Photographer to the MUAs at the top of their game, Sarah Brown is responsible for every drool worthy image on our feed. Her soft focus feminine lens packs a punch allowing each collaborator to shine.
She has a photographic sensibility that is steeped in study, but with a distinct Sarah Brown flair. She is truly a powerhouse, so we were beyond excited to talk to her. We chatted to Sarah about her favourite photographers, the importance of diversity and visiting craft stores for inspiration.
Where are you from?
I am based in London now, but I am from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
What do you do?
I am a Beauty Photographer.
What is your typical day like?
I feel like as a freelancer my job can vary so much, no two days are the same! However, when I’m shooting with clients it’s normally an early call time where I have to drive across to north London with all my kit and will meet my assistants at the studio. We will set up together and shoot through the planned looks from the creative director on set and sometimes there is room for spontaneous looks at the end too!
In contrast to that, I do all of my retouching myself, so I definitely would say that it’s not all glitz and glamour and that a lot of the time I’m in my pyjamas retouching/working on my social media from home.
How did you start your career in beauty photography?
I think a lot of photographers start out with photography as a whole and gradually find their way into their niche, for me, beauty! I used to study art at school and realised the photos I was taking (that were references for paintings) were the most enjoyable part for me. From then on, I just ended up getting closer to the model and realised hair and makeup was so much more enjoyable to me. However, it is only recently I have become only a beauty photographer, as up until December 2019 I was still shooting bits of fashion.
What has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
I would say some of the campaigns I’ve done that have been in stores. This feeling never gets old. It is not everyday you walk past your work on Oxford Street! These include Primark, Patrick Ta, and ByTerry.
How do you stay healthy body and mind?
I have to admit, this is something I still try to work on, as life gets in the way. I try to put away at least an hour to work out if I can as it completely clears my mind. I also think it’s so important to have a well-planned out calendar, as it can get so hard to remember what I’ve planned sometimes!
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from so many different sources, I feel like my creative mind never really turns off. It sounds a bit weird, but I love going to craft stores to see what I can incorporate into my work! I think the team I work with also really inspires me, I feel like we are all on the same page and love bouncing ideas off each other.
Who are your favourite photographers?
Ben Hassett, Florian Sommet, Dennis Leupold, Jamie Nelson, Desiree Mattsson are all photographers I really look up to!
Who is your beauty muse?
I am always completely in awe of MUA’s like Nikki Makeup and James Malloy, they make Makeup look so effortless and can transform anyone - I can actually tell they see it as ART!
What advice would you give to other girls and guys looking to get into the creative industry?
I think I would say to not be naive of how competitive it is. Being a Photographer especially, be prepared to get a lot of “No’s” and a lot of push backs. Make sure you really love the industry, because you need a bit of a hard backbone! I would also say, try and find a niche of what makes your work different from everyone else. You need to stand out in the sea of other creatives!
What are your experiences of diversity in the industry?
I am lucky that a lot of my clients now and people I work with, represent a range of different ethnicities. However when I first started out, I would come across Hair and Makeup Artists that would just not know how to work with darker skin and afro hair, this makes me really sad that a model would have to be treated differently because of her skin colour. I think if you’re calling yourself a professional MUA or Hair Stylist, you should educate yourself and be able to do all skin tones/hair types. I also think the beauty industry as a whole needs to do more commercially. I have been on jobs where I’ve suggested casting beautiful darker skin girls and they simply say they can’t because they don’t stock the foundation shades to cater for her. I hope the beauty industry wakes up in that respect!
Confidence in your own skin. It always translates to camera!
If you could only Slapp on one beauty product, what would it be?
I am actually really bad at doing makeup myself, so I prefer the easy option. Glossier Cloud Paint is my saviour!! (Or in fact just the whole glossier range thank you!) haha. Their products are so easy to use and so effective!
Follow Sarah: @sarahbrownphoto