How to Take GREAT Photos of Your Nails

Hi, Polished People! Happy April! I hope you’re doing well. I get a lot of questions on how to take photos of manicures and nail art, so I figured I’d share a few of my tips today. A great photo can only make your beautiful nail art better, so let’s make sure everyone can see your awesome mani!

1. Use what you have

While it’s great if you have a real/professional camera you want to use, it’s not necessary to take amazing nail pics, so you don’t have to buy all new equipment. I’ve been using my phone to take nail photos ever since I started doing nail art. I have to say, my photography skills have improved a ton over the years and it’s fun to look back at the kind of photos I took just a few years ago. As long as you have a phone, you’re good.

2. Good lighting

Having quality lighting is very important to taking a good photo, nails or otherwise. There are lots of options for this. If you have a bright overhead light in your house, a lamp, a ring light, or a sunny window, you should be able to light your photo very well. I used to take nail pictures in my living room, but nowadays, I usually take them with my ring light + overhead light and/or by a bright window. If your lighting isn’t perfect or your photo comes out to dark, the next tip can help with that.

3. Snapseed and Phonto

These are two apps that I think are essential for any type of photography. Snapseed is a photo editing app and it’s my favorite one out there. I’ve tried others, but I always come back to this one. It’s very easy to use, it works really well, and there are tons of options for lighting, saturation, healing, and other tools you’ll need to enhance your photos. Like I mentioned in the last tip, if your lighting didn’t turn out great, you can fix that and brighten the photo with this app. Phonto is my favorite way to watermark my photos because you can choose a unique font and curve your watermark to fit right around your nails. These two apps are completely free and I highly recommend them.

4. Choosing a background

There are so many choices for nail art photo backgrounds. Usually, it’s nice to have a clean background so the focus is on your nail art. But, if you want to take more artsy pics, you can be really creative. I love taking pictures of my nails outside with flowers, a bush, the grass, etc. I also like finding interesting background and textures around my house, you’d be surprised how many you can find. Just make sure the background doesn’t detract from your nails!

5. Watermarking

I know I briefly mentioned this in a previous tip, but it’s the final thing I want to talk about. Watermarking your nail art is very important. All artists deserve credit for their work and while it doesn’t guarantee complete safety of your work, it does increase the chances of keeping your photos protected. Don’t over-saturate your photo with watermarks, but make sure you add one or two in a subtle and quiet way. For example, don’t splash your watermark over the whole photo; just use Phonto to curve it around one or two nails. This in turn makes your photos look more professional and is a great help to keeping your nail art a little safer.

I hope you found these tips helpful! It does take lots of practice and experimenting with different techniques, but if you take nail photos frequently and just be creative with it, you’ll have pro pics in no time. Have any other tips? Share in the comments and let me know if you have any more questions!

I hope wherever you are, you’re safe, healthy, happy, and finding time to relax. Be well!

Have a polished rest of your day,

Cali G.

I'm a nail artist, positivity/wellness enthusiast, and perpetual creative. I've been sharing nails and good vibes here in my corner of the Internet since 2017. Follow me @threesixtynails on social and check the Contact page if you want to get in touch. Have a polished rest of your day! ✨


  1. Very nice article. I absolutely love this website. Keep writing!

  2. Good tips for sure! Years later, I am still learning!

    1. Cali, host of threesixtynails

      I’m glad you found them helpful, Ananka! That’s great, I’m always learning more, too! 🙂

  3. Great tips!!! Thank you!!!

    1. Cali, host of threesixtynails

      I’m glad you found them helpful, Joe! You’re welcome! 🙂

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