Strike a Pose: Find Your Perfect Hand Pose

As always the inspiration for this post came from one of your suggestions over on Instagram. When asking what you would like to see in the Masterclass series, the art of hand posing came up, and although not technically nail art related, I thought that it could actually make for an interesting post.

Before I get started I would just like to say that there is no right or wrong way to show off your nailfie, this is definitely a personal thing, there are so many swatchers and bloggers out there with their own individual style which lets face it, if we all posted the same shots our feeds would be super boring.

My Personal Style

It has been a journey finding the right pose for my swatches. Scrolling back through my Instagram feed had me cringing at times, and at the same time cheekily deleting some embarrassing offenders! I have left a few less than perfect shots on though as the nail art shown were pretty decent - if I do say so myself…

For my swatch photos I like to show off the bottle of polish used on a slight angle, along with a clear view of what it looks like on the nail. I don’t particularly like to see the thumbnail in photos, so I only capture the other four. I feel like this looks a little neater and keeps the focus on both the swatch and the bottle, nicely centred in the typical Instagram square frame. (Plus it means that if I am swatching and not just showing off a new mani - I can get away with just painting four nails…shush!)

I’d like to throw in here also that the photos you see posted on here and my other social medias are one of many, you should see the amount of photos I take before settling on the perfect one. It’s a process, it’s important to have a bit of patience.

Adding a watermark to your image is something that most choose to do. Sometimes brands or other Instagram users like to repost your work, so its nice to make sure that your name is somewhere within the frame. It doesn’t have to be over the top, I tend to just neatly line it up with the edge of one of my two middle fingers.

Things to Avoid for your Pose

After scrolling through some of my older photos, I noticed quite a few mistakes that I used to make as well as a few things that weren’t really mistakes but it annoys me to look at now.

  • Too much or not enough space between the nails and bottle - I do like to have a small gap between the nails and bottle so it doesn’t look like I’m gripping tightly onto the polish, more like its been gently placed in the palm of my hand… But at the same time I don’t like to have too much of a gap. Finding the perfect amount of space has taken me quite the while haha!

  • Different length/shape nails - Don’t get me wrong, I have made this mistake more times than I can count, and not that long ago either. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, maybe you’ve suffered a break on just one nail and refuse to chop them all down, we’ve all been there. But to make the perfect pose, it’s important to have all nails the same shape and length.

  • Holding your fingers in a way where your nails are in a super straight line, or too curved around the bottle - again, each to their own, I just prefer to have my nails slightly curved as if shadowing the bottle. I find that if I hold my fingers so that the nails are really curved around the bottle, it looks like I’m grasping hold of the polish with all my might, and if my nails are lined up like soldiers, it just doesn't look as appealing to my eyes - sausage like you know!

Too Curved

Too Curved

Too Straight

Too Straight

My Pet Peeves when it comes to Hand Poses

Although there is no right or wrong way to post your pose within the nail community, there are a few things that I absolutely cannot bear to see. A perfectly awesome manicure can be completely over shadowed by these details…

The Claw!

The Claw!

  • The Claw! - Oh my goodness, yes, the claw is my number one pet peeve in the community. In my opinion it looks very unladylike, and very unflattering. It reminds me of something out of a horror movie somehow! Is that too harsh? It’s just how I feel haha!

  • Dry Cuticles - You could have the most beautiful manicure going on, but remember to use a cuticle oil/cream. Some people have skin conditions which they cant help, but popping on some form of moisture will help improve your nailfie. I would much rather have shiny oiled up fingers than dry skin on my instagrid.

  • Flooded Cuticles/ Messy Edges - You can pick up a clean up brush super cheap from places like Amazon and Beauty Big Bang which will help you to tidy up the cuticles before taking your pic. Even back when I first started my nail journey I took time to clean around the cuticles and make the polish as perfectly rounded as possible.

Gosh I sound like a right un’ don’t I?!

Lighting & Editing

This part of the post isn’t really about how you hold your hand, it’s more about what happens between taking the picture and posting it. Over the years I have learnt a few tips and tricks to help improve the look of my photos, one of the biggest learning curves has been centred around lighting. I’m no lighting expert mind you - there’s always room for improvement, which I strive to do with my photos each and every time.

I used to hold my hand up to the window and take the shot using as much natural lighting as possible, then I moved onto a daylight lamp, then finally upgraded to a light box. The light box has been one of the best investments I made for my blog as not only does it give you more control over your lighting, it also gives you a nice, clean and crisp backdrop. You can pick these up for as little as £20 on Amazon, mine isn’t an expensive one and it does the job perfectly.

Using photo editing apps has also upped my game. It’s very rare to find photos on social media that haven’t been edited in some way, the most important thing to remember when editing your swatch photos is to make sure you don’t compromise the colour of the polish. When brightening your photos you can lose the strength of colour within, and sometimes adding too much saturation can change the colour of polish completely. Be careful with your editing, take your time. The main things I use an editing app for is to brighten dark spots in photos and to remove any little cuts and bumps that could be off putting to some.

One thing that I do see quite often is overly smoothed out images. This can make the polish look lovely and glossy, but makes the fingers look like sausages! It’s natural to have creases in your fingers, so don’t hide them, at least not completely.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has their own personal preference as to how they want to pose in their pics, to repeat myself for the final time - there is absolutely no right or wrong way of doing it, I can only describe my own style and taste. There will be people out there who don’t like how I strike a pose - and that’s completely fine!

I thought I could insert a handful of other swatchers/bloggers photos here, that all look incredible yet with all very different styles…

Bottle is held on its side, colourful background, nails staggered, slight overlap

Bottle is held on its side, colourful background, nails staggered, slight overlap

No bottle, black background, nails staggered and separated

No bottle, black background, nails staggered and separated

No bottle, thumb design shown, nails held in line pressed together, photo frame rectangular rather than typical instagram square

No bottle, thumb design shown, nails held in line pressed together, photo frame rectangular rather than typical instagram square

Bottle held upright, nails staggered and held further back from the bottle

Bottle held upright, nails staggered and held further back from the bottle

Nails more or less in line, fingers held together, ‘upside down’ nails but bottle held on its side closely

Nails more or less in line, fingers held together, ‘upside down’ nails but bottle held on its side closely

As you can see, all very different poses, but all very beautiful.

I hope that this post has been helpful, if there is anything that I haven’t covered and you would like me to, please drop a comment below.

Love, Leanne Xx