Calling All Nail Techs…. A Guide To Nail Photography

By 10th January 2018Uncategorised

When I was scrolling on social media the other day I was amazed by how many people I know are nail technicians. Some are more established nail artists and some are just starting out and finding their feet with it all, but one thing stood out and that was the photography. All of these masterpieces need to be photographed and showcased to engage with their clients, create their brand awareness and generate new business.

As a professional photographer one thing I don’t like to give away after a portrait sitting is a digital download. There is one main reason for this, I have no control over the outcome. They could have a canvas hanging on their lounge wall which they’ve just had printed somewhere inferior, but when asked they will put my name to it. That canvas may have been printed at Tesco’s or Asda and I don’t want any association with that canvas….I want to be in complete control of my images and you should be in control of yours. If you ask your clients to take a quick photo when they get chance and they upload it onto social media on your behalf, those nails represent you, you need those photos to be the best that they can be, they could make you but they could also break you, are you willing to take that risk?

Here I’m going to go through a few basics of how at the end of every appointment you can photograph those masterpieces, put them on your own social media, get the WOW factor and therefore generate more clients.

Cameras – I know some nail techs will have a super duper cameras and some will simply just have their smartphones – and there’s nothing wrong with either. Smartphones are brilliant, and the new iPhone gives a beautiful bokeh (depth of field) which when doing close up work will only enhance your masterpieces. I have a Samsung S6 I tend to use the Pro setting on the camera. To do this go to the camera, you will see three small dots above the shoot button, press the first dot and this will take you to the Pro settings. Once there you can change your ISO and your shutter speed, I would tend to use an ISO between 200 & 800, the darker the room the higher the ISO number. If you don’t like your built in camera you can always download a camera app which will also let you have more control over your settings. My favourite at the moment for this is ‘Camera FV-5 Lite’, it’s a manual camera app which gives you more control over your images. One thing I would say though if you are going to use your smartphone, make sure it’s in good working order. You can have the best manicure and the best lighting but this won’t matter if the device you’re using is no good, also make sure that the lens is clean.

Lighting – When it comes to lighting, use what you’ve got whether that be natural light or using your lamps. A piece of white card won’t go a miss either as it will reflect light back on to those beautiful nails. If you are using natural light, just be aware of glare from the sun. Too much light can result in a lack of definition so some detail may be lost.

Posing – When it comes to showcasing those nails it is a necessity to pose the hands, this is really important. You’ve just spent the best part of 2 hours creating these nails, you need the hand to be in such a position that you can see the complexities of the manicure or the artwork that you’ve produced.  Get in nice and close to the nails, ask your client to move their hand away from there body, put the base of their hands so they are touching and bend their fingers, this will produce a claw like pose and is very effective when showcasing the nails. It also makes the nails the main focus of the photograph and adds a bit of depth to your images. You could also add a prop, I’m not sure if it’s just the season but I love a bit of texture at the moment, and some of the images that I love are photographed simply against the clients cuffs or you could ask your client to hold the bottle of polish that you have just used. These will be a fairly natural positions and comfortable for the client.

Thank you for reading, I have included some images of nail photography that will really show off your manicures and I feel really work. To view them just follow the link at the end of this article.

If you would like more hints and tips from me please get in touch on 07810516283 or email me