Lacquerized. A blog about nail polish

Saturday, July 17, 2010, 5:41 PM

How To: Photograph your nails

How To photograph your nails swatches

Hello everyone! This topic may not interest all of you, but since people have been asking me to do this for ages, I figured, why not? I'm not saying my pictures are perfect, but taking nice crisp photos isn't all that hard, even if you don't own a big ass fancy $$$ camera!

1

Type of camera

I actually use two cameras, no real reason, I generally pick the one that is the closest, I'm lazy ha! The cameras I'm using are a Canon Ixus 75 and a Sony CyberShot w120. These are just simple compact cameras that don't cost a fortune at all. The first is a 7.1 megapixel camera and the Sony has 7.2 megapixels. Megapixels usually don't say a lot, the lens is what's really important. Therefore I wouldn't recommend taking pics with a mobile phone.

2

Light & Location

A lot of people think I shoot my pics in a light box, but I don't. I do have a selfmade one, but that one is too crappy to be even looked at! I prefer good daylight, on gloomy days I don't swatch at all. I take my pictures in front of a window, so all the neighbors must think I'm crazy by now.
Just play around with how the light falls on your hand, just take a couple of shots in different angles and find out what you like. Also be careful with reflection, if there's too much just pick another angle to shoot from.

3

Background

I like my backgrounds to be calm and quiet, so I use a colored piece of paper as a backdrop. Of course you don't have to do this, just make sure you don't have a lot of clutter in the background. It can be a little bit distracting at times.
No one's really interested in seeing your dirty laundry, your ashtrays full of cigarettes or your kitty taking a dump (I've seen it happen...). I do love seeing beautiful flowers, sand, sea, anything pretty and creative.

4

Sassy Settings

Now you're all set. There are a few settings I adjust and those are the Macro and the ISO values. The macro setting (iconized as a flower) allows you to take really sharp photos closeby. The ISO setting controls how sensitive the image sensor is to light. The higher the ISO the less light you'll need to take a photo. The higher the ISO, more speckled your pics will be. So you may have guessed this, I like to set the ISO low, around 100, or 200. If you have good lighting and a steady hand, this should be fine. If not, use a tripod and you won't end up with blurry pics.

 

I have to admit, I don't know a lot about white balance. White balancing is telling the camera what combination of red, green, and blue light it should perceive as pure white, given the current lighting conditions. Knowing that, the camera then accurately reproduces the other colors.
Usually my camera picks up colors just fine just using the auto preset. If your colors come out wrong, just try some of the white balancing presets to figure out which one is working for you.


I hope this post was helpful, thanks for stopping by!
- Michèle