I am a nail girl. My nails are paper thin, have ridges, and chip very easily. I have psoriasis as well which makes them dented and sometimes discolored. You will almost never see me with out my nails done.
In my style of portrait photography I use hands to show expression and femininity. The thing is, not everyone is great with relaxed gentle ballet hands. I can certainly minimize any tension in the hands with coaching and direction; however, I have found over the years that if clients have any color, gel, acrylic, or polish on their nails at all, the hands end up looking blocky, tense, and uncomfortable.
While this may seem absolutely insane, the truth is that any kind of polish on the finger tips leads the eye straight to the fingers and more often than not, the hands look larger, shorter, and less elegant.
In photography, we paint with light. What is lighter appears larger and what is darker appears smaller. If we consider these rules in all forms of painting and art, the lighter tones of polish (nudes, clear, pink etc) will make the hands appear bigger and draw the eye right to those finger tips. Dark polishes make the nail beds appear smaller thus making the TIPS of the fingers appear smaller while the rest of the hand appears bigger.
Not only does the color/polish affect the perception of hands in your portraits but length can also be a distraction. An example would be face shots where the hands touch the face where the nails would dominate the frame.
for demonstration purposes, client's nails were natural for her session.
"But I bite my nails Melody, they look awful if I don't put something on them!"
Here's the deal....it is much easier for me to fix a natural nail bed and make it look completely legit than to attempt to color tone polish, photoshop out highlights, or reshape a hand entirely for balance.
What about my toes?
It's best to avoid any and all polish on the feet as well, again, it will draw the eyes to these areas.
Look, I know it's scary! I beg you to please trust the process and allow me to create beautiful relaxed portraits focusing on YOU.
Skin prep is VITAL to your session with me. Although not required, nothing beats regular facials with a licensed esthetician; however, it is essential to follow some important steps to prepare your skin for the day of your session.
First and most important is the night before your session. Spend a few minutes extra on your skin care routine this night. Remove any and all eye make up and other cosmetics and exfoliate with either your favorite product or this sugar scrub recipe here. (This sugar scrub is completely gentle and dissolves quickly on the skin. For those concerned with redness, this typically does not cause the skin to react). Before bed, you can apply any topicals you use (medicines, eye creams, etc). In the morning wash as normal but do not apply any moisturizer to your face as I will fully prep your skin prior to any make up application. This is to keep consistency with our product lines and ensures that that moisture barrier doesn't conflict with our products.
Please feel free to apply lotion to all other parts of your body!
It's best to schedule a wax/threading for any facial hair you want removed about 4 days before your session. This way your skin is healed from any pressure or heat treatments prior to your session.
Of utmost importance is staying out of the sun and avoiding spray tans and artificial tanners. The interesting thing is that your skin emits a light temperature and is reflected in our cameras. For example, if you have been in the sun the few days before your session, your skin will appear RED vs tan because the skin is reflecting a higher temperature of light from the absorbtion of UVA/B. Not only that but we want to avoid all tan lines. Tan lines are extremely hard to retouch convincingly with out losing texture therefore we do have a retouch fee of $85 per image if we need to edit tan lines.
Spray tans are never a good idea in photography. They tend to photograph very orange, reflect in lighter colored hair lines very easily, and always show blotches and missed patches/runs. If you have gotten a spray tan, we will ask you to reschedule.