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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nail Photography Basics (Part II)

It's here! Part II of my nail photo basics series! You can view part I here. This part deals with making your hands look pretty before and during the actual photo taking. It should go without saying, but I am not a professional or even trained in the slightest, so take my advice with a grain of salt and LISTEN to your own body. These are just the techniques that I use and that work well for me.

Nail Prep

Part I: Cleanup

Clean up your cuticles. It's just important, okay? If you find your cuticles flooded with polish often, you are probably painting your nails inefficiently. Check out Lacquerized's tutorial for how to paint your nails to avoid cuticle flooding.

If you have an uneven bottom line or a flood, clean it up! Use a makeup brush dipped in pure 100% acetone and gently sweep it on the part of the nail you are trying to clean. Lacquerized also has a great tutorial on this subject.

Both of these techniques take practice, but are imperative for keeping your mani looking fresh and finished!

Part II: Moisture

Make sure you moisturize and trim up any frayed ends on your nails or on the skin surrounding them. When you are taking photos so close, the condition of your hands is magnified, and dry, frayed skin or dry cuticles can really distract from your awesome polish work!

For moisture, Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream is a good, affordable option and is available at most drugstores. Any lotion will work, as well; I use Victoria's Secret Vanilla Lace because it smells so damn good! Rub the lotion or cuticle cream into your cuticles and on to the finger areas surrounding the nail, and let it soak in for a minute or two. Wipe the lotion/cream grease off of your nails (but not your cuticles) with a towel or paper towel, or my personal favorite, my jeans.



I would suggest that you trim any hangnails or dry skin flaps on the finger surrounding the nail. But I do NOT suggest cutting your cuticles! I don't do it and if you try to do it yourself you could open yourself up to infection. If you must do it, get it done by a professional. Instead of cutting my cuticles, I moisturize them and push them back with my opposite thumbnail instead. I prefer to push them instead of pulling, as the shape of my thumbnail mimics the shape of my cuticles. Did that even make sense? Check out this visual for further clarification (or further confusion, I'm not sure).


Hand Positioning

Hand positioning for nail photos is really up to you. Many bloggers like to pose their hand with a polish bottle from the mani that they are posting about. Some people orient their photos vertically, and others horizontally. Some people keep their fingers separated, and some keep them together. Some care about showing the thumb, others don't.

Most often I have my four fingernails in a semi-straight line with my thumbnail resting alongside them in profile. Consistency is an area where personal preference comes into play. You can choose to match your photos to one another or not.


If you look back at my archives, you will see that I have experimented with a number of different hand positions for my nail photos in the past. Of course, the position you use is also dependent on what you need to show. For things like my Ke$ha or skeleton manis where I needed the thumb to be completely visible, I had to mess with the positioning until I found something that I was happy with which still showed all of the fingers.

Keep in mind that you can also include multiple photos of different hand positions in the same post! Oftentimes showing the mani from a different angle can benefit the comprehensiveness of your post.

The bottom line here is - DO WHAT YOU LIKE! Just be mindful and make your choices with purpose.

30 comments:

  1. great post!! :) I love these kinds of posts!

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  2. I love your photography posts, they are really helpful. I was just wondering, last time you wrote about lighting, and I have a question in relation to lighting in particular that I hope you can answer somehow. How do you best take pictures of glitter/flakies/shimmer when it is so cloudy outside that it is almost dark?

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  3. @Sosa07ac - Usually I just try to wait until the clouds clear! You could also try using a brightly lit room where the light source isn't too close to your nails (or the shadows will be too harsh). The other option is use your camera flash, but try to hold the camera further away from your hand than you usually would or the flash could make your hand too bright to see. You can always crop in closer later.

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  4. GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT TIPPPPSSS!
    THANK YOU!
    http://beijofosco.blogspot.com/

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  5. Don't you think people should do as they please? There are no rules!

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  6. @greeneyespinknails - Yes, that's true, and I did talk about that in part I of this series. Though, the nail care basics are just tips for keeping your mani looking clean, professional, and finished. The hand positioning section was a request, and I even talk in that section about figuring out what works for YOU. I am merely trying to show people how it is that I do what I do. Follow your own rules as you like.

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  7. Love this post, and your last post on photography. It helps to see tips from someone who has a background in photography. I do change up the way I position my nails in my photos, mostly because the design varies and I need to show it off in different ways. Thanks for these tips!

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  8. Sarah I'm sorry if my words seemed a bit harsh. I read your whole post and know that you only wanted to give quality tips. It's just the hand positioning part that I found anti creative. Sorry again if I offended you; it wasn't my goal at all :)

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  9. @greeneyespinknails - No, don't worry about it. I wasn't offended, I was just trying to more clearly explain where I was coming from. I understand that in blogging, not everyone is going to agree with everything you say or do, and they shouldn't! It's a wide world with a wide variety of people. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.

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  10. This is a good post! Great tips! ^_^

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  11. WOW! Thank you all these tips will help me so much since I am so new at all this! :)

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  12. Great tips! I never like seeing flooded polish, it's a big pet peeve. I think some people think they need to cover every part of their nail with polish. I'm so anal when it comes to cleanup, even thought I might not wear a mani for more than 5 hours! I always forget to moisturize before I take pics....then realize to late, lol! And I still haven't found a hand position I like.

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  13. Great tips! :D
    I'm a hand creme junkie, seems like I always pick up a bottle of hand creme when I'm out shopping! ;)

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  14. Nice post! I don't understand the thing about cutting the cuticles. Why do ppl do that? It hurts my fingers just thinking about it :p

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  15. My huge peeve is seeing messy nails. And then the statement " sorry had no time for cleanup". My thought is don't post them until you have the time! It just looks so much better.

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  16. What i hate is when I think I cleaned up good but then i take pictures and can see I messed up LOL then I am too lazy to redo it! I swear my camera see better than my eyes

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  17. Thank You for your photography lessons!! I love 'em! I've learned a lot, and now I feel like a horrible photographer of my nails! lol

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  18. @Kirshten - Aw, my intention was not to make anyone feel bad! I'm just trying to give some pointers to people that are looking to improve, is all. I want to share what has worked for me!

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  19. This is a very useful post! Great work :)

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  20. @Kirshten Oh, don't worry you didn't make me feel bad, just joking around :)

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  21. Hey Guys. I'm a nail tech and just wanted to share a quick little tip. Pushing your cuticles back while in the shower daily or every once in a while is a quick, easy, and painless way to keep your cuticles looking fresh. The steam/water from the shower make them easily pliable, and like in the post, all you need is your thumb! Happy posting! www.littleladyluxury.com

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  22. love it.... please follow my blog..
    http://www.blogger.com/profile/05920776618983443750.. thanks

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  23. thanks for that post ! i've started my own blog and i need that type of post !

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  24. hii..I dunno how I came across ur blog..But I loved these photography lessons!!! Thank u for all the effort!!! Somehow I've never come across your blog before..U hav a lovely blog!! <3

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  25. Really great job, thanks for sharing.

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  26. Thank you! This really helped and will be trying your tips as a new nail blogger, I love this blog by the way xx from www.jazzinails.co.uk

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