when I read it, just blew my mind, by the way.

At this point in time, Instagram is utilized by over 2.4 billion users. That is massive audience potential, which honestly, also in this day and age, seems to be the level of measured validity right now, doesn’t it?

Being aware of that potential audience really goes a long way and is important in some aspects of our field. Your follower count and engagement also matter. These things are important and give you validity.

So just keep that in mind.

Now, I don’t necessarily feel like I believe in that personally, because it’s just not what I’m about. I care more about quality and reaching people that want to listen. But, yeah, it’s interesting to be aware of.

2.4 billion users – that’s a lot of people out there, and obviously, not every single one of them is going to be into makeup, but that’s a big potential worldwide.


Another ‘pro’ in a similar realm is that of engagement.

Instagram is a great place to find your tribe and actually chat with your peers, friends, colleagues, and your idols.

And I’ve mentioned this so many times before – the people that you look up to and that you admire, this is a really unique and awesome way to make friends near and far.

Instagram stories are great, too, for bonding with your followers because they only go out to the people who follow you right now.

I did a little bit of research on this, too, because I have to admit, stories is something that I tend to under use and forget about it because I am not one of those people. I hardly ever look at stories.

According to SEO AI, which is an online SEO website that tracks the behavior of Google and rankings and all of those very technical things that were not going to get into here, but Instagram Stories attract 500 million daily users on average. Incredible, isn’t it? These numbers are so massive.

It’s a very powerful tool within Instagram to reach your followers and do so on a much more personal level because these are people who are already in your world, right?

Chances are that they have some interests that they share with you because they wouldn’t be following you otherwise. So you can connect with people.

I love to use stories (when I do do it!) to just share observations and things that I’ve seen that really speak to me. Things that might not be directly related to makeup as such, but just help connect with my IG followers and vice versa, will help connect your followers to you. It’s so cool. I need to do it more. You should, too.

And then reels are so powerful.

Reels are the only way you should be sharing your images right now.

And while this may sound like it doesn’t make sense, but it does.

If you’re someone again, that truly hates making videos – like me! I don’t want to spend 4 hours on my Sunday making a video for Instagram. I just don’t I’m not, I’m not really interested in those processes and I don’t have time and I’m sure you don’t either.

The good news it that it’s so easy to make a video with your photos now.

So if you’re like me and the thought of actually filming and editing stuff is way too time-consuming or just completely overwhelming to even waste your thoughts on, use the carousel feature on reels and set it to music.

It can be fun and super quick and easy too.

So you just open up your IG, click on the reel option to create a new video, and then all your photos are going to come up.

So just post a handful of those.

It’s fun. You can keep the videos really short and snappy. And add some music for a bit of flavor.

You can also use reels to do some fun behind-the-scenes, blooper reel, and B-roll type stuff as well. Film your makeup station, get a friend to film you doing makeup applications. Those types of videos are always fun and captivating for the IG user, too.

Time lapses are great. And you can also show some setup videos too.

There are plenty of ways you can create reels on Instagram without making, editing, publishing, videos.

Free Marketing

And then another epically important ‘pro’ which is something I neglected for way too long because I felt like it was selling out or it wasn’t sincere.

But it is important. It is very important. And that is it’s free marketing.

It’s free to set up and aside from if you want to get that little blue check, it is entirely free to have your Instagram account up and running. And it will be symbolic as a website and acting as the same representation as you, without any of the tech that goes into building and running a website.

Just think about it. Great free marketing.

Easy Peasy to Set Up

And finally, a very realistic pro to fit into your day to day life is that it’s quick and it is relatively easy to set up.
Again, touching on the website alternative: websites take a long time to learn the ropes of setting up, building, maintaining, and looking pretty and professional.

With Instagram, all of that is done. You just set up your account and then you just start adding photos. And by photos, I mean videos, (obvs!) So videos, reels, no photos.

Ponder on all of that, if you will, while we take a look at the cons.

The Cons of Using an Instagram Account as an Online Makeup Portfolio


Okay, so first of all, we have to talk about the ‘a’ word. That almighty algorithm.

Now, I guess the optimists among us might also consider it a pro because it is always changing.
Sometimes it feels like, I don’t know, you need to be smarter than Doogie Howser to keep up with it.

All posts can get buried and buried really quickly, and it can be frustrating when your engagement drops or when it doesn’t even get off the ground.

Particularly if you are starting from scratch and everything stops or is slow for no apparent reason.

You think you’re doing all the right things, but there’s just no followers or comments or likes and all that stuff.

But I think the goal here is to keep an eye on that stuff and care more about it over the long term, to have bigger-picture goals rather than day-to-day ones.

Don’t even worry about what anyone else thinks of your follow account because who cares? Who cares? You’re posting these things for the reasons that you know exist. So don’t even worry about that stuff because it just doesn’t matter.

Being Constant

And another con, it’s the word constant, and it’s even got the word “con” in it!

But being constant and the pressure to stay constantly active and consistent is another con and a massive downside to me.
To stay relevant, you need to post regularly and to engage with the people that are seeing your posts and engaging with you, too. This can be time-consuming, if you allow it to be.

And sometimes it can take away from the actual work of being a pro makeup artist. Right? It’s easy to get burnt out on trying to keep up with that never-ending hamster wheel content creation cycle. It’s easy to get swamped in all of that, too.

So, yeah, I think it’s all about just keeping it firmly in check, isn’t it?


Con. There is also the issue of competition. It’s more of a “com” than a con, if we’re getting literal!

But Instagram is saturated with makeup artists, makeup wannabes, influencers, brands, all those things. Standing out can feel impossible.

So my first rule of Fight Club is – stop looking at other people’s posts from a comparative mindset.

I know this can feel hard, but they are themselves and you are yourself, so just worry about you.

Sure, it is fine to look at other people’s stuff because that’s part of the world of Instagram.

Just get rid of that comparative mindset because it serves no purpose. It’s not constructive, and it doesn’t help you one bit. Kick it to the curb. Say goodbye.

You need to have a unique style, a unique voice and strategy, just like everyone else! What’s that quote, I’ll have to look it up. I have posted it on Instagram, funnily enough, a while ago.

I think it’s something like, “just remember, you’re unique just like everyone else”.

But in all seriousness, what I mean here, is, what makes you special is the sum of your experiences, right? And I’m talking about in life, in everyday life, every day of your life up until this point has led to making you special.

So your voice and style and beliefs. All of these things should go into your own strategy to capture. How do you say that stop the scroll phrase? You want people to stop at your photos and reels and retain their attention.

Whether your goal is to strictly be an Instagram makeup artist or work in a more traditional field, that’s got a longer history. So for me, that’s movies and tv. But whether it’s theatre or live events or whatever it is, just find yourself and put yourself into your page.

It’s taken me so long to feel comfortable and confident doing that, but the rewards are so much more instant because you just find your people.

And honestly, one of my favorite things about Instagram now is talking to you in my messages.

It’s just so rewarding and lovely to talk with makeup artists in Paris or in Mexico or Colombia, and all you beautiful people that I’ve met, I just love it so much.

So what is the verdict then? Is Instagram the best strategy for us right now as pro makeup artists? Well, it depends, doesn’t it? If you have the time. Actually, no, I take that back. If you have the time management skills, and this is a minefield of an episode all on its own, I think.

I do feel that you can do this stuff with regularity quite quickly and efficiently. You just have to know how.

You can fit this in in ten minutes a day, five days a week, or if you want to just make your own schedule Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Monday, Thursday, Sunday.

There are ways that you can make this work for you, even if you work 15-20 hours days like we do.

If you have the energy and resources to dedicate to building and maintaining your presence, Instagram can be an incredibly powerful and worthwhile tool.
It’s a fantastic platform for you to showcase your work. For you to connect with your audience and with your friends, and to attract new clients and potentially new co workers, new bosses, new employees.

And honestly, in the grand scheme of things, who wants to miss out on a job opportunity purely because they didn’t have an IG account? Because you never know who’s looking at hiring you.

And while I don’t feel that is a great method of crew-sourcing – relying on IG solely as a place to find someone and find out what they’re about, I do feel that it’s important in this day and age and that you are missing out, perhaps even leaving hard earned money on the table for someone else to come in and swipe up.

This was really fun. It was quite, quite a departure for me, talking about this sort of stuff. Get out there, get creative and have fun.

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