Interview – Makeup Artist Tamee Rene Brancati

Award-winning Australian, makeup artist Tamee Rene’ Brancati has forged her own path in the competitive local industry to become a successful bridal, editorial and more recently advertising makeup artist who also writes on makeup trends for trade magazines. Determination, perseverance and dedication has carved her out a busy career and as she explains it takes talent and tenacity to succeed.

Q. How and why did you get into the makeup industry?

I used to watch in awe as my mother transformed herself every day with creams and powders – “putting on her face” as she would say. Fast forward several years to high school where my favourite subjects were art and photography which later led me to work in the professional photographic industry. Here I learnt everything there is to know about colour, density and light and met some talented photographers who create many of the amazing images we see in magazines today. I loved being surrounded by creative people and have always had a passion for fashion and beauty. It must be in my genes with my father being one of Australia’s finest bridal and evening wear couturiers.

Q. Did you undertake formal training?
I did a part-time course studying bridal, fashion, photographic and catwalk makeup at Sydney College of Makeup Art (SCOMA) which taught me the fundamentals of being a makeup artist such as establishing a professional kit, hygiene and techniques for various genres. Once I finished the prospect of establishing my own business was too daunting and in all honesty, I didn’t think my work was of a high enough standard to charge people money for it. So instead I practised over and over again on anyone willing until I finessed my technique and built confidence. My photographic background meant I always took photos as I worked to check how my makeup reproduced photographically (you actually lose a lot of colour and detail especially with flash photography). I studied the images intently and was very self-critical always looking to improve and advance.

Q. When did you get your big break?
One wedding slowly lead to another and another and in early 2002 I took the plunge and registered my business as a freelance makeup artist, Tamee Rene’ Makeup Artist, specialising in bridal and beauty makeup. I got most of my early work through word of mouth. Running your own business is initially one of the most difficult things and knowing the best avenues to try and increase your business basically came down to trial and error, it was not something I was taught at my course. Personally I found doing one or two, local, smaller bridal fairs per year was a great way to get my name out there and an opportunity to network with other local businesses in the wedding industry. The places that hold the local bridal expo’s don’t charge anywhere near as much as some of the bigger city expo’s do to exhibit and when your first trying to establish your business, you tend to spend more than what you are making so you have to make budget conscious yet beneficial business decisions. I also dropped my business cards at local hair salons, bridal shops and photographers which worked well to increase bookings.

Q. What tips do you have for marketing yourself?

Ultimately, the most successful marketing tool I have invested in is most definitely my website which now brings me the majority of my work. My best tip for building a website is to use before and after images to show your true capabilities and they need be beautifully photographed. Do not under estimate the difference a brilliantly talented, professional photographer can make to the finished product. They know how to position and shoot people at their most flattering angles and light the subject so that your work is shown at its best. You can have a simply stunning model, apply amazing makeup and take a snap with your own camera and it will not do your work any justice. The cost associated with a professional photographer is high and prohibitive for most new makeup artists so I advise you work on a TFCD basis which means “time for a CD”, so you give your time and talent to do makeup on a model for a shoot and in exchange for this you get hi-res images from the shoot to use for your own portfolio. This can be daunting but there are a number of websites – Model Mayhem being one I favour – who provide networking environments where models, photographers, makeup artists, hairstylists and stylists all display their work on the site and you can liaise with one another and organise your own shoots. Everyone basically gives their time and talent to create some fabulous images that each can use to showcase their work.

Another important tip is to ask the model if you can take a before, makeup free shot of your model or client and most importantly get them to sign a model release form if you intend to use images of a person to advertise your work. This contractual agreement states the model and photographer grant you permission to use the images from the shoot or wedding to advertise your work, whether they be for your website, magazine advertising etc.

Q. Are there any downsides?
To become a successful makeup artist, I believe, you initially need to do a lot of work for free and assist a makeup artist whose work you admire. Initially I donated a lot of my time working on photo shoots but I never looked at it as me ‘working for free’ because not only do you gain some beautiful images to show off your talent; the experience and practise you get and the knowledge you take away from the jobs helps you to become a better artist. For makeup artistry, practice really does make perfect. No matter how talented a makeup artist you may be there is always room to improve and grow and there are always new techniques and products to try.

The more weddings I did the more confidence I gained but I in order to succeed you need passion, determination and the confidence to sell yourself, and your work. After building up a successful mobile bridal makeup business my next dream was to have my work published in a magazine. In 2004 I achieved that dream when I was published on the cover of Your Wedding, followed a year later by the front cover of the makeup magazine BRUSH (no longer published). This wasn’t initially easy I emailed countless magazines with samples of my work explaining how keen I was to contribute to their publication. The rejections can be very disheartening but you have to pick yourself up and keep on trying. If you dream and believe in something enough you can make it happen!

Q. What has been your career highlight to date?

Working for all the amazing bridal and beauty publications I currently work for. I particularly enjoy the celebrity interview articles I write and makeup looks I create on celebrities for Bella magazine. I have interviewed Annalise Braakensiek, Hi-5, Sheridyn Fisher and Australian Ambassador of Playboy clothing, Emma Cam and Donna Thompson from Australian TV show, Beauty and the Geek.

Q. What does a typical working day in your life involve?
Each day is different for me. If I’m working on a Bridal magazine fashion shoot then I up early on location. These shoots are usually a full day as I need to be there for touch ups or possible makeup changes. If it’s a beauty shoot I’ve organised myself for one of the several magazines I contribute to its also a full day, but much busier as I’m co-ordinating the model’s hairstyle with the hairstylist, lighting, location and backdrop with the photographer, clothing and accessories with the stylist as well as doing the makeup myself. On weekends I am usually booked out with weddings and if I do happen to have a spare Saturday then that will be booked doing makeup trials for weddings. On the days that I’m not actually doing makeup I’m either liasing with clients, organising up coming shoots, writing articles for magazines and editing images from shoots to go alongside these articles.

Q. What’s left for you to achieve in your industry?

I always set goals for myself and when I achieve them I set myself more. I would love to have more of my work published on the front cover of some of the wonderful magazines I work for. My ultimate dream is to represent a cosmetic brand, preferably Australian, and be their official makeup artist for their advertising shoots. On the bridal side of things I would love to do a celebrity wedding!

Contact: Tamee Rene’ Brancati or 0407 293 632.


Leave a Reply

Back to top