Melea Nelson Pictures


Three Easy Manicure Steps

I was recently looking for a hand model for a photoshoot when a model contacted me to tell me she would love to, but couldn't because she bites her cuticles. Therefore her hands don't look very good close up. I don't know why she went out of her way to tell me she would not be the model for the job but it got me thinking. If you are a newer model who cannot afford a manicure before every photoshoot, and a manicurist is not provided, you have to know how to keep your nails photo-worthy. Even if you are a model who is working paid shoots where a manicurist is hired, you still need to keep those nails in tip top shape. No artist likes working with a dirty canvas.

Here are three basic steps for nail care and the tools you will need. Many tools can be found in a basic manicure kit at your local grocery/drug store.

Step #1 Cuticle Care

Most people file and paint their nails, but not everyone takes the time to clip their cuticles. To trim your cuticles they first need to be soft. You can soak your hand in a bowl of warm water, or plan to clip them right after showering, they should be plenty soft. Then, using a wooden or plastic cuticle pusher, push back the cuticle. This also lifts the cuticle. Finally use cuticle clippers to get rid of the excess cuticle. DO NOT use fingernail clippers.

  Plastic Cuticle Pusher          Wood Cuticle pusher          Cuticle Clippers (very sharp)

  Plastic Cuticle Pusher          Wood Cuticle pusher          Cuticle Clippers (very sharp)

Step #2 Nail Filing

DO NOT BITE YOUR NAILS! You don't always know how much or how closely your nails will be shown before a photoshoot, so keep them at a clean medium length. Use a nail file weekly or bi-weekly to even them out. Start gently with the rougher side of the nail file, then finish with the refined side. Don't forget to file underneath to help smooth the corners.

*If you have a nail biting habit try putting on a clear coat of polish, then dip your nail in salt while the polish is wet. Add a top coat to keep the salt on. It may look weird but it tastes disgusting* 

Nails 2.jpg

Step #3 Buffing

Buffing goes a long way, especially if a photographer asks you to not paint your nails and to keep them natural. Invest in a buffing cube. The sides will be numbered so you can easily use them in order. The first side smooths your nail getting rid of any ridges. The other three sides work to refine and shine your nail.


Tip: Practice Makes Perfect

Not everyone has the talent to paint their nails with ease on both hands and one hand almost always looks better than the other. A photographer might not always ask you to come with your nails painted, but sometimes they do. Practice painting your nails every week to work on painting with your non-dominant hand. Pick a day of the week to paint your nails and force yourself into the habit. Even if your nail polish hasn't chipped in a week, take the polish off and repaint. Soon you will paint with both hands equally.


Random Fact: Shredded cheese freezes and thaws really well, but a block of cheese will crumble after being frozen. CRAZY!!!