Makeup for Your Wedding Day

You got engaged! Now is the time to start planning and securing your wedding dream team! My first piece of advice, don’t let social media, family and friends dictate your wedding look. Its YOUR DAY and chose a pro who specifically works with weddings. There are many pros who are great at salon services but may not be the best choice if they aren’t “event” experienced. Beauty professionals who work off site know the drill. We bring all the necessary tools, products, and performance goals that someone who mostly works in one place may not understand.

Now let’s talk about choices for makeup. There is alot of information available via pinterest, Instagram, etc when you begin researching wedding makeup. My thoughts are that your wedding makeup should be a elegant, elevated, expertly applied version of makeup that you would normally wear. For example, if you love to play up your eyes, then hire a makeup artist that will work with you to create a wedding eye look that will dazzle your groom into fainting! Well maybe not fainting but at least let’s get him to cry. I feel if the groom sheds tears then my job is complete. If you don’t wear alot of makeup I suggest avoiding the “Cardi B” styles and going for more of royal wedding look (I’m obsessed with Kate Middleton).

Makeup by me

The problem with Pinterest and such is that their photos for inspiration are typically only done on models, there might be a ton of editing to the photos, and the lack of customization to the person. A bride with a hooded eye may want to have a makeup that is different from a bride with almond eyes, round eyes, or wide eyes. A makeup trial is the perfect time to work with your professional to create a taylored look that is unique to you, your overall wedding aesthetic and that is flattering to your features.

If you got engaged or know someone who did and wants to set up a trial, I’d love to hear from them. They can even use my booking link to schedule a meeting/trial run here

Makeup by me/Hair by Brooke Meadows

Photo by Ashley M Brown/ Shining Light Photography

I’d love to help all brides look their personal best on their wedding day!


Trade For Print/Exposure

For those of you reading this blog outside of the creative industry there is a thing called TFP. It means Trade for Print. This is an arrangement sometimes between model/photographer/creative talent for shoots. It is typically no exchange of fees for all individuals participating on a photo shoot. This arrangement works in the favor of future professionals who need content for their portfolios. There is a time and place when I feel it is beneficial and there is also a time when it is not beneficial. I want to start by adding I have personally done TFP and I made mistakes because I too was a newbie eager to build a name in the industry. I want to prevent those mistakes for you.

Photo by Gary Barragan

When I was new to set work I would follow and seek out the attention of photographers who made photos that fit my style. Joshua Eskridge was one of the most talented players who used The Beauty Patrol as hair/makeup team. He helped launch our popularity with the photographer community. I will always be grateful to him to what he taught us about photography. He is AMAZING! We did do some trade work but it led to many gigs that were paid. That’s a key component I want to cover.

Behind the scenes with Josh

Trade work should lead to paid work. It shouldn’t be long term with any one person. If you are only doing trade work with one individual and never get paid then stop to think how you are benefiting from the arrangement.

Trade work can fill a void. We needed more ethnic diversity in our portfolio so we recruited those types of models and did some trade. That work helps us position our portfolio to be more inclusive.

Trade work where someone profits but you are excluded is a sure way to get you less and less paid work. If someone has financial gains then everyone should be able to be compensated. This might be my opinion only but some compensation seems pretty reasonable in this case.

Fact: professional makeup and hair products are expensive and we need them need to sustain our kits. Kit fees can be requested to cover your product use even if you are donating your time. Parking fees/expenses associated with a shoot need to be covered by the client. At least don’t lose money by offering your TFP arrangement.

Lastly, make sure when you agree to do a TFP that you have some input on the outcome and usable images of your work. Close up beauty shots are best for your portfolio. Don’t be afraid to talk thru your expectations with the creative team to make sure this shoot is the best case scenario for your needs. Everyone using images on social media should be tagging the team that helped create the work. This is a big one that is often overlooked. Be choosy and don’t get trapped into being that artists labeled as “will do anything” at the expense of your livelihood. It’s ok to say NO.

Will work for cheese?

I’d be happy to hear your thoughts about TFP. I’m here to explain my position and point of view as a makeup artist.

Bridezilla, momzillas and I know more than you zillas

Over the years, I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t been burdened with terrible experiences when it comes to weddings. I do get asked about bridezillas often. Trust me they are out there and I’m not saying I’ve never had one because I have stories! My secret is “I’m not available for your date” works when I get the inkling that a bride, Mom or anyone involved with my booking process has red flags. For the benefit of future brides and other vendors these are some of the red flags that apply in my industry.

1. Understanding the booking process and requirements. If you don’t include all the requested information and requested deposits/retainers to secure services but you have repeatedly emailed about it, I may assume you are not a serious client. It is very common for beauty pros to have booking minimums in peak season. I cannot afford to take a bride only in the middle of the day on the busiest Saturday of the year. At the time of booking your day I need to know the location, number of services and what time you need to be ready. I want your wedding day beauty to be a luxury experience that isn’t rushed and this will ensure you feel pampered!

2. The number one issue pros most often have challenges with are clients who do not respect our time. Being late or no shows for appointments are a sure fire way to get fired as a client. Especially if your pro jumped threw hoops to accommodate you for last minute requests. Just as it is an expectation for me to be punctual, we also expect it of clients. It can throw off our entire day and cause us to rush thru your appointment, miss lunch, work over, etc. No one likes a hangry artist!

3. Mom, you are very important. We love Mothers of Brides, Grooms and all Moms! I’m a Mom too. Motherhood is a hard freaking position. However when it comes to the bride…SHE IS OUR CLIENT. In order for the bride to feel her best we must follow her desired look and if mom wants something different, well this is when Mom won’t win. For example, I had a Mom who wanted to dictate the makeup her daughter wore for the wedding day regardless of the bride’s wishes. I didn’t book the client. I could tell the bride was uncomfortable with the request and I’m not willing to make any bride feel that way. Mom, I like different things than my daughter but I still love her. Let your daughter be the director of her beauty.

Photo by Jessica and Sarah Photography

4. This one is my favorite. We all know someone who is good at makeup right? I was at a wedding recently when a bridesmaid was talking about makeup to all the bridesmaids. She was educating them on products, techniques while she “did her face”. She opted to do her makeup instead using my services which is totally fine with me. The problem is she gave bad information. An expert at someone’s own face does not mean they have the knowledge, experience or results of a pro. A makeup enthusiast is not a makeup artist. I spent years honing my craft. No dispute that some people can be self taught. I’m not a dentist. I shouldn’t fill your cavities.

Open wide…let’s get to drilling!😁

5. This one is touchy but it does happen so I’m going to dive in. Another reason to give your artist to chose to pass on your business is unrealistic expectations. Social media and self editing tools have made this issue a beast for some beauty pros. A airbrush machine will not erase wrinkles, years of skin abuse, open wounds, etc. We have access to lots of tricks and most of the time we can make a great improvement for any issue. We ask that our clients provide photos for inspiration and we also ask that they show pictures of them when they felt good about they look. Pinterest/Instagram and Snapchat are full of high glam filters and photo shopped models. Most of our clients are not models. Hair artists too. We can use extensions and devote hours to a hair sculpture with an arsenal of products but that is not an achievable solution for many brides. Someone who never wears makeup might think they want a dramatic look until they see it on their own face. My esthetic is more celebrity inspired beauty that is a beautiful version of you and not an illusion.

Not our work!

Pinterest hair art

Not our work!

A BIG makeup from pinterest/we get this a lot and it’s almost always toned down

My intention are always good. Some might disagree with me, some might find this funny, and others are probably cheering me on. This is real life as wedding makeup professional. I love doing weddings. Its an honor to be chosen for the position of your makeup artist.

It’s no secret

It’s no secret that running a business is hard. Things don’t happen overnight in most cases. As a professional makeup artist I find it more and more demanding to be constantly aware of product launches, trends, business demands, client expectations, and industry norms.

Cosmetics in my kit. It’s always evolving.

It’s no secret that a woman or man who hires a makeup artist wants to feel beautiful, confident and comfortable. That makes complete sense to most right?

It’s no secret that being professional is an investment in your future business goals. Yes you can have fun and still not be a risk for a label. Drunk, sex crazed, politically hostile, self absorbed, etc. You know what I mean, that selfie in your bathroom of a drunken night out with you practically nude, mascara smudged and it’s obvious it was fun time. I’m not to judge but your potential clients…hmm

Too much? Nah. This is just Louisa with me on a Tuesday😎

Its no secret that social media has made much of our lives front and center. What does your social media say about you? This is what I think mine says. I’m serious about professional makeup artistry. I love my family, animals, and nature. I enjoy travel. I admire other art forms like home decorating, cooking, fashion and music.

The day I picked up my pet rooster “Harland”

Is oversharing something only my demographic believes unnecessary? Yeah, I’m older that most of my colleagues. Fortunately I am still young in my mind and I surround myself with some very refreshing millennials, gen y and z. My generation believes in work/life balance. Isn’t that the key to happiness? I think it’s no secret.

My sweet tribe of grandchildren on the beach last week

My point is that no matter what kind of culture you wish to create is that it’s no secret that anyone, everyone you come in contact with both in person and digitally will respect boundaries. My boundaries have worked for me and my business goals. Do you have business boundaries? Tell me your secrets!

Makeup artist life

Today I have a schedule that begins at 3pm. I’m not sure what time I get off and I’m not sure what what my client expects or what they actually want. Welcome to the world of freelance! There are advantages to not punching the clock. There are also challenges. When I worked at a makeup counter I knew my working conditions, schedule, all the products available to me and what to expect in my day. As a freelance makeup pro, there will be unpredictable circumstances. Oh your client might send you photos of themselves or their desired look but when you arrive you might hear things like “I only have 30 minutes for this appointment, I only wear green eyeliner, glitter is goals, or I want to look like I’m wearing nothing but perfect” You have to make it work! This is makeup artist life.

Photo by Lindsey Whiting

Clients aren’t guilty of anything other than not knowing your profession inside and out. If I go to a chiropractor appointment, I don’t know their job requirements either. Why would I? I know that some career artists get very upset when clients throw them a curve ball with weird questions/requests or when clients ask for services out of the ordinary. It’s okay! Just because a client asks doesn’t mean you can’t guide them back to reality with grace and respect. Plenty of times I’ve had clients with great expectations, high demands and who required some coddling but it’s not all clients. Maintaining a game face and pleasant demeanor will get you far in these circumstances. Keep smiling. When you come out of the difficult scenarios on top you can go home and have a glass of wine. Wine is always better than whine.

I love my chosen career path. I love my clients, colleagues and makeup! If you find that your position as an artist is becoming stale then it’s time to evaluate your practices. Diversify your product choices, prepare your clients for services, and take time to breath before you react to obstacles.

I now offer coaching for future professionals to help them thru some challenges I had in the early stages of my career. For more information check out

Beauty Law

For once I’m going to blog about something more light hearted and funny. I often have people say things like “Do you look at everyone’s makeup with an artist eye?” Well, yes I do. When I created the name for my team The Beauty Patrol (Makeup and Hair Authorities) I jokingly said we should issue citations for violators of beauty laws. We see them everywhere we go! If you are worried about being a law abiding citizen, I have compiled a list for your protection. This is meant to be funny but I take the following very serious👮

Makeup by Pamela Butler Photo by Ben Marcum (law abiding citizen)

The Beauty Patrol understands that you love makeup! We do too! However if it takes you longer than an hour to get ready and you use more than 40 products on your face at a time. Go straight to jail and we are confiscating your Sephora Haul. This is the most serious of offenses. Chose a focus. Your full coverage, highlighted and contoured, fleeked brows, winged liner with a cut crease, glitter, three pairs of false lashes, and dark lips is hiding you. We like your face, let us see some of it!

The older you get the more makeup you need. “M’am, put down the brush nice and slow.” As we age we need less of some products like foundations and powders but more of others like lipsticks/blush/brow cosmetics.

Violations that will get you a warning but no jail time: tanning, not washing your face at bedtime, skipping moisturizer, and over drawn lip liner.

If you are guilty of any the above we encourage you to turn yourself over to authorities for a makeup lesson. We have reformed some beauty law breakers who are now law abiding citizens.

Lets all get along

So I have as many makeup artists followers as I do friends/clients on my social media. Why do you think they follow me or my business? Is to gain knowledge about my brand? Is it to copy my work? Is it because they think I’m entertaining? Do they hate my work or like it? Hmmmm, I wonder what their doing on my page? Guess What? I Love It!!!!! Go ahead and follow me! I’d love to get to know you better. Some of my best confidants are other makeup pros. I’m certainly not a social media wizard but I do find inspiration in the work of other makeup artists. I think it’s great to expand your professional networks to include your competitors and keep it classy! Celebrate their successes and be supportive during their fails. Who else is going to understand our profession better than those who practice it?

Makeup by me on another Makeup Artist…Bethany Kooyman /Photo by Ben Marcum

Now, I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never felt intimidated about another makeup artist poaching clients off my posts but if they are successful at it then maybe good ol karma will take care of it. I believe there are plenty of clients for me and all of my fellow artists. Much like a garden, with lots of florals. Each flower is unique and some people like roses while others like peonies. Both flowers that smell fragrant, look pretty but different. That’s how interpret the difference between makeup artists. Together we make a beautiful diverse bouquet.

I don’t do FX or Gore makeup. It’s not my thing but I do admire those that excel at it. I like clean, natural modern makeup. It’s a preference. I follow artists who do FX because it’s fascinating!

This week I saw a link to review someone in the business (not on my team) but I have worked with them often on weddings. I went to the website and gave her 5 star review⭐ Why? Because she is AWESOME! Another example is when a fellow competitor asked me about a booking process. I freely told her what I do in my process. I believe in elevating the industry and laying the foundation for others is a NO brainer!

With that being said, newer artists specifically don’t expect your mentors to hand you everything on a silver platter. It means more to work for some things and earn your footing instead of having someone hold your hand all the time.

Commitments, Contracts and Cosmetics

I will never pressure someone to book with us. Our work is very visual and we have the reviews so if you don’t book right away that is fine with me. We don’t “pencil you in” and this is why…

My pencil collection for eyes, lips and brows

When I first started my freelance career I believed clients who said “pencil me in” so I would literally put them in my book, and count on them to honor their booking. No contract, money exchanged up front and no commitment. I would decline multiple inquiries and decline any invitations to personal social events. Guess what happened? I got burned and burned bad. When clients cancel last minute, I would lose money and time. It’s part of owning a legitimate business to ask for legal documentation of your reservation. This is my career not a hobby and I treat it as such. Without contracts and retainers there is no confusion on what happens if your booking is cancelled, postponed or moved to another date. Those contracts also protect the client in the event that things don’t go as planned.

Bride: Kelly/Photo by Allen Adams Photography

Makeup by Pamela Butler Hair by Brooke Meadows

My contract covers everything from allergies to location to payment options. It also explains to the bride what happens in the unforseen event of me being sick, unavailable or stuck in snow storm (we know that’s possible in Kentucky). I have had 4 brides last year who paid another makeup artist money up front without a contract only to find out that their money was lost due to negligence from the makeup person. I refuse to call them an artist and let’s just stick to “con artist”. Those contracts state what is paid in advance and that’s the only way to have it in writing should the bride need to take action.

Makeup and Hair professionals are not excluded from protecting both the client, and their livelihood. When you cancel or don’t committ in writing you run the chance of getting scammed, stood up or even inconvenienced by your wedding vendors. There have been several local vendors who made the news because of such shenanigans. Brides had to sue vendors to recover monies paid for services/products not delivered based upon a CONTRACT!

While it may take some time to read over your proposals, signing a contract, paying your retainer to secure services, it is the best practices and necessary information for you and your professional.

I only want to provide all my clients with a positive outcome and laying the foundation for clear expectations is a start.

The journey

One of the question I get often is “How did you get started as a Makeup Artist?” Well, the truth is it wasn’t the plan. I needed a job that wasn’t late nights where I could make money and raise my two little ones. I went to Dillards Dept store when they opened in Kentucky and applied for a position. I wore my Kmart red power suit and my full face of drug store makeup. At the time I wore pancake foundation. It was thick, smelled like rubber and made me feel ready to conquer anything. When I got there this most elegantly designer woman plucked me from a crowded a room of applicants and asked me if I ever thought about working in cosmetics. She was not prepared for what I did next….y’all I did a play by play of my “routine” to demonstrate my skills. I was hired and rapidly earned the title of Beauty Advisor which I proudly can say taught me that I could be creative and smart. I was promoted two times in under a year and made my life’s goal to create a motivated team of Counter Managers and Beauty Advisors for LANCOME who will insure I got my monthly bonuses. I pulled odd some hair brain events to get those sales up.

Now this wasn’t my first job in the industry. I actually worked in salon in Arkansas where I got the notion I should look like Cyndi Lauper, Boy George and Madonna roled into one person. Pink hair, shaved head, bleached and mohawks. I’ve done them all and it was fun. I was ready for makeup.

LANCOME lasted a good while then I took a less business more artistry position with the cosmetics empire, Estee Lauder. Working for brands was the best way to get your name out in the industry at the time. We had no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. People commonly went to makeup counters for advice. I worked with highly respected individuals who in turn taught me how to turn a customer looking for a lipstick into a loyal client who looked at me as their personal source for products and applications. I met so many wonderful people in those positions. Some of those still in the trenches at department stores.

I did image consulting for corporations where I would teach professional women how to wear makeup at work. Yes it was a thing. Crazy right?I met someone thru that who would convince me to leave the world of makeup and enter into the world of insurance. I worked in sales at Aetna. I sold employee benefits to employers and brokers. This is where I learned to talk to total strangers about one of the most stressful issues. I liked my job. I loved the money. That position bought my first house, made me feel successful and validated my desire to crush the stigma that women could not make it in a good ol boy industry. I’m not sorry I did it but I don’t miss it. The Aetna position ended when my office here closed. I worked at a popular agency for one year before i was let go after telling my bosses off for making fun of my new hair color. Fast forward to my return to makeup.

Working in California with some former MAC colleagues

Many of you know I worked and managed at MAC Cosmetics. It was a new brand to Kentucky and a fairly young company when I started with them. Managing artists again and this time very different artists than my other positions. It was great for a long time. I’m not going to say it was a walk in the park because that would be a lie. The expectations were sometimes almost impossible but I still dedicated a large part of my time to this brand and it’s local success. Some of my biggest mentors worked at the corporate level in Chicago. I am grateful that I no longer work there. I got mad respect for alot of retail workers because of it. I worked too much and too long for a company when I could have been dedicating my time to better use. It was then that I knew I had to find a way to use my knowledge of all those experiences to do something for me. Before I left I was working 14 hour days to do weddings and a retail shift on weekends. It was time to take my passion for people and turn into a brand.

One of my favorite retail clients! Love Linda💖

I worked my first two years 2011-2013 pretty much just me and one assistant. The decision to form a team was a means to an end. I was referring out as much as I was booking. The Beauty Patrol was a scary and intimidating move. I worked and invested long hours into what will work or not work. I can boldly say I’ve made mistakes. It’s not something to take lightly when entering into the world of self employment.

My happy with self employment face

Freelance makeup artists are typically less respected than traditional careers. My goal was to get the respect anyway. Every day and every year there are new ways to evolve not only my art but also my business. It’s all good and I still love it. One day I will retire with the hope I left a little impression with my clients/colleagues.

Weddings are like rodeos

I used to be cowgirl. Barrel racing every weekend at the small arenas in the rural parts of Arkansas where I grew up. Horses are big creatures and so much fun to ride. Unfortunately, I developed some pretty intense allergic reactions to them when I turned 18 years old. This ain’t my first rodeo! I’m not allergic to weddings yet. 

At the rodeo there is alot cheering and hollering for the cowboys and cowgirls. In my hometown it could be hot as fire or cold as ice. The weather wouldn’t stop a good rodeo. It’s a family sport. Dangerous and exhilarating experiences enjoyed by both participants and spectators. My sister’s and I had our fair share of injuries from either high spirited horses or risky stunts. Not much different than some weddings I’ve attended. 

Weddings and rodeos have wranglers. The wedding ones are the planners, coordinators, and venue hosts. Their job is no easy task and sometimes underestimated. The rodeo wranglers caught lose animals, kept the riders and spectators safe plus accommodating anyone who needed it. Wedding wranglers do that plus some! Get a good one and you won’t be sorry. 

Rodeo contestants dress the part. Boots, hats, big belt buckles and dusty denim make a cowboy look authentic. Bridal parties also dress for the event. Alot of thought and planning go into coordinating the attire for the big day! Brides say yes to the dress! I’ve seen some very beautiful wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses that would make your heart buck like a wild bull. Your hair and makeup are the toppers like the hat to the cowboy. And to be sure you never forget how awesome you look having a good photographer/videographer there to capture it is a good plan. 

I took my grandkids to their first rodeo in Texas

My mom used to run a little diner at the rodeo arena. Cowboys and cowgirl burn alot of calories therefore they like to eat to fuel them up for competition. Wedding guests also like fueling up on plated dinners, bufetts and food trucks. And they love the cake!  Add some spirits and you got yourself a party! Weddings that have good food and drinks are the fuel for a memorable experience! 

One of my favorites

The National Anthem and a prayer are common at the rodeo. The reverence and respect for the sport and the riders is a traditional for as long as I can remember. Walking down the aisle to meet your future spouse is also a tradition. The music, the attire and setting with everyone watching! It brings the emotions out of even the toughest hearts. Weddings are emotional! Tears and laughter. Hugs and kisses. Ceremonies with traditions. Just like the rodeo.

Giddy up y’all for wedding season 2018, it’s going to be a good ride!