Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get started on your Contessa entry! In light of the rules changes to the Contessa Canadian Nail Artist category (formerly known as Nail Enhancement Artist), Robyn Schwartz of Polished + Pampered Hair and Esthetics in Grand Forks, BC, the Contessa 24 winner in this category, shares her secrets for putting together a nail collection that will wow the judges.
Salon Magazine: What are some important factors when selecting a photographer?
Robyn Schwartz: The first thing I look at is their portfolio—can they capture the style and type of photo you’re looking for? For me, I want a look that is a more professional, editorial photo. Also, check out the cost, shoot location and accessibility—are they willing to come to you? For a Contessa collection, it’s pretty hard to get all the photos done in one day, so keep in mind that they will need to be available for two or three sessions.
SM: Can you share some tips on finding a hand model?
RS: Finding a hand model is not the easiest thing. I look for the perfect hand: a longer nail bed that’s not too skinny or too large, slender fingers and young hands. I do stay away from short, stubby or damaged nails rough skin and cuticles, short fingers and hands that are too boney. And, models need to be flexible because from start to finish—most shoots take an entire day.
SM: Since any artistic or enhancement technique is acceptable, can you suggest ways to create a strong theme in a nail collection?
RS: Theme is a major part of your collection. I make sure that each photo, from the actual nail to the props and the finished look of the photo works with one another. Colour, texture, style and even hand placement all play into your overall look.
SM: Fashion appeal is one of the components the judges will assess. How can nail technicians translate what’s on the runway to an outstanding nail design?
RS: This is a hard question to answer—what one person considers fashionable may not be the same to to someone else, which makes it hard to base an entry on fashion alone. I base my entries on what I know I would like to see and do with the nails. I do like to stay modern with the styles and colours, but I don’t necessarily base them on current fashion.
Putting together a collection is something I love to do. We get to showcase nails that we don’t normally get to do on a daily basis, ones that truly showcase our artistic ability. It’s also a great way to allow my clients to get to see the competition nails. That way, when they see the designs, they can pull elements they like into their everyday nails without being impractical.
Nails: Robyn Schwartz, Photo: Laura Wilby