Nail Art

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot

With the explosion of nail art, techs are expanding their creativity into the field of photography. Here are tips on how to capture the best shot.

Learn the Terms:


DSLR: Literally “digital single lens reflex,” DSLR means the digital camera has a lens that uses a mirror and prism system. Typically, the DSLR is also an interchangeable lens camera, which allows you to connect a variety of lenses to your camera base.


Bokeh: Often thought of as the beautifully blurred points of light in the background of photos, bokeh is actually the aesthetically pleasing quality of the blur, not the blur itself. Good bokeh can be found in soft-edged circles of light. Crisp edges, even in a blur, can steer the eye away from your art.


Macro: It’s a mystery why someone chose the word “macro” (meaning “large-scale”) as the name of the lens you need for up-close pictures. Possibly because when you use this setting and focus up-close, the shot appears large? Whatever the reason, the “macro” setting is often the best choice for up-close nail art images.


DPI: “Dots per inch.” DPI tells you how many pixels are in a square inch. If you want to print a photo, it needs to be 250-300 dpi. Be sure the settings in your camera are set to take pictures large enough to print photos at this resolution. If you use photos online, the size can be smaller, since online images look clear at 72 DPI.


F-stop or f-number: The “f” stands for focal length. The “f” is always followed by a number; the smaller the number, the wider the opening (aperture). The wider the aperture, the more focused the lens becomes on a particular spot. So, to take a crisp, clear picture of nail art with that beautiful bokeh in the background, choose a low f-stop.


Aperture: The lens opening that allows light into the camera. The size of this adjustable opening is measured in f-stops.


ISO: Remember the days of film, where you chose between 100/200/400, etc., speed film? Now you can choose the speed through the ISO setting. Traditionally, ISO speed is increased to accommodate moving objects, so a low ISO speed (100/200) should work well for nail art.


Megapixel: Literally “one million pixels.” A pixel is a little dot. Pictures are made up of millions of these little dots, 4M, 5M, 12M, for example. When a camera has a low number of megapixels, the picture it produces begins to look grainy as it increases in size, a situation described as “pixelated.”


Next page: How to use the macro setting


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