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Traci Fine- owner and makeup artist of Fine Makeup art Chicago

How did you get your start? Was makeup what you initially started doing or you transitioned into it?
No I didn’t set out to do makeup.  As I kid I was very fascinated by colors and making fashion drawings and color on faces and used to play with my mom’s makeup a lot.My mom would take me with her to the hair salon every Saturday as a little kid and got my nails and hair done but I was a tomboy(I grew up in Northbrook).

“You don’t want your makeup to walk in before you do”

How did you transition into makeup artistry?
I started out modeling here in Chicago and worked with the James Stewart Agency- at the time- and while I was modeling, it turned out that I was really good at doing makeup as well. I had the opportunity to help on some shoots which was really fun.
At that stage in my life I was more interested in modeling and I had the opportunity, beginning at 18, to travel across the world to places like Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, Milan, Hong Kong
In addition to modeling and having the great experience in the fashion industry and working with some of the top professionals in the world, I learned quite a bit. I would  watch what they were doing and learned many tricks from those makeup artists. Then I moved back to Chicago and focused on family for a while and got out of the industry doing makeup and modeling. I reentered the industry again in Highland Park(IL), worked for an agency and several years later I began to freelance.

I’ve been afforded the opportunity to work with  and my work appear in publications such as People Magazine, TIME


How did you build your name and client base?
When I started back in the industry again, I really didn’t have a lot of network and I truthfully had nothing but my drive. I utilized what I did know from the modeling industry and started out building my portfolio and my website, and soon people found me.

When you moved back, did you do some exchange work to get started?
I did, I did to build my portfolio, everyone does even some of the best in the business. It’s called “TESTING” for portfolio. Mario Testino for example still tests, who he does test with though is a different story (laughs).

How did you begin to book major assignments? Was it through the network you built?
I started building relationship with different photographers. I have an agency in LA and through that for example I have been able to work with People magazine 2 years in a row now. Majority of my work comes from being recommended by others I’ve worked with before.

What was your AHA moment  where you said to yourself I know I’m really good at this?
I am the most critical of my own work, I am never satisfied. I am always working to attain better. I am still getting better.

How do you keep up with trends in your industry and yet setting your work apart?
You do have to look ahead and see trends before they happen and you see things evolve. You have to have a keen eye and be a few steps ahead of trend and style. The Chicago market, is a bit more conservative. I put that into consideration and also do work with lasting power to be ahead of time.

What  advice can you give someone that’s looking to begin their own portfolio or work on major projects for magazines?
First, is to always try and perfect your craft; your work has to be first and foremost. Secondly you have to work hard. and lastly, overnight success never happens. The pople that you think attained overnight success have been working early on to make that happen. Make sure to constantly look to improve your work, work twice as hard as some of the other people. Also be careful the type of work you do. This is a very visual industry, makeup artistry, be aware of the quality of people you surround yourself with, pick your colleagues and associates wisely.

Who would you have on your dream photo shoot team?
I would love the location to be back in Europe and I would love to work with Vogue and Mario Testino.

Traci Fine

When you prepare for a shoot, how do you prepare?
Part of the reason I love this job is it’s always different, you never know what’s going to happen or who I’m working on until I arrive on set. I’ve had projects that range from celebrity clients, high profile politicians to former presidents. You have to be ready for anything.
Always before every project go through my makeup kit and make sure everything is where it belongs.
Experience is knowing what to do when the variable happens and not panicking.

Are there certain projects where you are creatively consulted prior to the shoot?
There are times I can and times I can’t it truly depends and who I’m working with and they type of project. You have to be able to communicate you vision without being imposing whiel working on a team. When you’ve developed a relationship with these people and they know and trust you then you can get your voice across a bit more.

How do you maintain relationships in your industry?
I certainly keep in mind to stay in touch especially with those I haven’t worked with in a while or see in a few weeks or months.

What are 5 beauty products to recommend to anyone regardless of skintone?
Makeup Forever, has some of the best longwear clutter proof makeup. Their HD powder is very finely ground powder available. In terms of foundation, I love Cinema Secrets and its for professionals only and it’s less expensive but works better that most commercial foundations; you can barely see it and and doesn’t feel heavy and looks beautiful on skin. Model in the bottle, which happens to be an Oprah favorite, It’s a makeup setting spray that I use especially on bridal clients and it makes your makeup last all night long. After everything is done on your face, just spray it . Inglot has highly pigmented eyeshadow colors and they come on magnetized palettes so they don’t break and that’s very important. They just went into Macy’s on state street in Chicago, it’s amazing. Lastly Bobbi Brown makeup is really great all around.

Traci Fine Wedding Makeup Artist

In my makeup kit,  I have everything, eyeshadows, every shade blush, a case of 50-60 lipsticks and from those colors I can mix to make other colors to make 600 more. I have to have everything  for every possible situation and every foundation shade in my makeup kit.

What does it mean to be sponsored by a makeup company?
Several makeup companies have different levels of sponsorship. If you are a young student they will give you a discount perhaps. The more experience you have such as tear sheet or call sheet from magazine and credentials, apply and send in your credentials to begin the process.
Francois Nars for example is a makeup artist himself.
You can be sponsored by many beauty brands not just one.
I love my job because i love the fact that everyday is never the same.

What tips can you give for the girl that has to go from day to night?
The foundation and that spray that I spoke about earlier is key. If you have to go from work and then out after, do a combination of that and your makeup should still be on by the end of the day. Freshen up depending on what you’re doing add a bolder lip or smoky eye liner or a pop of color in relation to your style and age. If you will do a bright lip, take it easier on the eyes to create balance. Makeup artistry also requires taste regardless of the amount of skill you have.

Makeup is there to compliment not overpower

What would you recommend for makeup removal?
I have in my kit, Neutrogena or Mac wipes.

Any tips you can suggest some Chicago ladies looking to spice up their look?
Though I love the smoky eye and pink lip, I think you should experiment with bolder colors, and pastel colors. Don’t be afraid to tastefully express yourself with your makeup. Shake it up and wake it up!

Traci Fine is a freelance makeup artists whow work ranges from Bridal to editorial, fashion and more. If you would like to inquire more about her services CLICK HERE

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