A freelance makeup artist is a cosmetics professional who usually travels to his or her clients' locations. In addition to applying makeup, a cosmetics artist may also style hair or provide skin care advice and products. Cosmetology school training, professional cosmetics equipment, and a photo gallery of his or her work are the most common credentials and tools that this person needs.
While specialization in areas such as advertising, weddings, and film makeup are possible for freelance makeup artists, many work with clients in a variety of industries. Ad agencies, as well as public relations firms, hire freelancers to provide hair and makeup services for commercials and photo shoots. Brides may not only choose a makeup artist to apply her cosmetics as well as create a stunning bridal hairstyle, but also to create special occasion makeovers for the groom and wedding attendants. Freelance professionals may be hired for hair and makeup services at "on location" movie sets. On location film sets are those that are conducted at different indoor and outdoor settings within a town, neighborhood, region, or country rather than inside a movie studio.
Makeup artists who work freelance in the film industry often have special effects training in creating theatrical and dramatic looks. For example, they will often need to be an expert in creating a character's bleeding forehead look using cosmetics, but must also understand how to compliment a period costume with realistic looks that match the time. For instance, Victorian women in the 19th century typically only wore faint cheek color as the style was pale skin; veins showing at the neckline were thought to be attractive. Makeup artists working on films must do their research to apply cosmetics accurately. In the Victorian example, they may use light foundation to create a suitably pale skin look, then add a fine blue eyeshadow pencil to create the illusion of prominent veins.
Freelance makeup artists typically continue taking courses to keep their skills up to date. They may also take classes to allow them to specialize in a specific area, such as fashion and working with models on photo shoots. A professional makeup artist typically strives to use quality, non-allergenic cosmetic products on all of his or her clients. These individuals must build a reputation and use client testimonials as well as photos of their past work to help gain better paying projects, and many freelancers have websites that promote their achievements in the professional cosmetics industry to prospective clients.