The relationship between photographers and hair and makeup artists has always been… well it has always been much like a long string of bad relationships. A photographer meets a HMUA, the HMUA thinks they are falling in love, the photographer strings them along for a while until they find a new fun HMUA, and then the breakup happens. The photographer’s social media feed changes, they stop calling for shoots, they aren’t referring people anymore and the HMUA is kicked to the curb. All the HMUA wants is the photographer’s amazing photographs and love so they can showcase their own work and show off the photographer’s talent.
Those are the more “long term” relationships. There are also these “short term” relationships, one night stands if you will. Sometimes they are called “trade shoots” or the sneaky ones call them “collaborations” trying to make everyone feel included. Well let’s just call them the “Netflix and Chill” relationships. The photographer messages the HMUA asking them to “Netflix and Chill.” The HMUA is so excited because they have been crushing on the photographer forever, or they are trying to build their portfolio. They are those girls or boys that think “Netflix and Chill” actually means watching Netflix and hanging out. Well the shoot happens, the photographer tells them how great it was and that they can’t wait to do it again, when they know they won’t call again until the next time they need something. They keep the HMUA hooked by posting some photos on their social media. Sometimes they tag them, (most of the time they don’t) and the little heart of the HMUA breaks every time. The HMUA might see some photos from it, but it’s usually just a couple, and it takes the photographer forever to send some, and by the time they do the excitement is gone.
Because no money has exchanged hands the shoot isn’t a priority. The only priority is the photographer editing the photos they like. What is missed by most photographers is the time and money the HMUA just shelled out. It may not have been in the form of a cheque for the photographer, but it came out of the HMUA’s pocket from product. What happens after a photoshoot is where the catch happens. The photographer leaves the shoot to upload the photos, and they get to see the results of all the hard work immediately. They get to look through everything, pick their favorites, and edit them. Once they do that the excitement for the photographer fades and they move on to the next thing. The HMUA leaves a shoot with everything they came with. They, along with the model, get to wait to see the end result, and more often than not, all they get are some cell phone photos. Just like in any relationship, one night stand or long term, the ball always ends up in someone’s court and in these situations, it’s with the photographer.
In a creative industry and a social media ruling world, sometimes photographer’s don’t realize that making the model and HMUA happy is in their best interest, because the model and HMUA provide free advertising for the photographer. The best referrals come from word of mouth. The rule is, if someone is happy with a service they will tell 5-10 people but if they are unhappy with a service, they will go out of their way to tell absolutely everyone. So why not make sure everyone is happy? Not all HMUAs are hired by the photographer, so why not give them a reason to recommend you to their clients, particularly when their clients and your clients tend to be the same people?
Now I know I probably sound a little bitter, and I’m not in any way saying that it is all the photographer’s fault all of the time. I have however, been a HMUA who has fallen for one to many “Netflix and Chill” invites. We are in an industry together. Our professions go hand in hand. If anything our professions BOTH feel the pains from lack of respect for our industries by the do-it-yourselfers and the deal hunters. Why can’t we respect each other as artists? Let’s face it, I can’t do what photographers do, and photographers can’t do what HMUAs do. We need each other. Put yourself in your HMUA’s shoes. Show some love and give credit where credit is due, tag them, give them a shout out. Most photographers I know would flip if they weren’t tagged in their work, so show the same respect to one of the people who helped make your work great. Care about getting the photos to the HMUA and model, they WILL advertise for you. Show the love and up the respect. Stop being the tinder troll that people screen shot and laugh about. Remember that we are all just looking for something more than “Netflix and Chill,” we all want some “Amazon Prime and commitment” in our lives. Community will always get you further than competition.