Jennifer Lopez Manicure - Lead
Credit: enamelle/Instagram

So, after watching our videos for weeks on end (or so we like to think), you're at the top of your #ManiMonday game. Now, all that's left to do is share your handiwork with the world.

That's where things can get tricky: Without the proper pose and lighting, hands can appear claw-like, and even the most perfect paint job can look suddenly sloppy.

That's why we tapped Elle Gerstein—manicurist to celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, and Kendall Jenner—to spill her top tips (get it?) for taking a flattering nail selfie.

1. Prep Like a Pro

According to Gerstein, in this instance, cuticle oil can be both your best friend and mortal enemy. The key is using the teensiest amount possible—a pin-head size drop per nail should do it—and rubbing it in thoroughly so that it fully absorbs. Give it a minute to dry if need be—otherwise, you'll be left with a greasy film. "When applied properly, cuticle oil instantly plumps the area around your nails, which makes your hands look healthier," says Gerstein.

2. Play Stylist

To hear Gerstein tell it, the best selfie snappers are always armed with two items: a backdrop ("Colorful paper or wrapping is always fun," says Gerstein) and a prop. The former is self-explanatory, but there's room for experimentation with the latter. The object should be palm-sized, easy to grip, and color-coordinate with your polish. "Having something to hold in your hand avoids that dreaded claw look," says Gerstein. If you're stumped, you can always pose with the polish bottle you just used.

3. Find Your Light

Whether you use a DSLR or an iPhone 5, good lighting can make or break you. In the case of nail selfies, Gerstein says the most professional-looking shots are a result of light coming from behind. "That way, the natural highlight will be vertical, following the grain of the nail," says Gerstein.

Now, get snapping!