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Biz Talk Photoshopped Nails: Good or Bad?

What’s the deal with Photoshopped nails? Is it ok? Is it not ok? Or do you just go hardcore raw and flawed? This is a topic that gets a lot of requests for us to address. When to use Photoshop (or other similar photo editing tools) depends on what you want to convey and how you want to communicate to your audience. For our purposes, Young Nails likes to promote truth and honesty in nails. The images we share align with this mission. Our goal is to share nail shots that at their core are inherently real. We want to highlight images of beautifully done nails that can actually be achieved in salon by a professional. It’s been documented that social media has the power to be influential in both positive and negative ways (especially in terms of its portrayal of doctored beauty and reality). The goal of this discussion is to keep it all very grounded and very real. This is the environment where all our best work can be done.

In our previous Biz Talk segment, we discussed the pursuit of Nail Perfection and exposed it for the enemy it really is. Photoshopped nails or rather hyper-Photoshopped nails also have the potential of being detrimental in the same way. Don’t get us wrong, we are not against over the top, super-inspiring, aspirational nail art. But if the photo you post is a set that takes four hours to do and another two hours to photoshop before you post, you are doing yourself and your business a serious disservice. To evade this conundrum, we always return to our YNI mantra: “You have to accept the perfectly imperfect”.

Now the time has come for us to come out and openly say that we actually use Photoshop on our images. Trust us, a little goes a long way. Does it sound like we’re contradicting ourselves? Let us clarify. We are fans of a minimalist approach to Photoshopped nail shots. If you look at our social media feeds; you’ll understand that we use Photoshop sparingly as a tool. Camera lenses, on our phones or especially HD equipment, have a tendency to pick up everything: every little piece of dry skin, speck of dust, runaway piece of glitter, or stray brush stroke that you wouldn’t normally perceive on your own. Our photo editing literally takes a couple minutes. The intention is to showcase the nail as it is. We edit our photos to capture what we see in real life with our naked eye in natural lighting. We try to avoid any filters or editing tools that distract from your talent and your work. It’s got to be real.

We want the focus to be on the beauty of the nail. For instance, if the photo came out dark and color rendition is a little lost; we’ll play with the saturation to lighten it up. If there is a cut or blemish on the client, that as nail techs we didn’t cause; we’ll use the healing filter smooth out the skin. Again, our goal is nice life-like nails and that’s what you’ll see us post. No fake plastic glitter-laser shooting mannequin hands here.

The purpose of your nail shots is to present and promote your best work. They are an advertisement for what you have to offer your client. Don’t spend hours on perfecting your nails in Photoshop. Spend that time actually working on your craft instead; so you become a real deal. You have to realize that your customers are coming to you for what you post on social media. Don’t set yourself/your clientele up for disappointment with a look that you cannot deliver in real life. We see it all the time, nail industry people Photoshopping the hell out of their posts when in reality it would be 100% impossible to accomplish in real life by a pro nail tech. It can be misleading and it’s important to know that this sort of thing is going on out there. There is always a time and place for highly edited nail shots but it’s really a question of how much is too much? And is your feed where this should be happening? In the end, you decide.

Habib Salo, CEO
Young Nails Inc.