Guest Blog: Professional Bridal Hair & Makeup, What You’re Getting For Your Money, and Choosing the Right Artist For You

Welcome to another blog in our Guest Blogger feature! Today’s post comes from Lisa Teller, who is a professional makeup artist specializing in airbrush makeup in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is extremely passionate about each of her bridal clients and is currently booking for 2013/2014.

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For more information, services, bridal portfolio, or to book her for a session, visit her website.

Also, be sure to stay connected on social media:



INSTAGRAM: @lisatellermua


With bridal season well under way, my inbox has been flooding with inquiries! So I thought I would share with you some of the tips I share with my bridal clients, when they have questions about hiring a professional makeup artist for their wedding day! Of course, my advice might be a little biased being that I’m a professional makeup artist, but it is my opinion and advice from working in the bridal/photography industry. I always try to help steer each client down the path that is best for them, even if they don’t end up booking with me!


Why should you hire a Professional Makeup Artist?

That’s like asking, “Should I hire a professional photographer?” YES!

Yes, your family members own cameras and yes you and your friend’s own makeup. However, on your most special (and most photographed and video-ed day of your LIFE!) would you trust someone inexperienced?

Protect your investment! If your spending thousands of dollars on photography/videography wouldn’t you want to spend a little more on your hair and makeup to make sure you absolutely LOVE your pictures?! Long after the guests have left, the wedding has come and gone, and the honeymoon is over, your pictures will be your most cherished memories of that day – now don’t you want to look amazing in them?!

Not only will this be your most photographed and/or video-ed day of your life but you will also be in various other situations during the day that your makeup should look flawless during: daylight, indoors, from far away(the view of the guests), through teary vows, up close to people, hugging, kissing, eating, drinking and toasting, and dancing the night away – this could mean 12+ hours! You will need a makeup artist who understands all these realities and can choose the makeup that can withstand each of these scenarios and looks best for you and your facial features.

So yes, you can just have a friend do your makeup but will they understand all of these things and have the product knowledge to give you gorgeous photo-quality makeup that will last? Most likely not, unless you have a friend in the industry – then thats just fabulous!


How should you pick a professional?

Now, what makes a professional a professional?  What should you be looking for?

A professional makeup artist is someone who has invested time, education, experience, and lots and LOTS of hard work honing the art of makeup! They understand much more than just applying makeup on a face. They have an understanding of the physiology of skin, color theory, lighting and product knowledge – including photo-quality makeup. They have customer service knowledge, practice hygiene and proper sanitation practices, they are punctual, consistent, and reliable. Above all, they have a passion and fire for makeup artistry and the bridal industry!

Here are some things to consider when looking at professional makeup artists for your big day:

Price. Yes, I said it – you get what you pay for – as with everything else wedding related (& life in general). When budgeting for your wedding a lot of brides tend to forget to factor in their beauty costs for the day! I can’t tell you how many married ladies I meet (often who are bridesmaids of their friends) that wish they had cut out those cute pinterest inspired table favors that most guests left behind or that DIY wedding project that didn’t work out and spent a little more money on incredible looking makeup artistry for their photos on their wedding day!

With a higher rate, generally, comes with higher reviews and incredible service experience! You aren’t just paying for makeup services the day of, but all of the wonderful customer service that comes with it! We’re talking all the emails, phone calls, questions, and correspondence that goes along before, during, and after booking.

Remember: “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” 

Experience and Quality of Work. Do research! Check out their website, read their bio, look over their resume, look over their portfolio’s (especially bridal)! Make sure they have bridal experience and can work under that pressure! Remember often times you will have a pretty strict timeline of when you and your entourage need to be all dolled up and ready to go by! Make sure the artist has quite a few weddings under his/her belt so that they can work swiftly under that kind of pressure and can handle any mishaps in a timely manner with grace!

Your artist’s makeup kit – While I take pride in using the best quality brands that are photo-quality, some clients become so engrossed in brands that have a certain stigma attached. In my experience, one cosmetic brand doesn’t make the best of every product! This way your makeup artist can provide you the best possible makeup services specifically for your needs.

What is “photo-quality” makeup?

Not all makeup is suitable for photography. Photo-quality makeup is HD makeup free from certain ingredients making it great for HD and photo! Have you ever gotten your makeup done or did it yourself for a night out where pictures were taken? Have you ever noticed in the pictures that your face might have looked lighter than your body? If so, the makeup used might not have been photo-quality!


When should you book your makeup artist?

ASAP! Especially if your getting married during peak season like summer! Many artists like myself are already getting inquiries up to 10 months away and into next year! Nothing is worse than finally finding a makeup artist who you connect with, does amazing work, fits into your budget, and has amazing reviews than to find out that he/she is already booked that date and unavailable! Most of the infographics and other timeline objectives from pinterest and other wedding planning sites suggest booking three months before your wedding – WAY wrong! Booking early will guarantee your wedding date is available and can save you money! This can start as early as meeting with a makeup artist for your engagement/save-the-date photoshoot!


What should you expect?

The consultation/trial – The consultation/trial is one of the most important aspect of the entire process! It’s where you and the artist will sit down and discuss all the aspects of your wedding day from your dress, theme, and feel of your wedding and get any questions you have answered. Taking those things into consideration, it will determine your wedding day makeup look beforehand!

I suggest my clients bring in inspirational pictures of makeup ideas for their wedding day. This includes makeup styles they like AND dislike! Getting a visual of what you’re talking about is extremely helpful when you’re trying to explain a “smokey eye” to me, because my version of a “smokey eye” could be very different from yours! I also suggest my clients touch base with their bridal party beforehand and get a headcount of who is interested in makeup services, as I usually complete a contract with the bride after the trial if she wants to book!

Now you may not want to hear this, but I wont book a bride without a trial run! Honestly, you should be concerned if an artist will! Even the most amazing artist’s in the world won’t be able to read your mind, but again, its about protecting your investment! You will get to see every detail of your wedding day makeup beforehand to make sure that it’s exactly what you want and any concerns you may have will be addressed there!

I also do not recommend having your engagement shoot makeup and trial makeup done in the same session. I know that with each minute closer to the wedding your costs are growing exponentially, but they are two very different looks! Your engagement session should be about your and your fiancé and your everyday loving selves! Your makeup and hair should reflect that! It should be more casual and upbeat, yet clean and classic! Your wedding day makeup (the makeup you’d leave with from your trial session) is a more glamorous version of yourself! The makeup may be a bit more dramatic and elegant and needs to go with the more formal occasion of your wedding (imagine you in your fabulous white gown!).

I will, however, allow you to do both together for a higher amount as it requires more time and services as your trial makeup would need to be changed for the engagement photoshoot. My engagement sessions also include optional light hairstyling and travel for at-home service!

Last but not least…

Always remember to keep your expectations high but not unattainable and you will look gorgeous! You deserve to look and feel beautiful and special on your most important day! Keep that in mind when choosing your makeup artist!



Lisa Teller | Makeup Artist