Summer asks “I have a question about your photography. How do you get your hands to look so matte and even? It is a very beautiful effect. Is it a technique in photoshop? I’ve spent many hours trying very hard to figure it out, experimenting with many different layers etc, but I can’t quite seem to get it. May I inquire as to how you do it?”
There is no simple answer to this kind of questions. How good your nail art photos look is dependent on many factors. However, we do have a few photography tips that will be helpful for any camera whether it’s an iPhone, point-and-shoot or an expensive DSLR.
Here our 7 best nail photography tips:
- Lighting. Make sure you have a good light. It’s crucial! Avoid direct sunlight because it will result in harsh shadows that highlight imperfections and wrinkles. It’s better to take photos in the shade where the light is more diffuse. Shoot undercover outside or in a light box. Position your hand so that the light goes on your nails not on your hand and focus your camera on nails. Rotate your hand in different directions to get the best light.
- Quality in quantity. Shoot as many photos as possible from different angles until you find the angle and light that works best for your hand/nails.
- Strike the pose. ‘The claw’ (but a nice, ‘gentle’ version of it) or ‘nail polish bottle grab’ looks are best. A straight hand will emphasise wrinkles and draw focus away from the nails.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. Whether you take photos with an iPhone, compact digital or DSLR, editing can make your photos to look better. It doesn’t need to be some extensive manipulations, often all you need is to adjust exposure, brightness and saturation. If required, you can adjust colour balance to make the colours more accurate. Sometime desaturating Orange makes the skin tones look more even. For iPhone you can download a free Photoshop app to edit your photos on the go.
- Camera Raw Editor. If your camera can shoot CameraRaw instead of .jpeg, start using it. We shoot all images in RAW and then edit them in the Camera Raw Editor that comes free with Photoshop. It is much easier to use and quicker for a lot of photo adjustments than Photoshop. The good thing is that if you’re familiar with Photoshop, you’ll quickly learn how to use the Raw Editor. It also has some cool features that Photoshop doesn’t.
- Practice. Practice makes it perfect! Yes, this general rule applies to nail photography too. If you saw how our nail photos looked 2 years ago, you wouldn’t believe it’s the same person/hand. If you feel like a laugh, have a look at the first attempts here. See? Practice makes it perfect!
- Skill. You can take a photography course or just practice more and learn as you go. The quality of your photography isn’t solely dependent on what camera you’re using, skill and experience are very important to. There are many bloggers out there who take amazing photos with iPhone and other simple cameras. While DSLRs and expensive lenses can improve the quality of your photos, they will only be really beneficial when you’ve got the other basics in place. Photography is as much about skill, a good eye, creativity and the ability to work with what you’ve got than expensive equipment.