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Nail Photography Tips, Day 4: Getting Up Close

by Holly Schippers | May 2, 2019
When focusing on a specific nail or detail, crop with intention.

When focusing on a specific nail or detail, crop with intention.

What did you figure out about lighting? It is actually pretty tricky to get it just where you want it, especially in a hurry. Having some regular tricks for the background, pose, and lighting can make it easier to take photos more consistently, since you know where everything is and how you want it put together each time.

Nail Photography Day 4

Zoom to crop or crop to zoom? Sometimes in bad lighting it is easier to use the camera zoom to crop the photo so your head or hands are not causing a shadow. It can make a difference to simply take the photo from a different angle, in addition to having two light sources as we discussed yesterday.

When you digitally zoom to take a photo with your phone, or even with a camera, you will find that the original image does not have as high of a resolution. Sometimes a tiny amount of zoom will improve focus; however, try to avoid using zoom as your cropping mechanism. Get close to the nails. Being close to the nails will allow the automatic features of your phone camera to help with focus and light. If you are too far away from the nails, the camera is unable to adjust the lighting correctly.

If there is an element you really want to focus on, tap its image on the screen to tell the camera where you want it to put effort on focusing, then take the picture. Once you have a high resolution picture, it is very simple to use the photo editing features indigenous to your phone. By cropping in the image with the photo editor, you maintain the integrity of the resolution while still getting the specific element you want to highlight in the photo.

Creative cropping can also remove things in the background you don’t care for or give you control over what nails the viewer sees. Try to either get all of the nails in the shot, or make it obvious that you have cut part of them out intentionally. Have you seen old printed photos where people’s heads are partially cut off? Avoid looking like you made a photography mistake when cropping and be sure you create an artistic crop that is deliberate.

Practice getting less than two feet away from the nails for a day or two, then try getting within less than a foot. The more you get used to taking the photos up close, the easier the lighting becomes to figure out now that you’ve had a little practice!

Click here to read more about photographing nails.

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