A young woman’s inspiring story as a freelance photographer and makeup artist


“I fell in love with makeup as early as five, when I would watch my mum never leave the house for work or to the supermarket without makeup on. When I turned 13, I got my first set of makeup to experiment with and I saw it as a way to express myself and the different parts of my personality.

I also always had a fascination for photos ever since I was younger and I used to pore through drawers of photos and find the double exposure photos my dad would take of me and have my mum store it in albums. I would look at them with such awe, wondering how to create such a photo or even take a photo without holding the camera.

After six years of working in the cutthroat corporate world it occurred to me that this could be a career, so I opted out! It’s been nearly nine years now that I’ve been doing makeup and photography (most of it on the side). Yes, it took a while for the pieces to fall into place after that, and I honestly wish it didn’t take so long.


Being an artist, you always want to improve, and that doesn’t go away. It’s a competitive field, and nowadays there many new makeup artists and photographers emerging in every nook and cranny that can be quite overwhelming. You just have to hit the floor every day (ok, most days) ready to work hard. You won’t succeed otherwise, and you’re honestly better off working for a job with a steady paycheck.

Work for full price or for free, but never at a discount. I learned this the hard way because I kept giving discounts at one point and earned the discount reputation. If you take a project for free, do it because you are passionate about it and can benefit your portfolio wise. It took me a while to walk away from low paying opportunities and working for “exposure” that don’t even cover the expense of my travel and gear and I advise you not to make the same mistake.

Use social media well to expose your craft! I see so many makeup artists and photographers making the same exact mistake on Instagram, they use one account for their personal and professional life, and then overdo it on the personal side. That’s not what a potential client wants to see. Either get a separate account for your personal life, or keep the personal photos to a minimum, and only well photographed ones (it’s ok for clients to see your personal life a little bit!). Up your social media game using hashtags to get found.

Invest time and money into networking. You’ll meet amazing people who want to work with you. Opportunities are announced through events, call-outs on Facebook groups and Meetups that give emerging talent an exciting opportunity to meet, collaborate and share ideas with other creative-minded people in the makeup and photography industry.

In the UAE where the demand for a makeup artist is quite high, whenever there is a lack for makeup gigs I wear the photography hat and usually women have an upper hand when it comes to photographing ladies event or weddings


When I decided to be a professional make-up artist and photographer, I decided right away that I wanted to offer a luxury service for makeup and a memorable creative session for photography.

In makeup, my clients would enjoy a wonderful positive of what the world of make-up has to offer. Initially it was difficult to explain to clients why the service was priced as it was. I still struggle with this to date, but however, as one client bought in, she would share her experience and soon the power of “word of mouth” became played an important part in marketing myself amongst a sea of other makeup- artists.


1  Take photo walks, go out and see the beauty of the world as is without any expectations.

2 Constantly inspire yourself by browsing imagery be it online or on magazines, learn listen to new music every week, explore different kinds of art and meet new people that will help you appreciate things in life and perhaps inspire you to create your new photo and makeup piece.

3 Start a makeup and photography page/ blog/ account to enrich your life and tell your stories through pictures to not only improve your art but also inspire someone to start one too.

4. Do a 365 day project that would commit you to try and take a single photo each day and post it on community photo sites such as 500px, Photoblog, Flickr, that empower you with their feedback. This allows you to explore new photo genres outside your comfort zone.

5. For those planning to start out, always go with your intuition; it will never let you down. I can’t speak of that enough, because your head is so different to your heart, listen to that little voice!

Ellaine’s LinkedIn Profile


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