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.
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 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.