8 tips to take better nail pictures [updated]
Taking a nailfie can be really difficult, especially if you work mobile. Capturing a beautiful manicure is a huge part of what nail techs use on social media platforms and to advertise services.
Lighting will make all the difference to your pictures. Being a mobile nail tech means this can be a big obstacle, but a good daylight lamp or ring light will help hugely. Suzanne Clayton, founder of Nail Tech Awareness and brand development manager at Louella Belle, says, "Using a daylight bulb will give a more natural glow to a photo and take away the yellowness that can appear, and it will also help with shadows in the background."
Mobile nail tech Emma Robyn adds, "Failing that, some good natural light will really brighten up your pictures."
Find out how to make it as a mobile nail technician.
2. Camera settings
"You need to look at your phone’s camera and understand the different settings available," comments Clayton. "Depending on the phone, there may be different settings for ‘vivid warm’ and ‘vivid cool’, for example, which could help you take more realistic-looking photos of colours as they actually look.
"Warm and cool colours, as well as glitters, foils or other nail art, will photograph differently and will need adjusted settings."
This is crucial to the perfect shot - a messy background can take away from the nails, while a patterned background can be too busy.
Clayton says, "I use sample wallpapers from DIY shops so that I can change the background according to the colour I’m trying to capture, or just use them as different backgrounds to change up my Instagram grid or when creating product shots or flat lays. I love a brick wall wallpaper because it gives texture without detracting too much, but I also love taking nail pictures outside with natural lighting and plants as the background."
4. Photo editing
"We don’t want to over edit the pictures so they look fake; we want to keep our clients expectations realistic of what we’re capable of," says Robyn.
"I always edit my pictures using Adobe Lightroom. It’s a fab little app that’s available on mobile as well as desktop and iPad. I always like to take the redness down a little bit to make sure the clients hands are of an even skin tone. You can pick out certain colours and really make them pop too if they’re not translating well on screen."
Check out our tips for how to charge and make a profit from your nail art services.
5. Prep and prime
Taking a good nailfie starts with the essentials. Make sure your cuticle work is flawless, trim any hangnails and make sure you have a good base to start.
Robyn says, "When it comes to finishing your manicure application make sure you rehydrate the skin, but don’t leave any excess products on the hands and around the nails because it doesn’t show up well in photos. Rehydrate with a slick of cuticle oil and dry wipe with a clean lint free pad, especially around the nail folds as the oil blurs everything, which doesn’t showcase the perfect lines and manicure you’ve just done."
6. Personal branding
If you look at the biggest accounts on Instagram, they all have their own vibe to them. Robyn explains, "Finding a style that’s distinctively you will help you stand out on your clients feed or help new clients recognise your presence on the platform."
Remember, a clean, simple background will make sure your audience isn’t distracted from the nails.
7. Hand pose
A hot topic of discussion is which hand pose is best for nail shots. "There are lots of hand poses on social media now, but my advice is to choose a few that are easy for your clients to pose for, and ones that show as many of the nails as possible," says Clayton.
"Clients want to see what colours or nail art looks like on a whole hand, and both hands if possible, rather than just one or two fingers. They want to be able to imagine it on their own hands to judge if the colour is too bright or the design is too much.
"Your social media will look far neater if you have consistency in your images, and this means using the same poses for a few posts at a time or every other post, for example."
Clayton says, "Try and take photos with at least some of the products used in the hand as a prop or in the background because it will often catch people’s attention and generate interest in what you’ve used. Product bottles are also the perfect size to fit in clients’ hands so they work well for hand poses."
"I know a lot of manicurists who have props on hand, be it flowers, fur or a branded crystal. I like to include them when they’re relevant to the manicure I’ve just done," comments Robyn.
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What's your advice for taking the perfect nail photo? Let us know in the comments...