DeLong Photography Blog

Photographers providing authentic photographs, modern heirloom albums, and more for those who value a comfortable and fun experience 
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Available for travel.

Why Hire a Professional Hair and Make-up Artist

Many brides go back and forth debating on hiring a hair and make-up artist for their day. With the stresses of planning, it’s an area many brides feel they could save a buck. However, when you’ve spent a decent amount of your budget on buying the right dress, and potentially even more on the right photographers, hiring a professional hair and make-up artist simply makes sense. It would seem an injustice to all your other efforts to not have a well-rounded look.

Now, many brides are great at doing their hair and make-up, which is a talent I do not possess, but there are some downsides to playing this part yourself on your wedding day. Read on to find out why we think you should hire a professional hair and make-up artist for your day.

Six Reasons from Hair and Make-up Artist Brianna Barker

I had the pleasure of speaking with Brianna Barker of Brianna Leigh Beauty last week. She outlined the importance of hiring a true professional licensed hair and make-up artist in six easy points:

1) Training, Knowledge, Certification & Licensing.

Brianna started by saying, “Professional hairstylists and make-up artists are always expanding their knowledge! Cosmetologists (those who do hair and make-up) are required to complete a year or more of school training and hands-on experience. Estheticians (make-up only) are required to complete 6 months or more to be able to obtain a license in their state. Furthermore, we are also required to take continuing education each year to keep our licenses current and renewed! With all this required training, we are always learning new trends and techniques!”

Brianna also let me know that “in certain states, it’s actually illegal to perform hair and especially make-up without the proper licensing.” Therefore, be sure to check that the person or company you are considering hiring has a valid license.

“Professional licensed make-up artists are taught certain skills that only apply to brides, flash photography, photoshoots, etc.” Brianna went on to explain, “For instance, using SPF in your moisturizer or foundation will cause a ghostly white flashback when being photographed in flash photography!” That’s pretty crazy right! No bride wants to get her photos back and realize she looks pale in every single one. Above all, tips like this are why handing important tasks like these are so important.

So, what should you do when researching hair and make-up artists? ASK QUESTIONS! Ask about their kit, their products, their training, their licensing, their years of experience… You want to hire an experienced, licensed and professional person or company!

2) Sanitation & Cleanliness.

“This is a BIG one and goes along with the licensed aspect!

When a professional is licensed, they are also trained on state board rules and regulations. If you are not aware of the state board, they are what keeps salons clean and up to par for clients!” Brianna explained.

So why does this matter for your wedding day? “A make-up artist carries a huge make-up kit, from brushes to eyeliners, lipsticks to mascaras. You want to make sure they are following protocol and keeping a clean kit that will keep you and your skin safe from infectious diseases! With hairstylists, you want to make sure they are cleaning their combs, brushes, hot tools, etc. and not spreading anything from person to person, like lice (ew!)”

So what should you do to ensure your artist is sanitary? “ASK MORE QUESTIONS… Ask them what their sanitation routine is. If they don’t immediately start spouting off this crazy kit cleaning routine that most people would never even think do with their own personal make-up, RUN!”

3) Stress Free (well, as much as possible) & the VIP Treatment!

“When you hire a company that specializes in hair and make-up for weddings, you get the whole experience! Companies who specifically work with brides know what it’s like to plan a wedding, they are experienced in communicating with brides and dealing with bridal parties. They are experienced in wedding day timelines and working in a fast-paced environment!” This is especially important as a wedding photographer. Doing make-up yourself can end up taking longer than you expect, and then the timeline of the day gets off. You don’t want that level of responsibility on your shoulders on your wedding day. It’s best to hand it off to someone who is a well-oiled machine in these circumstances.

“Most hair and make-up companies advertise themselves as “On-Site”. This means that no matter where you are (home, hotel, bridal suite etc.) the company will pack up and come to you!” Brianna says. “This is an awesome experience for most brides and helps relieve some stress of the day knowing they don’t have to travel all over the place!

Lastly, when you hire someone who is experienced and professional, you are hiring someone who is there for YOU! We know this is your day to shine, and that it’s a very important day for everyone involved!”

Brianna recommends that you need to “make sure you feel comfortable with your stylist/artist. Make sure you know what they offer and make sure that they are willing to come to you on the day of your wedding! Make sure that your stylist is doing everything they can to cater to you and your needs for your day and that you feel like a VIP!”

4) The 2 T’s – Trials  & Testimonials.

“These are important too!” Brianna explains. “A professional in the wedding biz will always push for a hair and make-up trial! I have actually had a bride tell me that they thought it was wasted money… I PROMISE YOU, it certainly is not!

A professional should set aside a lengthy appointment time just for you! They should ask you to bring photos, your accessories if you have them and anything pertaining to your day that will help your stylist capture the look you are going for! I always say inspiration photos are great, but you never really know what you like until you are wearing it yourself! I have had some brides change their entire make-up look because they didn’t love it once they had it on themselves – that is the point of a trial! You don’t want to find out that you don’t really like a smoky eye on the day of your wedding! Avoid that stress altogether and book a trial with your stylist!”

I can’t agree with Brianna more! A certain style, or coloring, may not fit you. It’s best to try it out and make adjustments before the big day. For instance, I had a trial run, and it was worth the 3-hour drive to my artist’s studio at the time. We weren’t under the pressure of time constraints and we were able to ask each other questions to formulate the final look.

“Most trials are not free,” says Brianna. “Most professionals do charge for trials because of the amount of time and product it takes to do a trial. Please respect your stylist/artist and pay them for their time! They will love you even more!”

In addition, Brianna emphasized reading testimonials. “Most wedding hair and make-up companies operate by advertising, reviews & word of mouth. Please do your research on your company! Reviews from other brides will tell you what kind of company you are really going to be working with! If they don’t have glowing reviews across the board… keep searching!”

5) Professionalism.

“Professionalism is key! Sometimes it can be hard to come by in the beauty world! We are artists, we are free spirits, we are always looking for ways to express ourselves and our creativity. BUT when it comes to relying on someone to show up, most of the time REALLY early in the morning to start glamming you and your bridal party, you want to rest assured that you have a professional/professionals who are going to arrive on time, well dressed, manicured and ready to get the job done!”

I, unfortunately, have a close friend who hired a hair and make-up artist that was not reliable. This person did lovely work. However, she showed up over a half an hour late. This completely ruined the wedding day timeline. The rest of the day was spent playing catch up. No one deserves that sort of stress, so be sure to look for these topics in reviews.

6) You deserve it!

Yes, you do! “Brides spend so much money on photographers and photo packages, the perfect dress and jewelry, the perfect pair of shoes, the perfect venue and cake and food for all your friends and family to enjoy… what does it all mean if you don’t feel like the most beautiful bride in the room.. no, in the world?” Brianna asks.

“Your photos will be there for years to come; for family members and children to look back on. You want to make sure that you LOVE the way you looked and don’t look back 5 years later and say ‘What was I thinking?’

Professional hair and make-up can be a little pricey, but you are worth it! You won’t regret spending that little extra to make sure you feel your very best!”

Your wedding day is simply not one where you want to take a risk on amateur hair and make-up. Above all, it’s one of the most important days of your life. You want to feel the most beautiful you ever have. You want to feel that same way when you look back through your album, and at the prints on your walls.

In Conclusion

To quickly recap, “hiring someone who is a licensed and certified professional is definitely key to getting the best out of your wedding day hair and make-up experience! Look for someone who is experienced and trained, sanitary, and has your best interest in mind. This person should treat you how a bride should be treated, is well known and very well-liked, and prompt and professional! Remember, YOU are worth the splurge!” Brianna concludes.

I hope these tips have helped you all know what to look for and what to ask. If you have any questions for me, or for Brianna, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

“​I have been licensed as a cosmetologist in the beauty industry for almost 7 years now! I set out to do all on-site work early on, and I am so glad to say that I am doing just that! I mostly enjoy spending the day with brides and their families and gaining life long friends in the process!

​I have specialized cosmetic training in MAC Cosmetics, Dinair Airbrush, Glo-minerals Make-up, Mirabella Cosmetics, Jonny Cosmetics, PCA Skin Care, Senegence Cosmetics & LipSense, plus a bunch more!

My training in hair design includes; Redken, Pureology, Colorproof, Kenra, Aquage, Aveda, Surface, Lanza, Brazilian Blowout & many more!”

You can find Brianna on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.

Black and white image of Tim and Shannon DeLong of DeLong Photography in Riverfront Park park smiling at the camera

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