Monday, 23 July 2012

New work!

This is my first time posting from the Blogger app! Not sure if I like it. Anyways, this series is kind of inspired by summer wild flowers! It was shot by my good friend (and awesome photographer) Keith Clouston and the model is the very beautiful Ugne @Storm. using Make Up For Ever and SleekMakeup.

Hope you like!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Printed Portfolio Books

A lovely reader had some questions about the use of printed portfolio books so I thought it would make a great blog post!

My Book: Glossy white 11x14.
My printed book (pictured left) is 11 x 14 inches and made by Pina Zangaro) . This seems to be the most common, standard size that our industry uses. It is by no means absolute though. I have known some photographers to have huge printed books because of the high impact and detail it gives when they are showing their work and likewise I have seen beautiful smaller 8 x 10 books. Its a personal preference at the end of the day.

Inside my book the prints are all 11x14 and fill the wallets as you can see in this picture. However makeup artist Vanessa Collins (see her print book and link further down) chose 8.5x11 for her prints so that they look uniform against her tear sheets from magazines and print campaigns. Such a brilliant idea that had never occurred to me!


I think the most important aspect of your printed book should be the print and work quality within it. Don't scrimp on your prints! Always go with the highest quality that your budget allows. If to start with that's only a few pounds then hunt down the best, budget printers you can find. Local independent labs can often be both high quality and low cost and many will do a deal with you should you be printing off lots of pictures at once. My favourite high end printers is The Print Space. They are by no means cheap but the quality is unparalleled in my opinion. I know a lot of photographers that use them too.

Matte or glossy prints? 

Again, its personal preference I think. I prefer the way makeup looks in a matte print. I also think that once you add the glossy wallet over the top, glossy prints can give off too much glare. Go with what you prefer.

How many prints?

Here is the philosophy I work to:

It is better to have 5 stunning pictures than 15-20 average ones.

In my book at the moment I have 26 shots of my absolute best work. No fillers. No mediocre tear sheets "just for the sake of it". No outdated looks or weak models. You are only as good as your weakest shot. Remember that. As your work grows and you expand your portfolio by working with better teams, then add and replace. Constantly work on your book to make it the absolute best it can look. Furtermore, you should be tailoring your book depending on the client you are going to see. Research the client and see what their usual preference is. If its clean and pretty then a book full of creative colourful work will either scare them or make them think you arent the right fit for them. Just like a book full of clean commercial work wont float the boat of a high fashion, editorial photographer.

Where and what to buy?

There are so many options when it comes to buying your portfolio book it can seem a bit daunting. One of my favourite companies is Brewer-Cantelmo. The choice and diversity of the books they offer is amazing and there is truly something for everyone. One of my first books was from them. It was a raspberry red fabric 11x14 embossed book. It was beautiful. Beautiful and totally impractical. The realisation of this was something quite heart breaking as I spent a lot of money on it. The fabric meant that as soon as it was handled a lot, the natural oils and grubbiness of peoples hands marked and stained the fabric and made it impossible to keep looking clean and professional. The slightest mark looked like a massive stain and made it rather stressful when I went on go sees to show my book. That's when I switched to the book I have now. Because its acrylic its wipe clean and the scratches don't show due to its glossy white finish.

Fellow Makeup Artist's book
When choosing your book its so easy to go with something visually stunning that matches your style. Whether that's bright red PVC (like my current iPad case ;) ) or purple suede (swoon!) but the practicalities of carrying your book around whilst lots of people touch it means that, unfortunately plain leather or acrylic is the most practical. Take Vanessa Collins (all round kick ass makeup artist) for example. Her book in the following picture is 11 x 14, black embossed leather. It looks smart, neat and professional. I would also say that 90% of the creatives I know have a black, leather book. Leather looks nice as it ages and handling leather books actually keeps them soft and lush looking.

Digital Books and alternative presentation

Ipad Portfolio
There is also a current "Digital Revolution" happening (just in case you hadn't noticed haha!) and many people are switching from printed books, to ipad/tablet books. I currently have some of my book on my iPad and should probably get a move on and transfer all of my book over so I have the option of showing my portfolio when I'm not expecting to. I wont give up my printed book anytime soon because it looks so pretty...I mean its still the industry standard. Obviously. Ahem. Having your portfolio on your smartphone or tablet device is a really convenient way of showing your work on the fly. It means you always have it to hand, which can only be a good thing.

My friend and all time favourite photographer Keith Clouston has an innovative and rather genius way of showing his book. You can see it on the following video by Pixiwoo's Sam Chapman. This way of promoting your book not only shows the client how your work actually looks in a "magazine" style setting but you can also leave a physical copy of it with them for their reference! Cool huh?

Any questions or comments please leave them below!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


I was looking through my photos this afternoon as I am about to do a big print run for my book. It occured to me how much I look to nature to get inspiration for the looks I do. From shells, to moths to the "heavens" I find the colour combinations and textures that nature creates to be both breath taking and extremely helpful when it comes to designing makeup.

Heres my most recent beauty story as an example and the scenes that inspired each shot!


Monday, 2 July 2012

In My Kit: The Things I Cannot Live Without.

I was asked by a lovely reader to do a post about the essential products in my kit. This was hard because I am a complete makeup junkie and love everything I currently carry. There are some products -such as my beloved Face and Body foundation that I reviewed in a previous post- and tools that I will be forever faithful to though and maybe surprisingly, they aren't all makeup. I have chosen 6 products that I simply couldn't work without.

Number 1

Make Up For Ever Flash/12 Colour Case

The Makeup Artist's Dozen

Where to start with this wonder palette?! Well lets use a scary imaginary situation.

I rush out the door to a shoot, kit in tow. A few steps from my front door I realise I have left my brushes and my flash palette behind, so I run back and pop the two in my handbag rather than open my kit up. Between my home and the job my kit spontaneously combusts (typing that made me feel a little sick, I cant lie to you) and after I am done sobbing I realise I still have a job to do. I reach in my bag to grab a tissue and see this beautiful little wonder shining back at me and I realise that even though my entire kit is now in ashy pieces all over a Liverpool Street....all is ok. I have my Flash Case. The End.

Seriously dudes, its THAT good. You can do an entire face of makeup with this little baby alone. If you understand colour theory (and newbies this should be something you learn first and foremost. Teach yourself to mix foundation from primary colours plus white and black and you will thank me when you realise you can now match foundation to anyone pretty much by sight alone) you can create a foundation. It can be used for blush, eye shadow (the blue on my summer beauty shots is mixed from this palette) and lips. You can even use the black as a mascara at a push. For the latter you would have to be careful of it transferring as its a grease but you still could technically do it.  If I forgot this on a job I would actually panic and its the only product in my kit that would provoke such a reaction in all honesty. Buy it! Available at

Number 2

Stila All Over Blending Brush #9

Superior 217? Maybe.
I have had this brush for going on 8 years. It has never lost one hair and its fibres are still in perfect condition. Its not just the longevity of this brush that makes me love it so much though. It blends like no other brush I have tried. Whether you use soft circular motions or simply swipe across a shadow line it always delivers.

It can also be used to dust power over under eye concealer for precision setting power and to apply light coats of shadow if you want to layer.

 Number 3

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate

Plumped to perfection
Put simply this is the ultimate moisturiser. From flaky to fabulous in minutes, it plumps and softens the skin to make foundation application flawless. Considering its so rich it sinks into the skin in seconds and doesn't leave an oily residue. The new lotion version comes in a very large pump dispenser and is a lighter consistency which makes it perfect for body application.  Also available at Precious About Makeup

Number 4

Parian Spirit

Lemony Goodness
Citrus based with no harsh chemicals, it smells delicious and is gentle on even your most delicate brushes. Can be spritzed over brushes in between looks to instantly sanitise alternatively you can soak brushes for 5-15 for a deep clean. It evaporates quickly so you aren't left waiting around to be able to use your brushes for an eternity. I like to keep some in a little bowl on my workstation so I can instantly rid my favourite brushes of colour, ready for the next look. Buy now at Precious About Makeup

Number 5

Costco/Kirkland Baby Wipes

Cheap n Chic
"Baby wipes?! What the deuce?!" I hear you say....I don't know how any artist manages without a baby wipe to hand. I use them to wipe over surfaces, clean my palette (the back of my hand), cleanse and remove makeup, wipe brushes...You name it, these bad boys get used for it. The reason I like Costco ones so much is because not only are they cheap (huge box of 6 packets for about £7/8) but they are so, so gentle. They feel like a wet cloth and have no horrible scent. They are soft and efficient. I couldnt do a job without them.

Number 6

Rimmel Extreme Definition Clear Mascara

It doesn't necessarily have to be this brand but clear mascara has become a firm staple of my kit.  I use it not only to give lashes definition when I am doing a really natural look but also to hold brows in place.  My favourite way to use it is to mix in pigments (Make Up For Ever are my faves!) to create coloured mascara. I pour some out onto a palette, tap in some pigment and use a small brush to paint the lashes. I usually paint them white first, then add the colour over the top to make the colour really pop. I have also used it to create coloured liquid liner as it dries to a liner like texture. It saves me carrying lots of different coloured mascaras and liners and as we all know, the smaller we can get our kits the better! On the following shoot- from about 4 years ago (oh how time flies!)- I used it with some neon eyeshadows (Stargazer I think) to colour the eyebrow and once on a film, the director wanted a single tear last minute, with no glycerine to hand this stepped up and saved the day!

I would love to hear what some of your kit favourites are. What can't you live without?