Nail Art Photography Survival Kit

Nail Art Photography Survival Kit

I’ve said it before, and I’m going to go and say it again – your photos sell.

Having well captured photos allows you gain attention and establish credibility with potential clients and audience members.

Think about this… when others sell their home, they clean and stage and decorate their rooms. In fact many home sellers hire professionals to stage and photograph their home for them, because they know it sells.

And this is exactly what we as nail professionals need to do. No we don’t need a professional photographer for our work (wouldn’t that be nice?!) but we’re selling our service and they receive a certain appearance to fit the lifestyle they want – all that needs to be properly captured.

As nail techs and artists we are here to make nails look good, and it’s so important that we start focusing on doing justice to your beautiful work when sharing with your clients and following.

This isn’t to say I am a professional photographer and I am totally guilty of taking rushed quick photos, and sometimes it just isn’t possible to take beautiful photos as clients are rushing out or your time is limited.

But when you can, take the time, breathe, and snap carefully.

So let me share with you some of my secrets when taking better photos for nail art.

Easy photography tips:

If you haven’t gotten my infographic on taking good nail art photos with your smartphone (you can apply most of these rules to any camera) – please download this free infographic.

I break down 10 simple things that you can do to help you take better photos.

This will drastically improve your photos without any special equipment!

But now I’m going to share with you my photo taking kit, things I can’t go without and use all the time when it comes to taking photos of nails (and all with my smartphone).

My Foldio Lightbox (or a Small Lightbox)

Foldio Lightbox for Nail Art

Taking photos is ALL about lighting, and that means having good lighting can keep your photos looking focused and bring out the color and all the hard work you’ve put in it.

Now, here’s where the utterly magical Foldio portable mini photo studio from Orangemonkie enters the scene.

It’s a fully-functional light box with built-in LED lighting that requires only a few seconds of setup time AND can fold up small enough to fit in my shoulder bag.

This lightbox, is small enough for nails and keeps everything brightly lit.

I used to have huge lighting equipment (when I used to take photos for The Nail Room) but have recently discovered this amazing project that was funded on Kickstarter.

It’s small and perfect for placing sample nail tips inside. Just plug in a 9 volt battery and you have a perfect lightbox for your nail art!

Not to worry, if you don’t have a lightbox, you can always make one yourself –  totally worth it. Here’s an example of a DIY phtography lightbox that you can create yourself!


Get Closeup Macro Lens

Smartphone Macro Lens for Nail Art

Smartphones nowadays are your best tools, they are convenient and can take amazing photos.

Most recently, majority of my photos are taken with my new Galaxy Samsung Note 4 – the camera is simply amazing even compared to my not so old iPhone 5 (depending on when you read this).

But like any camera with different lenses, getting close up may not allow your lens to focus.

That’s where a clip on ‘Macro Lens’ like this one come in handy.

Just snap one of these things on any smart phone and you’ll be able to get very close capturing some of the most intricate details.

Each nail doesn’t give us too much real estate to work on, so make sure you get close up and show off your work .

Great thing about these macro lens? They won’t hurt your wallet as they cost only $5 on Amazon here.




If you’re taking photos, find backdrops that make your photos interesting. At the same time make sure you don’t use something that takes away from your design – adding too much can overpower your own artwork.

Some great places to look for items I found are at second hand stores. Look for things that have a bit of pattern or movement – not too vivid in color (unless it compliments your artwork), and doesn’t cause too much reflection or glare when taking a photo.

Some great items are

  • Perfume bottles
  • Fabric
  • Vases
  • Reclaimed Wood
  • Nature
  • Jewelry
  • Textured metal