An artfully conveyed fashion or beauty photograph requires much more than a pretty face and gorgeous clothes. A team of highly skilled people – photographers, art directors, stylists, makeup artists and hair stylists – are called on to bring their complementary talents together for the purpose of creating magical and compelling images.
Trine Marie Skauen is a Norwegian make up artist, photographer and art director who works alongside her fashion photographer fiance Marco Di Fillipo to create memorable fashion and beauty images. Currently based in Rome and Norway, the adept duo also works frequently in New York. Their work includes fashion and beauty editorial for magazines, projects for production companies and artwork for CDs and books.
I had the opportunity to talk to Trine about the role she plays as a makeup artist and art director on fashion and beauty shoots with Marco:
Do you ever do the makeup for shoots you photograph or is that too much to focus on at once?
I used to, but I was never a “fashion photographer”. I love photography, I have since my father gave me my first camera at the age of ten. So I always used to play around with it, I was more into texture, colors, lines and moments, capturing what my eyes saw. It could be things laying around or people. But one day, I was asked to do some photos for a hair dresser friend of mine, she needed some images for her portfolio. So that is when I got the idea to go to makeup school, to learn to do the makeup on the images I was taking of people. Today I leave the fashion photography up to Marco, my fiance.
With the more avant-garde makeup looks, do you have something in mind when you come in for the shoot or do you ever create a look on the spot?
It depends actually, if it is a job where the client wants something in particular, I usually do mood boards, so I can be sure we are on the right track. If it is a test, I sometimes go without. But I normally do research before the shoot and Marco and me discuss what we want to do.
Do you typically have full reign on what kind of look you create or is there a certain amount of direction given?
I don’t know how it is for others, but the photographer decides in the end, so in my case if Marco sees that the look is not photogenic, I will change it.
Do you have a favourite kind of look that you prefer to do?
I love the “doll look”, pink / reddish lips, pink cheeks, long lashes, bright eyes, but is not only the makeup, it’s the whole look. I love clothing in pastel colours, like that of vintage lingerie.
Are you adventurous when doing your own makeup?
I wish I could say yes, but I am not. I feel very privileged to be able to make others beautiful, and it is so fun to see a model come in with a clean face and I can transform her with different looks. When I do makeup on myself sometimes, it is usually just bright eyes, a little blush, mascara, a little colour on the brows, and gloss. Not too much, just to look fresh.
And I can tell you my little secret: Sometimes when I have a breakout I put some freckles on my face. I find it takes the attention from it and it makes a kind of a “cute” look, I think! And to be honest, there is always something to do, so I feel like there is never any time to sit down and be adventurous. If I have time off, I’d rather watch a good movie and just relax.
Can you offer any expert advice for bloggers to use when doing their own makeup for styled shots on their blogs?
I think just play with it, try different looks and colours, but never go too far…unless it is a drag queen look you are going for!
Many people don’t quite understand the role of an art director. Can you explain what you do on a shoot?
For me, since I also do layouts sometimes for the client, I think about what the image will look like in the advertisement, for example, and I try to visualize my thoughts to the photographer.
How do you find working with your fiance ?
It’s very convenient, we know each other well now, so that makes it easier to understand what we want from the different shoots. And it makes travelling better.
I notice you like to explore textures in your photographs. Do you prefer to shoot scenes and the detail found within them as opposed to photographing people?
It comes back to the fact I just like to capture what I see, it can be people too, but sometimes I can be too shy to just click the camera in somebody’s face. You never know how they will react, but I have taken many snapshot without people noticing though. But I think I prefer textures, details, colours and shape. The best is when you capture something the eye does not see.
Can you tell us what kind of equipment you use, and give any advice for a novice who wants to get more serious about photography?
Marco is the technological one, he likes a variation of camera equipment, today he using the Canon Reflex 35 mm, but he changes a lot. Me, I have a small canon digital camera, that I carry with me almost everywhere, and then I have a Canon EOS 300D when I need to take images with better colors and resolution.
Do you have a favourite makeup artist and photographer?
Yes, my favourite makeup artist is Pat McGrath, a true genius. My favourite photographer, well, among many I would say today it is Miles Aldridge and Sølve Sundsbø.
All photos by Marco Di Filippo. Makeup and art direction by Trine Marie Skauen