Mani Remix #1- Color Blocked Nails (And How To Take Good Nail Pictures)

Hey There Polished People!!

Do any of you watch The Bachelor? I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I’m a big fan, especially of this season. I love Sean Lowe and think he’s just totally cute, for one, and a really nice guy, for two. I just watched the ย episode where “The Women Tell All” last night and I couldn’t help but tweet out all my reactions to it. We all know Tierra is off her rocker, and then AshLee. Oh my goodness. She always seemed a little crazy to me, and I’d tell my mom that and I don’t think she saw it, but I KNEW she was nuts. I felt like she was completely caught up on being “broken” and all her whining about that just made me wanna ensure that she’s broken by pinching her nose off (yes, pinching, not punching, do you think I’m really that violent??). On “The Women Tell All” she was EXTRA crazy saying Sean said all this stuff and I think it was clear that he didn’t.. anyway, I’ll stop boring you to death if that’s not your type of show and I have a feeling a lot of you are going to be like, “You’re nuts for watching that garbage.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, even though Tierra (Tierra-ble!! Haha) wouldn’t change anything about herself, there are plenty things I would change, and one of which are my old pictures of my first nails that I did when I started this blog over a year ago. I have been meaning to redo some of my nails from the early days and I’ve finally got around to doing it!! Click here to see my old Color Blocked Nails.ย You’ll see that theย clean-up is horrific, the lighting is craptastic and they just look like a mess. Plus, I’m holding the invisible banana which is a major rookie mistake, is it not? Well, it’s miraculous what difference a clean-up brush and outdoor lighting makes. Ready to see my revamp?

Color Blocked Nails Mani Remix

color blocked nails

ManiRemix1ย How To Get These Nails:

  1. Basecoat.
  2. Paint your nails with SH Eel Skin (as opposed to Ulta Concrete Evidence like in the original).
  3. Free-hand a thick stripe of CC Mrs. Robinson (instead of SC Dream On) down the center of each nail.
  4. Free hand short chevrons on the tip of each nail. You can easily do this just with a polish brush by following this chevron tutorial. I used FP Black Expressionism.
  5. Let your nails dry a little to prevent smearing and then top them off with a coat of Jessica Brilliance.

How To Make Your Pictures Look Better:

  1. CLEAN UP YOUR CUTICLES!!! Use a little paint brush, or my favorite- an angled paintbrush or eyeliner brush dipped in acetone (Try pure acetone, you will thank me. Seriously. I only use pure acetone for cleanup, and I use regular remover for taking off my polish, and it’s SO worth keeping both around). If you don’t have time for clean up today, wait to take your pictures till tomorrow.
  2. Moisturize your cuticles!!! Are your cuticles crusty and disgusting?? Get some lotion or oil. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. You can rub olive oil into your cuticles nightly, or some Vaseline, or cheapo Jergens lotion… just DO SOMETHING! And if you have nasty little hangnails, cut them off with cuticle nippers. We all have dry hands sometimes but you’ve got to make the effort to make them look nice so they look good at least most of the time. If you do have a few dollars to spare, I highly recommend Badger Cuticle Care. You can find it on the Badger website or in natural food stores. It works wonders and lasts a reallllllly long time. If your cuticles are looking a little rough and you just MUST take your pictures right now, here’s a little cheat that sometimes helps me- clip off any hang-nail type things, wash your hands in nice warm water, dry them, apply cuticle oil and rub it in really good (greasy=gross), then either wipe your fingers off with a lint free rag or wash them again and immediately take your pictures. This is what I do sometimes when my hands are looking particularly cold and dry in the winter.ย 
  3. Take your pictures outside, or at least in natural light in front of a big window. Indoor pictures never look that great. The only exception to this is if you have a light box, which of course negates the need to go outside. Good lighting also helps your pictures be clear which brings us to our next tip-
  4. Do not post blurry pictures. You probably need to take at LEAST 10 pictures of each nail design to make sure you end up with a nice clear shot. I usually end up taking closer to 20 for a standard mani, and way more for something that has a special effect like flaky glitter, a holographic finish or matte-shiny contrast. Holding your hands in a stable way, preferably with a bottle of nail polish used in the mani will help with clarity.
  5. Hold your hand in a somewhat standard position. If it looks like you’re holding an invisible banana… maybe you wanna try something else? I did that in the beginning and it looks ridiculous. No one really needs to see your thumb, so if that’s what you’re concerned about, don’t worry. If you can hold a polish bottle, that’s even better cuz it provides a good background.
  6. Crop your pictures. We only really need to see your nails. We don’t need to see your messy house (or even your clean house) in the background, we don’t need to see your dog photobombing by taking a big dump in the grass in the background, we just want to see your nails. Although seriously, if you dog photobombs you that bad, you better be tweeting it to me, cuz that’s just hilarious.
  7. For the love of Fish Jesus, please file your nails down into a somewhat uniform shape. Some people out there have these super long, rounded nails on some fingers, shorter squarish nails on others.. holy moly. Please stop the insanity. If your nails are all bent out of shape and look like melted plastic spoons- it’s time for a trim. And by trim I mean lop those suckers off. Short, well-kept nails are always better looking than long, raggedy ones. This is not personal preference, this is a fact. It’s probably in the Bible. (well now we all know where I’m going. Good thing I like the heat.) If your nails are long and lovely, great! But… leggings aren’t meant to be worn as pants, textbooks aren’t meant to be read front to back, I’m not meant to be a supermodel, Nicki Minaj isn’t meant to put together a meaningful sentence on AI… and some people’s nails just aren’t meant to be that long.
  8. Make sure your pictures are large enough to show detail. This circles back to cropping- If you have a picture that you haven’t cropped where your nails are really only like 1/20th of the frame, it’s hard to see what you’ve really done. And since you cleaned up your nicely filed nails properly, took care of your cuticles and are holding your hands all nicely- don’t you want us to get a good look? ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, are my pictures perfect?? NO. FAR FROM IT. This I know. No one that I know is absolutely perfect and we all end up with dry cuticles or a little blemish, or a wonky nail, or what have you at times. And I’m definitely not even in the “no one’s perfect” category cuz my pictures are just suitable at best. It’s ok to not be perfect, but if you want to have a professional-looking nail blog and/or post professional-looking pictures, these are some tips that it would behoove you to at least attempt to follow. Don’t even call me the nail nazi or anything.. if you don’t want to follow these tips, that’s all you. I’m just throwing these out there. I hope they help people who are trying to improve the quality of their photos. ๐Ÿ™‚ As you can tell, I didn’t know these things in the beginning and reading posts like this is what helped me improve to at least the non-barf-worthy level that I am at today.

Current mani- indoor lighting, funky hand pose.

Current mani- indoor lighting, funky hand pose.

Outdoor lighting, standard hand pose. It's nothing special, but see how much better it looks?

Outdoor lighting, standard hand pose. It’s nothing special, but see how much better it looks?

Please chime in with your biggest photo pet peeves (no naming of names, of course) and tips on how to improve pictures, mani quality, etc! Don’t be scared… we all can improve and it’s not rude to offer a little help! As always, thank you all for reading and till next time- Happy Polishing!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

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30 thoughts on “Mani Remix #1- Color Blocked Nails (And How To Take Good Nail Pictures)

  1. Haahahahahahahahahhaha the dog photobombing. Omg I laughed incredibly hard now. NO jokes!

    I do agree. All the things you mentioned is what I’m working on, ESPECIALLY in regards to cropping. I said it on my second last post that I’m trying to get rid of the background noise and just focus on the nails. So cropping is VERY important to me.

    My biggest peeve is sore on your surrounding skin. It is my biggest peeve ON ME as well to be honest.

    And for the record I’ll have you know, my left hand’s middle finger is crooked so it’s hard to file that one to the same shape ok ๐Ÿ˜ฅ hahahahahaha just kidding on the crying face there but my finger is crooked for real.

    LASTLY, I love the nails and I love the colours you chose for it!

    • Thanks!! Why is your middle finger crooked? Did something happen to it? I have a weird line on mine cuz when I was in kindergarten my mom sent me with the sharpest scissors ever and I accidentally stabbed myself. She clearly had more confidence in my motor skills than she should have, haha. Sores around your nails are a pet peeve of mine too. Although- can we really call it a pet peeve?? Who wants to see someone’s bloody flesh in a close up picture?? Not I! That would be an acceptable time to use photoshop or for people like me who don’t know how- guess I’d need to wait on the pics or put a bandaid over it!

  2. I’m sorry, Pregozilla, but you are bullying people who don’t want to clean up their manis or take care of their crusty cuticles. That’s selfish and I am unfollowing your blog. ๐Ÿ˜›

    I was cracking up about the dog photobombing. I also hate seeing a super messy background when people post pictures. I would be so embarrassed if my room or whatever was super messy and I was posting a picture showing all that. That’s just my personal opinion but if other people don’t care and decided to do that, I choose not to look at their pictures and all is well. haha I keep trying to work on improving my pictures and it’s like a neverending quest. I know my pics aren’t horrible but they’re not great either. I really want to bite the bullet and buy a light box. As you know, my ultimate pet peeve is when people overuse and abuse photoshop. I rarely use photoshop but I have seen people completely blur their skin where it looks like plastic and not real anymore. If you’re going to use photoshop, use it lightly and carefully. And anyway, this is just my personal opinion–people can ultimately do whatever they want on their blog and I can do the same by choosing not to look at it if I don’t like it. I don’t agree with people getting nasty by picking on people and being rude for no reason.

    • Hahaha!!! SEE YA!

      Jk!! Come back, come back!! I’ll be nice I promise! (Don’t even say anything.)

      I completely agree w you. I will never be one to confront people about that type of stuff cuz really do I care? No. If they don’t, then I don’t and like you said- those just aren’t blogs I’ll look forward to reading. I am totally against the people who go around talking crap about everyone’s pictures cuz for one- half of the nail people w awful pictures are like 12, and two- there’s just no reason to take time out of your life to be mean. I notice, and I might think, “Ew.” But I’m definitely not gonna say anything. If people want advice, they’ll seek it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I totally forgot about the over photoshopped wax hands!! That’s annoying too! And creepy.

  3. Ready for a novel??…

    A) OMG my mother and father-in-law watch The Bachelor ALL THE TIME! I’ve seen a few episodes and it just seems like a bunch of BS to me. For one, why’d he eliminate the girl who’s brother called him out on it when he visited her hometown? Having a bunch of girls go out of their way for one guy who really isn’t even that gorgeous? If he’s such a great guy, why isn’t he married by now? And what makes him think national t.v. is where he’s going to find his non-materialist, wonderful, not-just-here-to-get-on-television wife through a scripted show? Ugh! It’s just sickening how degrading dating shows are! No offense. I’ll watch an episode every now and again, but all I can do is sit there and criticize it the whole time! Now, I LOVED Rock of Love with Brett Michaels, but that’s just because I’m a huge 80s hair metal junkie! When it comes to reality shows, I’m more of a Face Off kind of person, anyway.

    B) I’m kind of on the fence about redoing old manis. On one hand, all that stuff from a year ago is so horrible and actually pretty embarrassing, so I love the idea of redoing manis, then deleting the old posts. On the other hand, I like to be able to go back to the very beginning and see progression, so Idk… Should that progression be something I keep just for me and make those posts private instead maybe? I do want to start redoing some of my old manis, but I just haven’t completely decided on that whole thing yet.

    C) Cuticles are a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to nail pics. Nobody wants to see polish all over your skin. Clean your shit up. I don’t want to see your bleeding, scabby fingers, either. Moisturize them! Your cuticles will thank you! Also, I don’t need to see 500 pictures of the same manicure from 30 different angles. I get it. Keep it under 6 pictures. Unless it’s a duochrome and you’re trying to show all the different colors at different angles, you REALLY don’t need that many shots of one mani. AND Photoshop! I get that maybe you want to blur away a nasty cut or something, or use it to add your water mark like I do, and that’s fine. But there’s one blogger in particular that I can think of especially who you can tell by looking at her pics that they’re fluffed like crazy! When you have 100% blemish-free mannequin hands, I call bs. You’re not perfect and I’m not stupid. NOBODY has fingers that look that perfect except maybe hand models in magazines, in which the pics have been adjusted in Photoshop….

    D) For pic tips, I’d say don’t shoot in direct sunlight. Natural light is good, yes, but direct sunlight washes everything out pretty bad. Try the shade or sometimes I have a window with a sheer white curtain, and when the sun is hitting that window directly, I’ll just close the curtain and use that lighting… If that makes sense…

    E) Mani tips: if you are making too big of a mess, try putting tape on your finger around your nail. It will eliminate the amount of cleanup you have to do in the end! Also, I can’t say it enough, but PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! It is seriously the only way to go. I frequently get “OMG how’d you do that??” or “I wish I could do that, but I suck!”… There’s no quick-fix or overnight miracle for this one. I was there, too, 2 years ago. You just have to keep working at it and PRACTICING and you will be better before you know it. As you go, you just pick up tips with experience and fall into a groove that’s comfortable for you. Lastly, moisturize! I’m the biggest advocate for moisturizing! Anytime someone asks me how I keep my nails looking so good, the answer is always the same “cuticle oil and/or cuticle cream/balm and/or hand lotion at least once a day! Start using even just a cuticle oil 4 times a day and after a week you’ll start to notice a huge difference in the quality of your nails and cuticles! Before I used cuticle moisturizers, I figured there was no easy way to make them look good, but it works wonders with constant use and upkeep!

    …Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got… for now. =P

    • Whew!! Feel better?? Haha. Thanks for all your input! Your ranting rivals my own, I feel like I should have saved a paragraph for you! ;p Seriously tho I totally agree with you. Especially on the practice thing because it seems like a lot of people don’t have specific questions so I wonder why they’re even asking sometimes and you’re exactly right- how do you get your nails to look good- practice and caring. Use your moisturizer, practice painting your nails, ask questions about specific problems you come across and ta-daaa!! In 6 months you’ll be a pro. ๐Ÿ™‚ And your bachelor rant cracked me up!! Especially when you’re like “oh but I love rock of love!” Haha. I couldn’t watch that show (although I think my husband watched an episode or two) cuz they all just seemed like washed up roadies. Yikes!! But, as you pointed out so well- bachelor is no better!!! Haha. Gotta love trashy, mindless TV. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. I lied. I wasn’t done. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with your statement. Long nails are just not for everyone. I struggle with this one all the time! Once my nails get to a certain length, I look at them and think they are just nasty talons, see pics of short nails and adore how cute they are, so I chop mine off. Then I see mine as nubbins and think they are so short that they’re ugly. I see pics of my nails long and think they were so pretty and want them to grow back! -.- I guess I haven’t found a good middle ground, yet. I like having the length for more room for art, because not all designs look good on shorter nails, but shorter nails don’t seem to break as easy! It’s a dilemma!

    • I feel ya!! I grow mine, then file them down, grow, file, grow, file, etc. There are benefits to both but if I had to choose one length for my nails to be always I would choose shorter rather than longer, but still square. I think short nails just suit me better. The good thing about short nails is that you can do a lot with them and you still don’t look too TOO prissy. ๐Ÿ™‚ At least I tell myself that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Oh yes, try it!! I absolutely hate acetone (how quickly it evaporates, how drying it can be, etc) but I always use it for my cuticles. You’ll be amazed at how it just melts the polish away! Just get a little bottle and give it a try. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did the banana pose, too, for a while. Hey- to each his own. If you ever get “monkey” in charades you’ll be halfway there! ;p

  5. First of all,

    Thanks for the excruciating but appropriately on time post from mani clean-ups, to improving photo quality, and just pure preggo VENTING! But honestly, everything you said hits home and I thank you for the instruction (just like a teacher, damn!). Anyway, too funny “raggedy ones” and “melted plastic spooned” shaped nails. I hope I don’t fit into any of these categories but I do fit into:
    1. Poor clean up
    2. Dry cuticles
    3. Blurry pictures
    4. Photo-bombing pets/poor housekeeping
    And I’m softening my own blow!
    Thanks for the constructive ๐Ÿ˜ก criticism and continue blogging. Love your reads!

    • Haha I wasn’t talking about you at all! Your last mani in particular was LOVELY!!!! And really, if some pics are a little blurry it doesn’t matter that much. It only matters if it matters to you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would rather see some out of focus pics than jaggedy raggedy cuticles and paint all over the place and you are definitely not guilty of that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. What an AWESOME post! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thumbs up!

    Love this mani! Great color combo.

    And yeah… nobody’s perfect. I’ve seen lots of mannequin hands lately. The ones without a single wrinkle, crack or dry skin. Personally, I don’t like that. That is just so NOT natural. I mean, I like to show my followers how a polish or nail art looks in real life, NOT at Madame Tussauds ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, I really hate how sometimes some of my pics show some wrinkles which gives my hands a ‘older’ look while they really are 27 years old. But hey, even when I moisturize my babies as much as I can, the harsh weather from the last months haven’t done it good. And again, that’s something EVERYONE has right?
    And so on… :p

    Anyway… AWESOME post and great tips! Love your pics ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Oh my gosh… Madame Tussaud’s… Haha!! Wish I’d thought of that. You’re totally right tho- hands should look like hands, not like the plastic practice fingers you see at Sally’s. When I first started reading blogs and stuff this one particular blog had SUPER photoshopped hands and I was like wow how does she get her hands to look like that???? And then I was like wait… I think those are wax. And I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at, like it never occurred to me that they were photoshopped into oblivion, and it perplexed me for days. I think I even asked- how do you get your hands to look so smooth and like ethereal?? She never answered tho, probably because she thought I was being a snot, but I wasn’t at the time! Now I would. :p

  7. I don’t watch The Bachelor, but I don’t fault you for it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I used to watch it and The Bachelorette back in the day because my broke bf at the time didn’t have cable and ABC was one of the channels that tuned in (yeah, I know). I have a friend now who watches it and I always say I will because I want to be able to talk to her about it, but I haven’t managed to yet. Nonetheless, I’m a fan of trashy reality tv as much as the next person and I absolutely hate it when my brother criticizes me for watching it, so, carry on! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I will note, however, that you changed your “live Tweeting” status while watching this reunion, so it must have been good! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Invisible banana…hahaha! Melted plastic spoons…hahaha! “leggings arenโ€™t meant to be worn as pants, textbooks arenโ€™t meant to be read front to back, Iโ€™m not meant to be a supermodel, Nicki Minaj isnโ€™t meant to put together a meaningful sentence on AI” <—star of this post! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    When you were talking about dog photobombing (like, literally,) I for some reason I totally pictured Bubba doing this, hahaha. Not intentionally, just…'cause. Minnie would be the one to do it on purpose. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I think the photos you posted that are intentionally bad with a good one right below it speak MAJORLY to what you have listed out. The difference to me is HUGE.
    I personally prefer outdoor lighting to lightboxes, but I'm not a great photographer at all, so, what do I know? Plus, not everyone has that option available to them at all times, either.
    OMG, Nails Like Lace is making me nostalgic for all of the Vh1 "…of Love" genres. You bet your ass I watched every single one until they ended the franchise. If you don't know how or why it ended and/or are interested, let me know and I will enlighten you. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And I also watch Face Off, haha.

    • Yeah I think Minnie would do it to be obnoxious and Bubba would just accidentally. And then he’d be embarrassed. This is TMI but Minnie will do her business like 10 feet in front of you, with her back end facing you, then she cranes her neck around and stares at you as she’s… going. It’s totally sick and like she’s scared you’re gonna run off while she’s using the bathroom. Whatever dogs. Why do I even like them?? Haha. Bubba ran around the house like an electrified hippo the other day and just about knocked me over, and I just swept up like a LeeLoo sized hair ball from the house thanks to Mr. BubbaCharles himself…
      And I’m just kidding of course. I love my dogs. Even when I kinda want to strangle them. Awww… just like Daniel. :p

  8. Hahaha your posts always make me laugh ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve never watched the bachelor.. sounds like a show for me though ๐Ÿ˜› And I sooo agree with you on the seventh point… ‘nails like melted spoons’ really made me lol and it looks so gross bleh…

    • Ew yes that’s the worst!! And it’s so perplexing because how do you think that looks good?? Maybe you don’t notice dry cuticles, maybe you don’t notice messy cuticles but the melted spoon look?? You gotta see that! O.o Whatever. To each their own, right? :p

  9. This post makes me think of that scene in Mean Girls where LiLo says, “I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s lots of things that can be wrong on your body.”

  10. This post cracks me up and describes my feelings exactly! I am tentatively thinking of starting a blog since I’ve been looking at them for two years and I always think, I can do that and why not because I freakin’ love polish! If my perfectionist self may say so, I’ve got the shape/length (which varies but is always uniform), polish technique, and clean-up down. I know I do need to work on my cuticles if I’m gonna do close-ups–I can’t stand crusty cuticles in pictures, barf. I’ve also never really tried to photograph manicures before so that will require a lot of practice and I’ll need to decide on a signature pose that doesn’t look stupid ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Anyway, I think we all know what it takes to have a good picture and make it worthwhile not only for the blogger but the viewer! Keep doing what you’re doing, your blog and photos are great ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Aww thank you so much!! If you do start a blog, shoot me a link on twitter so I can see it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cuticles are one of those things that, idk about you but at least for me, I never really thought much about until I started taking pictures of my nails. Mine weren’t ragged and I always clipped/pushed/etc them but when I started taking pictures I was like dang!!! I need to DO SOMETHING! Haha. And luckily a little oil or balm is all it takes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reading and commenting- good luck w your blog! I totally recommend it!

  11. Those are some funky hand poses lol, my hand hurts sometimes trying to hold certain shaped bottles so I can’t imagine how uncomfortable those banana poses would be. I really appreciate you pointing out all of my flaws in this post btw….j/k I’m guilty of dry cuticle/hangnail sometimes. It’s amazing how my cuticles can look perfectly ok in regular light, and then the second I see the pictures on my computer from the light box it’s like whoa…serious dryness. I’ve always had problems with cuticles since I’ve tortured them from when I was little until just as I started blogging, it’s a daily struggle ๐Ÿ˜› I totally agree on all of your points though since it’s constructive criticism. Oh, and I love this mani as I stated on instagram already ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It’s funny because the people who really take this to heart and go “oh my goodness I do all this sometimes!” are the people who don’t really need reminded because they already look for and know about this stuff. I see some people who seriously like do. not. compute. The pictures are so blurry you can hardly see their nails and the care of their hands is so bad you’d think it was their job to wear test sandpaper gloves!! Your pictures are great. I wish mine were that good. Especially your macro shots. I LOVE those. I want them all framed and hanging on my wall.

  12. Awesome mani, Nicole!! omg I love your nail photo tips! Ugh I have to agree about posting blurry pictures. Just don’t do it, people! lol. That actually goes for any kind of picture…I get annoyed when I see blurry pictures in my instagram feed. Focus! haha. I always like the way your pics look ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks. Yours are, of course, absolutely fantastic so if you think mine are nice enough then that’s awesome for me!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also hate seeing blurry pics in my feed. I just want to SEE what they’re trying to show me, you know? So when I can’t I’m like ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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