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Behind the Scenes With Makeup Artist Maria Whiting

Interview Spotlight
05.26.24

As a wedding photographer, I’m often asked for hair & makeup recommendations: who is good at working with specific skin types, who is mobile and can arrive at the hotel / Airbnb, who is professional? With all the makeup artists out there, it might be hard to narrow down your choices. To help you, I invited Ireland-based makeup artist Maria Whiting to chat about wedding makeup and things to consider before your wedding day. Enjoy!

Many artists would love to have a thriving business like yours. How did it all start for you, Maria?

I got into the hair, makeup, and beauty industry when I was around 16 years old. My mam worked for Givenchy in Switzers & Brown Thomas Dublin for many years. She was always extremely glamorous and still is… never leaving the house without her signature red lipstick!

She encouraged me to apply for my first job in Brown Thomas Dublin, working part-time for Christian Dior. I then moved around the cosmetic department, working for different beauty houses, including Yves Saint Lauren, Clarins, Guerlain, Aveda, Clinique, Chanel and Estée Lauder. It was a great foundation and starting point to learn makeup techniques and product knowledge.

In 2018, I built up a client base for my freelance business. I now work within the Wedding, Commercial, and fashion industries. My clients choose me for my natural and soft approach to hair & makeup and my cheeky yet professional demeanor.

What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?

This is a hard question to answer, as I have worked with some amazing individuals over the years on awesome projects at spectacular locations. I love Ireland with all my heart, and this resonated with me once I returned from Australia after so long. However, I also love to travel. I think my career highlight is having had the experience of traveling all over the world, having worked on Weddings and photoshoots in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Venice, and Thailand, to name just a few, and I am grateful every day for this and look forward to more adventures to come.

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Who are your ideal wedding clients?

The perfect client for me would be someone looking for a subtle and natural makeup look who values clear communication and is willing to invest in high-quality professional services. My clients must be comfortable expressing their needs and preferences and understand the value of my expertise and pricing. I can honestly say that I treat each wedding client as if it’s my wedding.

What does your process look like? How do you help a bride discover her wedding day look?

This is how my process typically works: The bride will reach out to me, and I will gather as much information as possible about the couple and their wedding day. I will ask for key details, such as the wedding venue and where the bridal party will be getting ready, the number of individuals requiring makeup or hair styling services, whether they are interested in both services or just one, and the time everyone needs to be ready. Additionally, I will ask about the ceremony location, whether they require a trial, the photographer’s name, and any special requests.

What tips would you give to a bride who wants a natural look?

  • Skin preparation: Good skin care is essential for natural-looking makeup. So, keeping the skin cleansed, hydrated, and protected with SPF daily is essential.
  • Lightweight foundation: For makeup to last all day doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use a heavy foundation. So, I suggest a lightweight foundation to keep the skin bright, fresh, and glowing. I love Armani Luminous silk to achieve this.
  • Remember, natural makeup doesn’t mean no makeup at all. The goal is to enhance the bride’s natural beauty to create a polished yet effortless look.

Do you recommend that every bride get a trial before the wedding?

Doing a trial before your wedding day is always a good idea. This will allow us to experiment with products and techniques to find the perfect balance for your skin tone and features.  In saying that, not every bride has time for a trial, so excellent communication is key. I am always open for telephone or Zoom calls to discuss the bride’s desired look and am happy to receive ‘realistic’ photo examples.  

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What questions should couples ask you before booking?

For the couple to determine if we are the right fit for each other, I would suggest:

  • They inquire about my style and approach. It’s crucial for us to be on the same page on the wedding day.
  • Understandably, the question of my pricing structure and payment schedule is common, as I recognize that not everyone can afford my services. Therefore, establishing this information early on in our communication is crucial.

Is there anything you would like to educate couples about regarding the behind-the-scenes of your work

  • Time and dedication to learning and training: As a hair and makeup artist, I am continuously learning and keeping up with the latest trends and techniques in the industry. This takes time, dedication, and investment in attending workshops & training courses. As well as that, a significant amount of time is dedicated to administrative duties, as well as kit preparation and hygiene.
  • Costs: Couples should be aware that the cost of professional hair and makeup services varies based on the artist’s experience, expertise, and product quality. It is important to consider the value of these factors when selecting a hair and makeup artist.
  • Nature of work: Hair and makeup artists work to enhance the natural beauty of clients and create a look that aligns with their vision for their wedding day. This involves working and communicating with clients and understanding their unique needs and preferences.

How much time would you recommend allocating for wedding makeup?

I normally allow 60-90mins per person for makeup. This timeframe allows for any possible interruptions and ensures a stress-free morning for all involved.

What is your dream location to work in?

Dream wedding locations would include anywhere on the Amalfi Coast …but to be honest, the Irish know how to throw a wedding, so in Ireland, I love the likes of Adare Manor, Dromoland Castle, Ashford Castle, and Luttrellstown Castle… I love a Castle and a little bit of Lux!

Who would be the lucky couple if you could do anyone’s wedding hair and make-up?

Audrey Hepburn & Johnny Depp (obviously a fictional couple, lol) Audrey exuded class, and Johnny exudes a bit of madness, which are both qualities I love.

If you could give every bride just one piece of advice, what would it be?

No matter the size of the wedding, I suggest taking your partner aside for a few moments somewhere quiet and have a chat and spend a few moments together. It’s not uncommon for weddings to fly by, and couples may not even have had a chance to see each other after the ceremony. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t forget to enjoy the celebration of love.