Makeup artists play a crucial role in photo shoots. As a makeup artist, you should know the standard rates as clients generally will ask you what you charge. Whether dealing with a team of professionals putting on a photo shoot or a model or actor in need of headshots, be ready to supply a fee for individual services and time frames.


Makeup artists have standard rates that although not fixed, are somewhat consistent. How much you charge for working a photo shoot generally depends on how long the project takes. Other factors include how many people require makeup, the degree of difficulty in the makeup application and the purpose to which the photos are going to be used. A typical day shoot may cost anywhere from $250 to $750; more than eight hours usually costs extra. Charge for a half-day based on slightly more than 50 percent of what you would charge that client for a day rate.

Model Tests

Model test photo shoots usually cost less than regular photo shoots. A model test is when a model needs to update her portfolio. These photos are for use only for a model’s portfolio and not for commercial use. Because the photos are not being sold, the price of the shoot is lower. A model test shoot typically includes several looks and the time required depends on how many looks the model needs. Three looks may take around four hours and costs around $175.


Models, actors and other performers require headshots to show to prospective employers. It is common for makeup artists to offer discounts to models who come to their homes and who have agency representation. Discounts do not apply for stock photos, only promotional headshots. A headshot may cost as little as $50 for a makeup application at the artist’s house. An on-location makeup application may cost around $95. These prices are for a single look. Charge more for additional looks.


Although it is common for makeup artists to post their rates online or in a brochure, there may be times when standard rates do not apply. Some photo shoots have larger budgets and require above average makeup; you may lose out on work if you quote a lower price than expected. Some companies may expect to pay as much as $2,000 per day while others may only be able to afford $200. Before giving a price, ask what the client’s budget is for a makeup artist and supplies.