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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Marshall

Let’s get real …. the battle with filters and editing!

(Behind the scene photos for a recent photoshoot ... no filter no editing)

I’ve been wanting to write a post like the one I’m writing now for a little while, but I didn’t feel I could. I worried that perhaps it wouldn’t portray me in the most professional light, not keeping to the norms of what a lot of the content makeup artists are putting out there. However, I’m learning that my success is about truly being me and while my opinions may ruffle a few feathers I know that there is value in them and my clients connect with them.

The stereotype of being a makeup artist is superficial, you’re playing with makeup all day, right? I’ll be the first to admit that my job is the best, I love what I do and yes applying makeup is super fun and while I won’t go in to detail today about what my work actually entails (it’s a lot more work than you think!) being a makeup artist isn’t as skin deep as it sounds. In fact, there is so much emotion and psychology behind the job, there are so many opportunities to be creative and fun, but we also see people at their most vulnerable. When clients and models first sit in our chair, their insecurities with their self-image are heightened because it’s being focused on. Most people sit in my chair and apologise for something to do with the way they look, and so I spend the rest of the time I am with them being their cheerleader, complimenting them and trying to raise their confidence. What they don’t realise is that I can’t see it; I don’t view it as a ‘flaw’ or a ‘problem’ we are all different and as cheesy as this sounds, it’s just a different canvas to work on, which I love!

To be candid, I have a huge issue with the makeup industry at the moment and that’s to do with the use of filters and editing. I believe that as a makeup artist, as your self- loving cheerleader I should be setting an example to my clients about what ‘real’ is. Since going back to work in April I’ve been uploading a lot more videos on my Instagram…. Why? Because it’s then obvious that my work has no filter on it, you can see real skin with makeup on. Not an image of makeup with a filter. I truly believe lockdown has been so dangerous for setting unobtainable expectations of beauty, we’ve forgotten what each other really looks like, seeing the vast majority of people on a small filtered square on our phones. So many people are viewing texture and pores as these big flaws when in reality it’s just normal skin.

I recently saw a makeup course advertised, and I was shocked to see that 70% of the time on the course was learning how to take and edit photos. Any makeup artist knows that lighting is so important… we want to show our work in the best possible way. But I do have to question, is it becoming more important that we are creating these amazing images for Instagram, rather than learning the skill to create beautiful makeup in real life on real models and clients? As a makeup artist starting out in industry at the moment, you’ll be told to only upload professional looking images with the best lighting and yes while I agree to this for editorial work I absolutely do not for client work whether that be for occasion/ bridal.

When it comes to using filters/ smoothing out the skin/ whitening the eyes/ using an intense lighting set up on images, it’s not what I am about. So yes, that may mean that my Instagram feed isn’t full of perfect airbrushed images, which in turn may mean that my follower growth is slower. BUT I’m advocating for real people with real skin and actually my bookings and enquiries are better than ever. So, to any makeup artists who feel that edited perfection is the only way to sell…. I can assure you that real also sales. Don’t get caught up in the Instagram/ Pinterest world.

I’m all about enhancing my client’s beauty and creating flawless makeup that looks amazing in person and photographs well that doesn’t need a filter … because texture and pores is what normal skin is! I’ve received amazing feedback from clients saying they are booking me because I make them feel confident about being them. Models feeling beautiful and confident within their skin… without the fear of an MUA posting their face completely edited and smoothed out without a filter over the top (if you are editing a client or models face like this please think about how this lowers their self-esteem when they see this on your page. They then question what is wrong with them!) My clients and model’s satisfaction levels are so high because they know exactly what they are getting when they book me, they can see my skill and ability. When you filter and edit your makeup work you create an unobtainable standard of beauty (because no matter how skilled you are, even if you create flawless looking skin, you can never make texture not textured) which in turn means you’re making your job a lot harder. When you’re selling a service adding a filter or editing your work isn’t a true account of what you are providing.

So, let’s start being real, everyone has texture, everyone has pores, and nobody walks around all day with 5 lights shining directly in their face!

By all means continue to post your best work in the best light, I’m still sharing editorial work (which of course can be touched up a little in post-production by the photographer) but I’m also being transparent sharing unedited images from behind the scenes and unedited photos of client’s makeup. Let’s reclaim the standard of beauty, a standard of beauty that is about being real! Imagine the impact of that beauty standard, how we would all feel more confident and happier in our skin, how we would all have more value and love for the way we look and how we would even learn to celebrate our ‘flaws’ and unique differences. Imagine how positively that would impact us all rather than letting our insecurities rule how we feel about ourselves, stop comparing our reality to the fake. If we all felt a little bit more confident and happier in our skin… we would be happier and kinder to ourselves and others. As a collective we have the power to improve and change this and I truly do believe that the battle with filters could be won if more makeup artists got on board!


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