In permanent makeup, your portfolio is your most powerful weapon for attracting new clients. Obviously, you have to do quality work, but you also have to know how to present it in such a way that will make anyone who comes across your before and after pics fall in love and choose you, not someone else, to do their brows or lips.
After all, your clients are deciding on whether to allow you to tattoo their face, so you have to show them what you can do.
However, it’s sometimes difficult for artists, especially beginners, to get their before and afters right. The first step is taking good pictures, but editing them in the best way possible is also important.
Here’s a collection of useful tips and tricks to point you in the right direction on how to edit before and after pics and build a portfolio that works to your advantage.
But First, A Few Tips on Actually Taking the Photos
Not even the most photoshop-savvy artist can edit a picture well if it wasn’t taken properly. So, whenever you’re taking photos of your client before or after a PMU procedure, do the following:
- Make sure they’re not blurry. A blurry pic definitely won’t attract attention and it won’t showcase your work well.
- You don’t necessarily have to get a professional camera – most phones nowadays can take excellent photos, just make sure to choose the right mode.
- Get your client in the same position and get the same angle before and after the procedure. Future clients want to see the transformation and all the changes you’ve made, and they won’t be able to do so if you get different angles.
- It’s a good idea to take 2 sets of photos: get a front view, and a 3/4 view (a half-profile). You can post both angles as a carousel post on your IG profile.
- If you’re taking pics of brows or PMU eyeliner, get the client to look in the same direction. If you’re taking pictures of lips, get them to position their lips in the same way in both photos. Different facial expressions make it hard for future clients looking at the pics to compare the results clearly.
- Lighting is super-important! The lighting has to be the same in both pictures to allow the viewer to perceive the transformation clearly. Otherwise, it can make the skin tone look different and lead the viewer to suspect it’s not the same person.
- The best way to achieve good lighting is to use a ring light. Or even 2 ring lights! To prevent any shadows and get consistent lighting, either bring your ring light very close to the client’s face, or place 2 ring lights, one on each side of the client’s face.
- Get a picture of healed results and after the touch up. Future clients will definitely appreciate the chance to see the work healed.
For even more tips on taking before and afters, read this article.
Image source: Instagram @phibrows_by_ana
Tips on How to Edit Before and After Pics
Now that you’ve taken quality pictures, you need to edit them to make your work stand out. There are 2 points to consider here: how to retouch them, and how to make a collage.
How to Retouch Before and After Pics
When retouching photos, refrain from going overboard. With everyone being on social media all the time, clients can clearly spot an over-photoshopped photo and it will make them suspicious: if you photoshop your pictures too much, they may think you’ve also retouched the results and that it’s not an objective representation.
Here’s what you can do to make the pics more attractive, but not too fake:
- Brighten the photos a bit. A bright picture makes the results pop, but don’t go overboard and make it washed out. The colors of the pigments should be as true to life as possible.
- If your client has a pimple or some sort of blemish around the results, you can “erase” it by blurring, or use the Heal option in the Photoshop App (this is the easies solution). Blemishes can draw attention away from the results.
- But don’t blur all of their skin. Okay, smooth skin without pores may look better, but people want to see realistic results on clients who they can identify with. Your portfolio should look nice, but it’s not a fashion magazine or a skincare ad – real skin has texture and that shouldn’t be disguised.
- After a PMU procedure, the skin around the treated area is red, and this may lead some people who aren’t familiar with the fact that this is totally normal to think PMU is more aggressive than it really is. Plus, it draws attention away from the results. You can and should edit out the redness.
- If you’re taking pics of your client’s smiling lips, you can brighten their teeth a bit. Tidy white teeth definitely make the photo more attractive, but again, don’t go overboard. Super-bright teeth make the retouching very obvious and it can make the viewer wonder what else was retouched.
A trick many artists use to get rid of the redness altogether is to apply a layer of secondary numbing that contains epinephrine, a vasoconstrictor that shrinks blood vessels and temporarily restricts blood flow into the area. In a minute or 2, this ingredient minimizes redness and it allows you to take pics without redness, so you don’t have to hassle with editing it out.
How to Make a Before and After Collage
When you’re cropping the before and after pics and making a collage, your motto should be – keep it simple.
Playing around with pics may be fun and it’s easy to fall into the creativity trap of wanting to showcase your work in a complex collage different from anyone else’s. So it’s not uncommon to come across collages where lips or eyes are cut out and placed in different spots on the photo.
This may not be the best practice. Your work should be shown in context, i.e. not isolated from the rest of the person’s face, or at least the part of the face. The viewer should see the results in their natural environment, so to say, not a mouth blended into the person’s chin or wherever.
As with many thing in life, the best solution is the simplest one. Here’s how to make a collage that will showcase the work in the most realistic, attractive way:
- Split the photo into 2 even halves horizontally or vertically.
- If you split it horizontally, the before pic should go above, and the after below.
- The pics should be as similar as possible – the only prominent difference should be the results. So, if it’s the brows you’re showing, center the photos so that the before brow is directly above the after brow. The same goes for eyes or lips.
- It’s better to clearly separate the 2 pics than to blend them together. Blending can make the whole thing look weird.
- Finally, you should definitely stick your logo on there somewhere, for the purposes of branding and protecting your work, but keep it elegant. Don’t make it too large and don’t place it too near the results, because it will draw attention away from them.
Best Apps for Editing Before and After Pics
Ultimately, the best editing app is the one that works best for you and that you can use easily. But to point you in the right direction of what you should try, here’s a list of apps for editing and making collages artists most often recommend:
- Adobe Lightroom – Allows you to manipulate brightness and shadow. The end results can look very professional.
- Facetune – Artists love the filters available here, but it’s also good for retouching the pics manually. A possible downside may be the fact that many of the features aren’t free, but the annual fee is definitely worth it. Try out the app and see if it suits you before you get the paid version.
- Snapseed – Artists claim it’s one of the best apps for smoothing out the skin and getting the photos to look professional, but remember, don’t overdo it. It’s said to be quite user-friendly.
- Lensa – This one has a good auto-correct feature which can work well. Just make sure it doesn’t change the results too much.
- Photogrid – One of the favs for making collages.
- Meitu – an all in 1. This app allows you to do both retouching and making collages, so you don’t have to switch between apps to get the end result you want. Artists claim it’s especially effective for removing redness while keeping things subtle.
You can find a longer list of apps useful for your PMU business here.
One Last Tip
Make sure you get the client’s consent for sharing their pics. You should include this point in your consent form to protect yourself and prevent future inconvenience. If a client isn’t comfortable with you posting their pics, don’t push too hard. They have the right to refuse.
Cover image source: Freepik