How To Take A Photo Of Your Freshly Manicured Nails


I like to paint my nails weird colors.

I’ve always loved to do that. When I was a little girl and my mom would treat me to a manicure, she’d “o0oo0h” and “ahhhh” me toward the more modest colors. Essie’s Ballet Slipper or Marshmallow would be the most ideal choice.

But then she’d walk away and I found myself flirting with a rainbow of colors to choose from. I’d reach for the brightest. The boldest. The one that was the most full because other people were scared to wear it. And if I couldn’t decide which color to select (and over 15 minutes had past), I’d select a few and ask the manicurist to paint three fingers one color and the other two another.

Everything eventually becomes a trend.

So when painting an “Accent Nail” became a thing last year, my manicurist finally stopped asking me, “Are you sure you want to do that?”, when i’d hand her two bottles of very different colored nail polish and designate which fingers to paint which color.

Snapping a picture of your freshly manicured nails and posting the photo on Instagram is truly an art. It’s harder than taking a selfie. There should be a name for this kind of thing.

I’m going to call it a nailfie.

I’m also going to admit that I’ve tried to do this (many times) before and I’ve failed. I’ve failed so badly and I didn’t even bother to give up – when I probably should have. Instead, I took 35 pictures of my sea foam green nails, trying out 11 different angles, clutching on to all different spontaneous props.

Exhibit A:

It’s harder than it seems.

At first you’re so excited to send a picture to your best friend or your mom or your boyfriend – who probably won’t notice you changed a thing (“Oh, your fingers weren’t always that Thanksgiving cranberry color?”). So you’ll quickly toss your hand in front of the camera and ::Snap::

That first photo will make you feel self-conscious. You’ll suddenly, for the first time, notice that your fingers are too skinny or too long or too far apart or too stubby and you’ll try to take the photo again. This time, you’ll get creative. You’ll flatten your hand out or wrap your nails around something so no one can see your full finger flaws.

You’ll eat up the spare room on your iPhone camera roll with 15 different angles and 100 different takes. Until you have a decent enough picture to show off to your best friend or your mom or your boyfriend (who will won’t understand why you’re sending him this nailfie).

After scrolling through almost 600 nail pictures i’ve taken over the past 3-years (only 10 of which I’ve shared with other humans), I noticed a pattern in the type of nail pictures that work the best and the ones that make our fingers look like string cheese.

The Claw

Let’s start with “The Claw”. To do this, you’ll want to flex your fingers so that they fold in half, showing off just your nails and the palm of your hand. This tends to be the most popular pose because there’s not a lot involved, except a simple flex of your less dominant hand while the other one takes the photo. Be careful of clawing too hard, or your fingers will look like the photo above. Instead, just do a casual flex, as if you were going to blow the nail polish dry on your hand.

The Bottle Grab

Enhance The Claw pose with a Bottle Grab. It’ll make it look more natural. Like your examining the bottle, but really you’re just using it as a prop so that your nails have something to lie flat on and “smile” for the camera.

The Hand Over Hand

This one is very lady like. It’s as if you’re pulling a Marilyn Monroe, pushing down your skirt as it blows in the wind. This one, however, requires another person to take your photo or some self-timer skills.

Give it Props

Get creative and grab on to something. Grab your purse, grab your wallet, grab a bag of Cheetos.

The High Five

This is the original, “I’m so excited to snap a photo of my freshly manicured nails” photo. This is when you don’t care about grabbing on tightly to a bottle of used nail polish at the salon or asking someone else to snap a photo of your hands. You have to watch out for this angle though. If you have long dangling fingers (like I do), the right combination of Instagram filters can make them look like octopus arms or pieces of spaghetti.

See below.

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