As those who follow me on Instagram will know, my boyfriend is my long-suffering outfit photographer/general Instagram husband who is not exactly familiar with the world of picture-taking (he only picked up a proper camera a few weeks ago, thinks 'exposure' refers to how much clothing I'm wearing and refuses to take more than two pictures per look - 'it's just so borrrrinngggg Alex').
So you can imagine my delight when I found out I was going to be photographed by Rankin, legendary fashion photographer extraordinaire who has snapped some of the most famous people in the world.
To give you a bit of background, Rankin has teamed up with nail salon expert essie to celebrate beautifully painted nails and the brand's extensive polish collection with their 'Colour Portrait Studio', which will open for one day on Tuesday 17 May at a secret London location. Women from all over the country will experience their very own slice of stardom, with the chance to be photographed by Rankin after getting their hair, nails and make-up done.
I was charged with previewing the whole experience (it's a tough life, I know), so I arrived at the studio and was whisked straight into hair and make-up.
After my pampering sesh, I got to choose my nail colour with the lovely essie team. I chose 'A-list', a beautiful, deep red. essie have an amazing spring collection but I prefer a darker nail colour on me (I think deep, deep down, I'm part-Goth).
Before Rankin came down to shoot me (another term my boyfriend hasn't quite got his head around. 'Shoot you? What?'), I had test shots done with his team. This felt like a photoshoot in itself – they were so precise, everything was analysed and it took about fifteen minutes. I was, however, very grateful for the test shoots – it meant I could loosen up in front of the camera before it was Rankin behind it.
I was totally tongue-tied when he arrived. Which was quite bizarre – I interview lots of celebrities and never get nervous or star-struck but for some reason this felt like a bigger deal... Probably because he was actually going to take my picture!
I calmed down pretty quickly and five minutes in, I was posing like a pro. He knows exactly what he wants, exactly what looks good on camera and makes you feel pretty special while you're in front of his camera – he told me I took a good photo and made my day/year/life if I'm being totally honest.
So these are the results! To say I'm pleased with them is an understatement – I've sent them to my whole extended family, changed every single one of my profile pictures on all social media channels, framed one for my mum and am currently considering getting them made into wallpaper. Just kidding. Or am I? I don't know.
So – you guys have a chance to experience this too! To enter the competition and be in with a chance, follow essie on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and upload your best nail selfie using #essiexrankin and @essieuk.
And if painting your nails isn't your strong suit (I feel your pain), the brand have given some top tips from lead manicurist Rita Remark to guarantee your nail selfie is fabulous:
• Before painting your nails, clean thoroughly with soap and water to remove all dirt and residue from your nails…it also doesn’t hurt to use a bit of hand sanitizer too
• Always use a base coat – not only does it anchor your polish, but it also protects your nails like a shield. This is an essential step for the perfect mani!
• Remember nobody’s perfect! If you colour outside of the lines, just take a make-up brush dipped in a little bit of nail polish remover, and it wipes away like it never happened. Just make sure you remember to wash it thoroughly before using it again!
Follow Alex on Instagram.