If any makeup artist is tipped, it’s most commonly the wedding makeup artist. Some estimates are that about 80-90% of wedding vendors in general (including makeup artists and hair stylists) expect a tip. This is because a wedding is a luxury event, and all the vendors involved are supplying a customized, luxury service. For a wedding, a makeup artist usually travels to your location, provides a consultation and communicates back and forth on ideas for the look you’d like before the event, and even purchases supplies and makeup specifically for your application.
Counter makeup artists: NO
Don’t freak out if you just realized you’ve never tipped the makeup artist at Sephora or Nordstrom for the time they spent teaching you how to contour. It’s generally considered not necessary to tip a counter makeup artist, and some stores even prohibit it. These makeup artists are actually salespeople with makeup skills and sometimes training, but their end goal at the counter is to sell you a product. Never go to a makeup counter for a makeup application for a photo shoot. These makeup artists are unlikely to have the skill or inclination to apply custom makeup for your needs, and the products are not likely to be specially made for photography. And again, their main objective is to test products on your face in order to sell them to you, which is great for when you’re sampling products you’d like to buy for yourself. But don’t think you’re cheating the system by having a salesperson at a makeup counter do your makeup for free for your photoshoot. Every time someone has come to our studio after doing this, they always end up unhappy with their look. We’ve had to start stocking makeup removing cloths in the studio so clients can remove their counter-applied makeup before their session.
Makeup artists for headshots/portraiture/commercial shoots: MAYBE
If tipping a wedding makeup artist was a reasonably solid “yes,” and tipping a counter makeup artist was a pretty solid “no,” then tipping a makeup artist for your headshot or portrait session is a definite “maybe.” For hair salons, a rule of thumb some people subscribe to is that you tip the stylists who work for the salon, but not the salon owner. Some people extend this idea to makeup artists: tip the makeup artists who are booked through a salon or agency because they do not keep the whole fee, but do not tip freelance artists because they keep all of their fee. But this isn’t a reliable measure since freelance artists are self-employed small business owners who have expenses an employee would not, such as insurance, marketing costs, travel costs, licensing, and materials. Some makeup artists can spend anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 a year on the makeup and brushes in their kit and the sterile disposable items they go through. Since there is no industry standard “yes” or “no” for tipping with these kinds of makeup artists, then both freelance and agency artists usually have their fee structured in a way that they’re not relying on a tip to complete their fee, so a tip isn’t necessary. But some people are more comfortable tipping anyone in the beauty/service industry, and if you’re one of these people, then feel free to tip your makeup artist. They won’t turn it down and they’ll definitely be appreciative of it, while not expecting it. A good rule of thumb on tipping makeup artists in this category is: “never expected, always appreciated.”
If you don’t want to tip your makeup artist at a headshot session, here are some kind things you can do for them that they would definitely appreciate even more than a tip:
Come ready for them. Follow their instructions to prepare for your session, which usually involves coming with a clean, makeup-free face.
Communicate with them. Be honest about what you want and don’t want before they start the application, then trust them while they apply makeup, then give them honest feedback afterward so they can make changes before you get in front of the camera. If you’re happy with the makeup, speak up and tell them you like it. If you’re unhappy with it, speak up as well, so they have a chance to adjust what they did to your liking.
Don’t hold a mirror to watch what they do. Again, you must trust them to listen during the consultation and use their skills to apply makeup, without babysitting what they’re doing. A mirror in your hand also gets in their way and slows down the process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and the makeup artist will answer.
Give them a positive review. If the makeup artist has a listing on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, give them a positive review, or offer to write a testimonial for their website. Follow them on Instagram if they have an account. More follows on social media means good marketing for them.
Refer the makeup artist to your friends and colleagues, so they can continue their awesome work.
If you’re ready to book a headshot session in our Chicago studio with a makeup artist, do that here!
There’s nothing that keeps a person away from a photo studio better than a past photo that didn’t turn out so well. Such was the case with our friend, Jon. His partner was a past client of ours for his (dare we say awesome) professional headshots, and every month like clockwork they would have some iteration of this conversation:
“You need a headshot!”
“I have a headshot.”
“Where is it? You don’t have it on LinkedIn or anywhere!”
“Well I don’t like it.”
He finally dragged him to our studio to take an updated headshot and Jon showed us the photo he had taken in the past:
“I don’t like this photo for two main reasons,” he said, “it was taken from below, which makes me look like a towering, tall giant, and I feel like it looks like I have about a thousand extra chins. It’s just not flattering.”
One of our favorite things to do is to beat old headshots with better ones. And the best way to do that is to identify what it is about the old photos that aren’t up to snuff, and then do the opposite. For Jon, that meant two things: 1. Don’t take the photo from below (easy), and 2. Make sure you can see his jawline in the photo (also easy). Then we did what we always do: coach our subject into several different poses, smiles, and angles so there are plenty of options to choose from.
Here’s the result:
We crafted the lighting to form some strategic shadows that did a better job of hugging the features of his face to form some shape, without making it look like he’s hiding behind any shadows. We also posed him into more relaxed poses, to get rid of that “welcome to the DMV” straight-forward effect of the old photo, which helped bring out more of his personality.
If you’ve got an old headshot you don’t like, don’t let it scare you into running away from all professional photographers! Book a headshot session with a photographer who has a strong portfolio of natural-looking headshots you like, and bring your crummy photo to the session. Talk to the photographer about what you don’t like about it, what you’re looking for in a new headshot, and work together to take new photos you can be proud of.
If you’ve been following Organic Headshots for a while now you know that about once a year we offer a discount on in-studio session fees. It’s time!
To celebrate our 12th year in business, you get 20% off session fees for in-studio headshot sessions. That’s right, 12 YEARS! Organic Headshots has been taking awesome headshots for awesome people in business and entertainment for a whole 12 years now, and we’ve been loving every minute of it.
Book an in-studio headshot session between now and April 30th, 2017, and receive 20% off the session fee. The session doesn’t have to take place in that time period, but has to be booked and in our system by April 30th, 2017 for the discount, and you must mention the discount at your session (it won’t be applied automatically). Discount cannot be applied to add-on services such as retouching or a makeup artist.
Thank you for 12 awesome years!
We can’t believe it ourselves, so we’ve got to say it again: 12 YEARS. Thank you so much to all of our clients over the years for continuing to choose Organic Headshots for their professional headshots, corporate portraits, and marketing/press photographs. It’s been a real honor to take everyone’s photos and we feel so privileged to have met so many amazing people in our work. And we’re so excited to kick off year 13 with our growing team. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
The move into the new studio earlier this month is complete! Our new space is in the Bloomingdale Arts Building, 2418 W. Bloomingdale Ave., right across the street from the entrance to the Bloomingdale Trail on Western Avenue.
In other related news, we’ve also got a new online scheduler where you can book your headshot session online. And some of you have already met Jeff, who joined Organic Headshots a while back and is shooting more and more here. Now that we have 2 photographers in the studio and on location, we can offer more available appointments and shoot days!
We’re so excited to be in our new space! It’s a little over 1,000 square feet of awesome new backdrops, hardwood floors, a super bright skylight, softboxes galore, and amenities like a full kitchen and bathroom. And we’ve filled it with awesome creature comforts that we know everyone will enjoy: fresh coffee, tea, bottled water, snacks, some house blazers and ties (for those of us who accidentally forget our ties), and some hair helpers like brushes, combs, pomade and hairspray.
Book your session with either Michelle or Jeff to see the new space for yourself! David Bowie the Dog is waiting to sniff you. 🙂
Today is the day I’m finally tackling the controversial issue of pricing in photography. Specifically, discounts. As a small business owner and service provider I’ve been asked for a discount more times than I can count. I believe we’re living in what I like to lovingly call the “Groupon Era,” where no one pays full price anymore. Pricing for everything online and in stores is in red ink or with flashing lights and lightning bolts pointing to it.
Picture that shirt at The Gap that was going for $39 so you were on the fence about buying it, until you saw the redlined original price of $59 and you couldn’t get to the checkout line fast enough with your steal of a deal. There’s a definite psychology to discount shopping too tangled to get into here, so let’s just say that in a nutshell, buying things at a lower price makes us feel good. We feel like we got more value out of what we’re getting because we paid less for it than others would have.
As a small business owner with no red lines through the pricing on my website I have to say I’ve felt the brunt of the “Goupon Era” mentality to the point of… well… sometimes rudeness. Some people don’t know they’re being rude when they ask for a discount or tell me my pricing is too high and I actually don’t blame them, I blame the discount culture we live in. But these are some things that have been said to me:
“Ha! Don’t you think that’s a little expensive?”
“Is there any way you could just charge me less?”
“Can you do the same amount of work for $200 instead of the $700 you quoted me? Our budget is $200 for the project.” (coming from a private equity firm with a self-proclaimed portfolio of several million dollars in holdings, by the way.)
“I don’t understand why I have to pay that, I only want 1 photo. Why can’t you just take 1 photo? You just want my money—this is a scam.” (I wouldn’t have believed this one myself if there wasn’t a photo assistant in the room to verify this. This was actually said to my face.)
Now this blog post isn’t going to be another one of those “OMG DON’T ASK FOR A DISCOUNT THAT’S SO RUDE” posts, because I get it. I shop at thrift stores because I love the thrill of the hunt and getting a $50 sweater for $5. I love my money, I worked hard for it, and I HATE parting with it. I’m a part of the discount culture and I hate paying full price for things. So I get it. I totally get it.
And as a small business owner I have to face the fact that discounts are common practice and here to stay. But instead of laying out my expense sheets, justifying my pricing, and begging people not to discount hunt with their photographers, I decided to draw up some tips for both clients and photographers to better navigate the discount road. So here they are: tips for how to ask your photographer for a discount, and tips for the photographer on what to do when you’re asked for a discount.
How to ask your photographer for a discount:
If you think the price is expensive, ask yourself what you are comparing to. Is this particular photographer more expensive than another? If so, compare their portfolios, their experience, etc. Or is it possible that you just had a lower number in your mind when you started price shopping? Which is totally fine if that happened, you did nothing wrong by expecting it to be less. But now that you’ve been given a number different from what you expected, try to figure out if your expectation was within range of the value of the service in the market. Look at pricing from several other photographers with portfolios you like—if there’s a trend, chances are your expectations were off, and that’s okay. Now adjust your budget or the project accordingly.
If you’re going to ask the photographer for a discount, start with asking if they have any existing discounts or a time of the year when they run a promotion. Some wedding photographers, for example, have lower rates for times when business is slower for them, such as during the winter, Thursdays, or Fridays. Be prepared to give a little if you want to take a little. Asking for a discount is asking for something for nothing, so you might have to adjust your own plans to make the price you want work.
Think about “what’s in it for them.” Photographers are small business owners. They only offer discounts when they can get something legitimately good for their business in return. Something that makes less work for them they might do for less money. For example, I have a standing 2-at-once headshot discount where if 2 people come in for a headshot at the same time they each get 20% off their session. This makes less work for me since I don’t have to schedule back and forth with 2 people for 2 different sessions when they come together, so I pass that time/effort savings onto them in the form of a discount.
Please remember that this person is a working professional who owns a small business, and asking them to do their work for cheaper with no good reason or incentive is, well, let’s just say it, insulting. Your boss wouldn’t say “your paycheck is going to be half what it usually is this week because your pay is not in our budget,” and if that did happen, how would you feel? Just try to keep this person’s feelings in mind when asking for a discount. Word it carefully and with respect.
For photographers—how to give a discount:
Offer a standing discount that makes good business sense for you: clients get a reduced rate, but you get something of equal value in return. For example, a discount for someone who refers a new client to you, or an exchange of services of equal value such as 15% off photo services for your hair stylist who gives you 15% off his or her services to you. Or offer a discount for a cause you believe in. I offer discounts to military personnel because I see how hard it can be to transition from active military to making a career change and I want to offer a discount on professional headshots so they can do that more easily, and I view it as a small thank you for serving our country. It legitimately makes me feel good to offer that discount and when someone redeems it. Also having a short list of standing discounts gives you a good canned response when someone gives you that “can I have a discount?” question. It turns an awkward conversation into an empowered one where you can list off all of the exact situations that qualify for a discount, and puts the responsibility back onto the client to see if they fit into one of those situations.
Know your numbers, know your business, and know what you can and can’t do with your pricing. Assert yourself and avoid the guilty feeling that you have to make everyone happy with your pricing by immersing yourself in your profit and loss statements, expense reports, and pricing structure. Know your numbers thoroughly, know why you charge what you charge, and then own it. If you want to help a client out without discounting your rate, consider adding value by adding service instead; such as a free retouched photo, an extra hour of event coverage, or offer to throw in some free prints.
Remember that some people just aren’t your clients. And that’s okay. Even when they beg you. Even when it’s been a slow month. Take care of yourself and listen to your emotions and determine if you’re relinquishing discounts because they make good business sense or because someone is toying with your emotions and trying to make you feel guilty because they can’t or don’t want to pay for it. Every time someone asks for a random discount I don’t offer or tells me my rates are too high for them I feel crummy. It does beat me down a little. But then I scope out my competitors’ rates, look through my own portfolio, and I straighten my shoulders and remind myself that my pricing is correct and it’s okay that it’s not for everyone.
Think of the industry. If you’re a working photographer you’re part of the photography industry, and we photographers stick together. Every time you lower your rate, another photographer gets asked to lower theirs because someone out there got it for cheaper. Please keep the integrity of your profession in mind and your rates in line with industry trends. So many of your fellow photographers are still working part time and even full time jobs outside of their profession because of the discount culture created by bidding sites and other service industry pricing pitfalls. If you haven’t already done so, consider joining a local or national pro photo group like the PPA so that you can keep up with the issues everyone in your industry is facing so we can face them together.