Nail-fie

These days it's not enough that your client gets to enjoy her magnificent nail art for as long as it lasts; it's practically your duty to capture an image and share it online for all the world to see. But if your nail art photos are lacking a bit of luster, you may benefit from a few pointers.

Yes, most cell phone cameras allow you to get within a few inches of your handiwork, but you're better off pulling back just a little to get an even clearer shot. Focus your phone's camera on the nails — as opposed to other objects in the shot. If your hands are not the steadiest, you might want to invest in a small tripod so images don't turn out blurry.

As for the hands themselves, make sure they're relaxed and don't look rigid. Fingers shouldn't be bunched up or splayed too far apart. You can tweak the fingers gently with an orangewood stick so they are evenly spaced and nails face the same direction. Then try taking the shot from a few different angles.

One thing that separates the pros from the amateurs is a clean cuticle area. Fingers should be free of cuticle oil, which can produce a visible shine. Washing and drying the hands after applying cuticle oil will do the trick.

Lighting can make or break your photo. Rule #1: Make sure there's plenty of light, whether it's natural light from the windows, overhead salon lighting, or desk lighting. You could even take your shoot outdoors and see what sunlight does for your photos.

Unfortunately, the more light you have, the more glare and shadows can become a problem. If glare from the overhead light is making detail hard to see, have someone hold tissue paper or a white cloth over your art to diffuse the light. Similarly, if you're using desk lighting, you can reduce glare by placing a white piece of paper in front of your light source. Or try pointing your lamp upward so the light bounces off the ceiling, rather than the nails. If you notice shadows, you can use a second phone's flashlight to get rid of them.

Avoid using the flash, if possible, since it pales everything and can add glare and shadows in the process. If you do opt to use the flash, experiment with it. Test it out from different angles and in different light conditions.

Backgrounds shouldn't detract from what's in the foreground — namely, your nail art. Try shooting over a white table top, on a plain white sheet of paper, or consider using a step-and-repeat displaying your salon name or social media handle.

Another way to make sure you get the credit for your work is to watermark your photos prior to posting them or shooting with your business card in the background.

Nail-fie