Creating a strong online presence on YouTube will strengthen your credibility and help you gain potential clients. Beyond that, sharing your videos on the second largest search engine in the world can lead to new job opportunities and even brand sponsorship.

Recording tutorials for YouTube will allow you to display your masterful and creative technique to a local and global audience. You can also host weekly vlogs to share your expertise by answering other nail techs’ application questions or address client concerns. Your YouTube channel is what you make it.

Take your business to the next level by broadcasting your talent. To do that, you first need to understand basic shooting and video editing skills.

Getting Started, Things to Consider

The right camera for you is one that is equipped with the controls and tools you need. Cell phones for example are portable, user-friendly, and are necessary for mobile uploading capabilities. It’s important to note that cell phonevideos get recorded according to orientation of the device. Make sure to rotate the cell phone horizontally (landscape) before recording. If you plan to only share your videos on social media platforms like Instagram, Vine, and Facebook, a cell phone is the most cost effective option for you.

However, cell phones have smaller light sensors compared to video cameras. While you may not notice the difference between both options when you’re outdoors, they will become obvious indoors. Cells phones also have digital zoom capabilities that crop an image, resulting in a grainy and pixilated image when you get closer to the subject. The end result might be distracting for creating bigger videos to share on YouTube.

Digital cameras on the other hand have optical zoom, which allows you to get a clear and close image of an object from afar and up close, so you capture every detail.

As you continue to learn the multiple elements of shooting video, think about the best way to capture your nails and your technique. With practice, you’ll develop a better eye and can plan ahead, especially if these essentials are top of mind.

Controls. Camcorders come with manual features allowing you to control the look of your final video. Being able to personalize the adjustments like focus, will give your videos a specific feel.

Angles. One of the most effective ways to make your footage more interesting is to change the angle you’re shooting from. When setting up your shot, think about the perspective your viewers want to see your video from. If the main subject is nails, get a tight (macro) shot. Most digital cameras have a macro shot setting typically represented by a flower symbol. When activated, the camera automatically sets to take high-quality, close-up shots, which is ideal to capture details.

Sound. The mic built into video cameras can pick up accompanying audio but if you want clean, crisp, and plain sound, you need a dedicated mic. Headphones with a built in mic work just as fine.

Lighting. Outside in the daylight, the main light source is the sun. Your nails will look better if they face a primary light source. If the subject is behind the main source, the subject will look dark or backlit. Back light is problematic for the auto exposure feature on a camera. If the camera focuses on the light in the background, the subject will be dark and indistinguishable. Avoid shooting in areas that have high contrast such as dark versus light settings or bright light and shadows.

White balance. This process removes unrealistic color casts so that subjects that appear white in person will also appear white in the final image. The intensity or temperature of the main light source will get picked up by the camera. Sunlight, for example, takes on different shades of yellow or orange at sunrise and sunset, and blue in the shade.

In order to fix this and fill in any harsh shadows you might have from a primary light source, hold a piece of white paper next to the subject to reflect any light. Digital video cameras usually come with an automatic white balance feature that tells the camera which color is white and the rest of the colors are adjusted to make the image look more natural.

Tripod. A valuable creative technique, a tripod works great to create more professional-looking content, particularly if you’re shooting something that is not moving. Without a tripod, your video will look shaky and amateur. The steadier the shot, the more you can focus on the subject. If you don’t have a tripod, find something to steady the camera. MacGyver it!

Batteries and memory. Before you hit the red button, avoid a novice mistake by charging your batteries and making sure you have enough memory to spare while you record.

Clean your lens. Don’t let smudges ruin your shot. Wipe away any grime before you shoot. Any typical silky smooth microfiber cloth will do.

Next page: The Stages of Editing


From Camera to Computer, the Stages of Editing

A little bit of experimenting and a whole lot of patience can help you master a few basic features in your editing program of choice to produce smoothly edited and concise videos everyone will want to watch.
Both Windows and Macs have free video editing programs like Windows Live Movie Maker and iMovie. Most editing programs follow the same format. That structure includes an area called a bin. The bin is where you keep all your video clips, audio, and images. The timeline is where you set the order of the curated clips and use the trimming tool to cut and blend footage. Then there’s the preview window where you can view the work that’s on the timeline.

Follow these steps to find out how to edit a video and get one step closer to becoming the next YouTube star.

1. Import your footage. Before you can start editing your footage, you need to import it to your computer. Take either a USB cord that connects the camera to the computer, or just remove the memory card from the camera and use a card reader to connect it to the computer. Once the camera or memory icon shows up on the desktop, transfer the audio and video files, this process is called importing. Next, open the camera icon and select the files you want to edit, and save them to your computer. If the files are large, this process may take some time.

2. Organize your clips. Sorting through the freshly imported files may seem like a daunting task, but in this process organization is key. If you plan on consistently creating new videos, it’s important to name a main folder with a relevant term or by date to stay organized. If you fear losing the precious footage you just shot, make sure to have backup copies on an external hard drive. You’ll have peace of mind knowing it’s somewhere else. Save a few times an hour.

3. Import your clips into a video editor. Most video editing programs have a similar structure. After importing the video files, the clips will appear in a bin that some programs call “My Videos.” Once all your files are in the bin, it’s important to save your work. When you save the project, name it accordingly, assign it a location on your computer, and save it. While it may seem a little soon, editing video is a time-consuming art and there’s nothing worse than seeing your hard work magically disappear.   

4. Edit your footage. Drag and drop the clips you want to use to the timelime area. Trimming footage by splitting, cutting, and deleting unnecessary clip segments can help condense your footage into a short and sweet video showing only the most important and relevant material.

5. Add transitions. You can blend your newly-trimmed clips together using transitions. To apply a transition, simply pick one (whether that be a cross dissolve or slide), and drag it between two clips. Transitions can have a drastic effect on the feel of your video so have fun finding a transition that best matches your personality and brand. It’s important to note that all the clips on your timeline are copies of the original footage so you won’t actually alter the raw video. Experiment away!

6. Add text and audio. After blending your trimmed clips, you can play with text and sound. Text is useful for adding titles, captions, and credits via the text tool in your editor. To edit audio for options like fading in and out and volume control, look for a specialized control in your tool box. Once you drag the audio to your timeline, you can select where you want it to start and stop.   

7. Export your final video. You’re almost done! Once you review and save your project one last time, it’s time to encode the project into a universal video format other programs (outside of your video editor) will recognize. This process is called “exporting.” Some video editing programs can upload directly to YouTube. Other video editors give you the option to “share” your completed project for high-quality DVDs (least common), mid-quality online (most common for YouTube), or low-quality sharing through mobile devices (easiest to e-mail or text, but poor quality). More sophisticated programs give you the option to export as different file formats.

> Pro Tip #1: Be sure your subject is in focus. Getting too close may make your subject blurry. Step back and zoom in. Alternate between shot ranges (wide, medium, and close-up) as well as angles (top, side, and diagonal views) for maximum engagement.

> Pro Tip #2: Stick with one transition style (like the cross fade or swipe), two at most. Too many different transitions or font effects can be distracting. Be mindful of what you want your viewers to focus on in your video.

> Pro Tip #3: For just a few dollars, you can make a simple DIY lightbox to evenly illuminate small objects for close-up shots. DIY photo lightboxes may work for video depending on whether you want to film on a nail tip, trainer hand, or on a human model.

> Pro Tip #4: Be sure your voice is loud and clear in your spoken tutorials. If you add underlying music, make sure the music volume is lowered so it is not obtrusive to your voiceover audio.

> Pro Tip #5: Most common video formats are AVI (.avi), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Apple Quicktime Movie (.mov), MP4 (.mp4), and Flash (.flv).

Congratulations! You’ve shot, edited, and exported your own video. Now it’s time to share it with the world.   

Next page: Video Tips from Nail Techs


We reached out to four nail techs on YouTube to get a behind-the-scenes look at their video recording setup and asked, what’s your best pro tip?

Name: Sherri Traweek
YouTube channel: SherriTraweekNailArt
Editing program of choice: Adobe Premiere Pro and iMovie

Pro Tip: “Music can be the most difficult part of the editing process. For copyright reasons, YouTube and many other video sites will pull your video down if it has popular music in it. Luckily, YouTube has a huge library of royalty-free music for their content providers to use at Find something that fits the mood of your video and download it for free!” she says.

Name: Julie Ventura
YouTube channel: CelestialDreamx3
Editing program of choice: Corel VideoStudio Ultimate X7

Pro Tip: “Great quality cameras are extremely important, but my saving grace is my tripod. No matter how good your camera is, if you don’t have a tripod to position your shot just right, you won’t be able to make a decent tutorial,” she says.

Name: Tee Fisher
YouTube channel: NailGurlNYC
Editing programs of choice: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro

Pro Tip: “Good lighting can help make or break your videos. I learned that taking the time to give videos some great lighting can definitely improve the overall look of your videos. If I created a super complex nail art design, utilizing more tools than I expected, that is when I will come in and feature a voiceover. While there are many nail accounts featured on YouTube, there is room for everyone to showcase their talent and skill,” she says.

Name: Francis Retana
YouTube channel: DesignerNailVideos
Editing program of choice: iMovie

Pro Tip: “I record inside my salon and I recently upgraded the lighting in my salon to all LED light technology so that helps give me good lighting. But the best lighting I always recommend is natural light. Sometimes I don’t need any lighting for my videos because I use the natural light. But when I do need it, I use the  light at my manicure station, but switch the bulb to fluorescent light instead,” she says.

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