Are you a new makeup artist and confused about how to go about building your makeup portfolio? Or, better yet, when should be doing free work and when you should be charging for a job?
Makeup artist Margina Dennis gives us some insight on how to build your portfolio, what a TFP really is and how to start building a portfolio you can be proud of! (and not get taken for a ride in the process).
HOW TO BUILD YOUR MAKEUP PORTFOLIO
TERMS USED IN THE INDUSTRY
WHAT IS TFP?
A TFP or “a test” is basically a collaboration of people coming together working for the same thing, to get something for their creative portfolio books. “TFP” is a term that originated from the print days meaning “Testing for Prints.” This meant you would trade your services for usable, workable images for your print portfolio.
Another variation of TFP is “TFCD” which is testing for a CD. (I know, I'm showing my age)!
An editorial test is when you shoot a fashion or beauty story to be submitted to magazines in hopes that the magazine will feature your story.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TFP & A JOB
The terms “TFP” and “JOB” should never be one in the same.
- A TEST is something where the team is coming together to get images for their portfolio/reel/etc. Each party is volunteering their time and talents and not being compensated by any other party.
- A JOB is where a client is financially benefiting from the images/video/commercial/etc. and is bringing together a team to execute their vision. Big difference!
Example: “Designer is looking for an MUA on a TFP for their lookbook shoot…..”
Sorry, britches, that is a job…
Some creative directors have gotten even more clever substituting the word “collaboration” for TFP. It's still a job. Jobs, my friends, are things we get paid for.
TFP & KIT FEE
TFP and KIT FEE shouldn't be used in the same sentence.
A kit fee is a “motion” term.
What is motion?
Motion is film, TV, video, vine, etc. The term kit fee is for the rental of your kit, so it is the rental of the use of the items for a motion production (which is also different than the purchase of products for the production).
If you aren't feeling the shoot, (or it's not something you need) politely decline or let them know you're available for a paid test.
Using TFP and Kit Fee together in the same sentence, unfortunately, sends a message of:
“Hi, I'm really new and don't know what I am doing.” You don't want to risk that do you?
WHAT TO EXPECT AT A TFP
Remember, a TFP is a “collaboration” of ideas and efforts of the entire team.
- You shouldn't expect to get a zillion pictures or even a CD of images.
- You should expect to get a few images for your book.
- The images that will you receive will be based on what is best (hopefully) for the team.
- Sometimes, TFP is a complete and utter #fail. It happens to everyone at some point. More than once.
Remember, it's not all about you, dear new makeup artist! If it is a fashion shoot and you want more beauty images, be prepared to pay for those images to be retouched which can be $40-$300 plus depending on how much needs to be done to them and the level of expertise of the retoucher.
HOW TO GET STARTED BUILDING YOUR BOOK
Let's talk about some things you should look for when you want to do TFP, OR if you are are responding to someone who is asking you to do TFP!
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
1. Do you like their work? Is this something you can use at this time?
If the answer is no to either of these, then you probably shouldn't do the test.
2. Are you on the same page with the vision of the shoot?
This is SO important and why it is imperative that you see mood board/storyboards or a Pinterest collection to giving you an idea and direction where the shoot is going.
3. Who else is booked for the shoot? What models are you looking to use?
Remember, that you are only one element of the team and the team can make or break the shoot. Unfortunately, no one is going to single out your fantastic makeup or hair work when everything else just isn't working or just plain sucks. When one element is off, it can throw the entire look off. Then you feel defeated and beat up. Never a good feeling.
4. Do you notice their post-production (PhotoShop) or lack thereof?
When you are looking at the photographer's website, how do they post-process their images? Is it done tastefully or is it done poorly, if at all?
If you don't like Stan the photographer because he has a girl on a chain link fence or she's strapping a Corvette and has plastic skin, this is probably not the best photographer to test with. Does their work look like you would find it on the cover of a magazine? If the answer is no, keep it moving.
While we are on the subject of plastic, if every picture looks the person was created by a computer, this is also not going to be a good representation of your work. Think wisely.
Current trends are skin looking like skin, complete with pores! Sorry, Instagram.
Things you should do when working on set for a TFP:
I have heard many stories of people just showing up and not having any idea what they were doing or what was going on a test.
Don't be so excited about doing the test that you neglect to communicate about the details of the shoot. All of these details help make a successful day. This also includes discussing when you should expect images.
Don't Be a Director
Remember, a TFP is a collaboration, not the all about “me” show. This is everyone's creative ideas coming together to create something wonderful.
If you want to direct the shoot or be in charge of the overall concept (with no regard for the other team members) then get your shoot budget together and hire EVERYONE to create your vision. (Or find a team that is 100% on board with your vision.)
Treat a test like a job. If people see you conducting yourself in a professional manner, they can see you conducting yourself in that same manner on a job. That means showing up on time, being clean, and not looking like you rolled out of bed.
Never steal images of other people's work!
We have a handy article about that too.
Now that you know the difference between TFP and A JOB and how to start, get out there and start building that portfolio.
Good luck and always TEST FORWARD!
Sonia & Margina