Lauren Conrad - engagement ring - Instagram
Credit: Instagram/laurenconrad

After a fresh manicure or a big engagement (congrats!), your hands deserve some time in the spotlight. But if you’re self-conscious about the way your hands look in photos (hey, we can’t all be the world’s greatest hand model), a little bit of planning can go a long way.

If you’re snapping a ring selfie (like Lauren Conrad beautifully displays in her engagement announcement photo above), well-manicured nails are crucial. If you prefer to DIY, you’ll want to start by choosing a flattering nail shape that elongates your fingers. If you have trouble deciding, nail expert Deborah Lippmann recommends mirroring your cuticles to find your best shape. Speaking of cuticles, unless you want them to appear red and inflamed, avoid cutting them before the photo session begins.

If your manicure is the main attraction, though, you’ll instead want to focus on hydrating and softening the skin. Hands that are especially dry and flaky can benefit from an overnight treatment. “Use a greasy moisturizer or oil (even olive oil) the night before and consider wearing cotton gloves for extra absorption. This will be like giving your hands a deep moisturizing treatment,” says dermatologist and nail specialist Dr. Dana Stern. Right before taking the photo, however, opt for a lightweight moisturizer, which Stern says will help even things out and minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

As for unsightly veins, the pro has an easy trick for that also. “Hold your arms straight up so that the hands are above your heart so that all the blood drains from your hands and fingers,” she suggests. “It will make veins much less noticeable.”