Guest Blog: Julie Baxter’s Nail Photo Shoot

Square 4

Nail tech and owner of Edge Hair and Beauty in Stonehaven Julie Baxter has had the opportunity to do many nails, including custom sets for London Fashion Week. Recently, she entered one of her first photo competitions, running with the theme “Classic Nail Cocktail Hour.” She hit that idea on the head! Read along as she shares her thoughts during the experience.

This is my first ever photo competition. I found out about this photographic competition around Mid-February.  At first I found it hard to choose what do with my image. My initial thought of “cocktail” was fruit, so I wanted to go against that idea. I decided I would love to attempt a flaming cocktail instead. I felt this to be more exciting for photography.

I spoke with my friend to build a solid idea for the image. He is a photographer. We decided to do a simple garnish of chili inside the cocktail. Chili has such a vibrant color. This inspired me to do a simple red manicured nail.
I started with the idea of chili vodka. I wanted to mix the hot chili and flames with the chilly ice and water droplets. This needed to be altered as the vodka would not ignite so it we changed the alcohol to Sambuca. Unfortunately it also would not ignite so we had to add some flames artificially. We attempted this many times before eventually opting to Photoshop them in.

My first job was to make sure my nails were perfect. I manicured them then extended them with acrylic powder. Then I used gel polish to add the vibrant red color.
When I arrived at my friend’s house, he had set up some of his photography equipment in his living room.  He set this up in a specific way to capture the image exactly how we had discussed, using numerous flashes, backgrounds and textures. He used a new car mat underneath a sheet of polished glass for the surface to add texture to the picture.
I then cut the chili into a spiral shape and added it to the glass with some ice. We did some test shots to check the lighting and to see how the chili looked in the glass. We added the Sambuca and started to light it. This proved impossible.  It just would not catch fire. We tried it in a smaller glass because we wondered if it was because of the large surface or whether it could have been because of the ice/chili. We still had no luck so had to accept defeat on this element.                   

We did several shots with my hands in different positions and decided which positioning looked the most natural. We tried images with and without the shaker and also added the bottle of alcohol in some images.

I really wanted to create a classy image with nice texture so we used a spray bottle to add water droplets to the air and to the cocktail shaker. I feel this tied the while picture together nicely.
The image below (left) was the original image before we added the flame and cleaned it up. And next to it the final image (right). Success! –Julie Baxter

[Nails: Julie Baxter, Photography: Murray Aitken]

More in Technique