Fab Fatale


Ohhh The Controversy

on September 6 | in Manicures | by | with 30 Comments

Butter London Slapper

Who knew nail polish could be so controversial??? It just so happens that my most popular mani (viral, stolen, shows up on Facebook ads, etc), my Butter London Slapper swatch, also happens to be the only nail polish that I have ever had trouble photographing. I LOVE to take all of my nail polish swatch pics outside. I think direct sunlight shows colors and shimmers that you just don’t see in a light box or indoors.

One reader commented that I was misleading my readers – ok, I could see her point if A. I didn’t disclose that it was taken in direct sunlight (this is “true to color” in direct sunlight) or B. I had altered the color in Photoshop, but why would I do that? Because I think bright blue is going to sell better than a teal green? or C. I hadn’t explicitly said, “this polish looks bright blue outdoors, and more green teal indoors”. In fact, if you read the review of the collection, it wasn’t very positive because I prefer to disclose rather than “mislead”.

If this is the only swatch that has stirred up this kind of controversy, and all my pics are taken in direct sunlight, then maybe this is just one of those colors that’s difficult to photograph, as mentioned by other bloggers here, here, and here. I didn’t go looking for bloggers that declared this color was difficult to photograph, these happen to be the first 3 results that show up in a Google image search, 100% of my small sampling agree that it’s difficult to capture this color on camera lol.

Another commenter told me I need get a better camera and learn my settings. Well, I use a Canon Rebel T1i DSLR and use manual only settings. Even if I don’t alter my settings, I can turn my hand one way and a polish will look totally different than if I turn my hand more towards or away from the sun. If I shoot in a light box, I can change my aperture or shutter speed slightly, and again the same polish can look so different. So if I’m trying to match the pic to the polish’s “true color”, would that be in indoor lighting, outdoor lighting, the lighting in my dining room, the lighting in my bedroom? Truth is, polish looks different in all light, so all I can do is disclose that I take pics in direct sunlight, and in this instance, I also described that it looks greenish indoors.

The latest, a commenter said that I owe her $14 bucks! My advice to anyone that was misled by this one pic that happens to be difficult to photograph is to never spend $14 on a nail polish unless you’ve done a Google image search to see what the polish looks like in different lighting. As you can see in this Butter London Slapper image search, several results look like mine! If I see a swatch I like at a blog, I never purchase until I do a little research first, no matter how expensive or inexpensive it may be.

I wish I had the time to photograph every color in different lighting, but I just don’t. Collections of 12 polishes often take an entire Sunday (paint, photograph, remove, repeat, crop, upload, and post), so if I’m not going to show a variety for those collections, then I’m not going to show a variety for other smaller collections, just to keep consistent.

So what are your thoughts on all this debate and/or on my swatches?

30 Responses

  1. Melanie says:

    Your swatches are AWESOME! Like you said, its not your fault they didn’t do more research. Don’t let the b-words get you down! ;)

  2. Stacy K. says:

    I think you do an awesome job showcasing your different mani colors. Honestly, we all know colors can photograph differently. Who wouldn’t know that? Try taking a pic yourself in all the different lighting if you don’t. Not only that, you aren’t telling anyone to run out and buy any specific color, it is your opinion which you are entitled to. I enjoy seeing the different brands and colors. I love how everyone has their own little soapbox they preach from via internet. I wonder how many of these complainers would actually complain to someone directly in real life.

  3. Lori says:

    Sounds like people need to chill out. You’re helping us out by showing us what the polish looks like in one setting/light environment, and people need to realize that of course you can’t photograph polish in every setting/lighting environment.

    Also, a decision to buy a polish is solely the responsibility of the person who decides to buy it. If you’re going to buy an expensive polish based off of one blog’s picture of it, then you have to live with the consequences. You’re not entitled to a refund just because it doesn’t look identical to a picture taken by someone you don’t know who even had the decency to disclose that the color was difficult to photograph and might look different. No one forced anyone to buy anything.

    People are crazy. Don’t let them get you down–your blog is great!

  4. trina says:

    I think you’ve done a great job with your polish posts to date. There are bratty girls who will complain about anything they can. Ignore them! :)

  5. Zann Loo says:

    Firstly, I must say that your swatches are beautiful and it thanks to blogger like you that we are able to see how a polish look like once its painted on a nail.

    In case like this I really think its a “buyer beware” kind of situation. The onus is on the viewer to check out as many pictures as possible before deciding whether to buy a polish or not. Even if it looks gorgeous everywhere, its still possible to look bad on you just cos your skin tone do not match the colour (I’ve have my fair share of polishes that looks meh on myself).

    I’ll say keep up the good work and sweep the unreasonable comments under the rug. =)

  6. I’m not sure I understand what everyone’s problem is. Looking at your pictures, I can tell you use direct sunlight as your ‘lighting source.’ Photographing things like nail polish is extremely difficult…no matter what camera you use or what setting you’re photographing them in.

    The fact that you put up great pictures is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back to your sites.

    People getting mad over this is really ridiculous. You did not mislead them. You are not the manufacturer who misrepresented their product and is making money off of the sale of this product. You are not the business misleading their customers.

    Every time I’ve purchased nail polish (especially these Tiffany turquoise blues you’ve done over the years), it looks exactly like your pictures when I receive it. But I have noticed that the color will change. That is no fault to you…it’s the fault of the manufacturer.

    I don’t complain that it didn’t look like YOUR picture. I blame the manufacturer for not making it look on my nails the same way it does when I look at the bottle.

    Jen, sorry to see people are being stupid to you. Don’t let them get to you. Their complaints are a little on the looney side. I just don’t understand how people are complaining to you (as if you were a fraud) that their nails didn’t look exactly like YOUR picture. It doesn’t make sense to me at all what their issue is.

  7. Hahahahahaanna!!! Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Someone actually said you owe them $14?!!? People are freaking crazy. (I usually give the disclaimer that I work in Human Resources so I’m allowed to say that! )

    How you chose to describe, photograph, and display your photos is your thing. People just need to shut up and get over themselves.

    Sorry- still reeling over the $14!

  8. Jess says:

    While bloggers like you are here to showcase polishes and swatches from a ‘real-person’ standpoint, people need to remember to take everything they find on the internet with a grain of salt! You wouldn’t buy anything (like an appliance) based on one person’s review (however reliable they may be, like you are!). So spending $14 on a polish based on one person’s photo and review and having the nerve to be upset about it is ridiculous. Don’t let these people frustrate you too much!

  9. Lindsey says:

    I feel like when you finally go to buy a polish that you’ve looked at online, you should use your own eyeballs to make a final judgement and decision to purchase. That method seems to work fine for me.

    Your swatches are lovely; taking an online color as gospel truth is like writing a term paper based solely on wikipedia articles.

  10. Mariana says:

    I definitely agree with you on looking up swatches on google images before going out to buy a certain polish. That’s what I do! Honestly I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t. If you love a polish so much wouldn’t you want to see how it looks on other people, different lighting, and see if people have had problems with the formula?

    Maybe it’s just because I follow a lot of nail polish blogs and and because I’ve struggled trying to get the true color of a nail polish to photograph, but I understand that sometimes you have to use photoshop. Not sure why anyone would be bothered by it unless you used it to turn a polish a drastically different color!

  11. NeedleNerd says:

    Say what? That’s taking entitlement to a whole new level.

  12. ManhattanRed says:

    …This is nail polish we’re talking about. Not cars, or houses, or consumer electronics, or appliances that should be purchased after thorough research and price-comparison. Nail. Polish. I have plenty of cosmetics that I buy at all sorts of price points, inevitably hate or love, use up or never use, whatever. Not to mention, nail polish is one of those things that, you know, comes in glass bottles so you can usually tell within reason what it’s going to look like on your fingers. I think you have some bored people who troll to find meaning in their lives. Your photography is stellar for what you’re shooting and I think you give a great representation of color and style. Don’t let haters get to you.

  13. Miss J says:

    You would think that taking the time to actually provide beautifully photographed swatches would be enough. To hear that people are making this a “controversial” topic and even going as far as to demanding the $14 just boggles my mind. Do you force anyone to purchase particular nail polishes? NO.

    With that said, your blog is one of my favorites (and daily visited) for its gorgeous photos, insightful reviews, and such. Thank you for taking the time to do so.

  14. Sachiko says:

    O___o people need to calm down! Your blog is so lovely, it really stands out to me among the many many nail blogs out there. SO many things can change how a color looks! (lighting, skintone, stained nails, base coat, top coat etc.) I say keep doing what you are doing, you are doing a great job. You have beautiful nails and a great blog, those who cannot appreciate that, or do research on a higher price point polish only have themselves to blame.

  15. Robin says:

    You should start watermarking your pictures so that when people steal them they still have your website info on them.

  16. Kelly says:

    I think you’re the bomb dot com. All I have to say is, “haters gonna hate”

    <3

  17. You probably could have saved yourself a lot of effort by just telling those three ninnies where to go, but maybe that’s just me. The rest of us understand.

    It’s pretty ridiculous for anyone to get that upset. Even if your photos are dead-on true-to-life, they’re going to look different on my computer than they do on yours. That’s just the way it is.

  18. Bicky says:

    That’s just silly, you’re not responsible for them not researching properly. Like when I look at lip swatches I have to factor in that my lips are more pigmented then say Temptalias. Nail polish isn’t going to look the same in every light.

  19. Cynthia says:

    I love your manicure posts! I didn’t realize how controversial these photo swatches were. I laughed at how one person said you needed to learn your camera settings. Um really?! Have they tried photographing nail polish swatches? If so, I’d like to see their work. And then I laughed harder when someone said you owed them money. Hahahahaha!!! That is hilarious! So do readers expect you to put disclaimers about the lighting and how you are not responsible for any decision they make if they decide to actually purchase something you’ve written about?! I think that’s just outrageous! Just keep doing what you’re doing. I look forward to them.

  20. Natalie says:

    Oh dear. I love nail varnish, but some people need to get a life :P Surely the colour of a nail varnish doesn’t alter SO drastically?! And you’re right, if you can’t even be bothered to do your own research or even go to the shops and test the nail varnish yourself, when you’re going to be set back by FOURTEEN DOLLARS, then you’re an idiot! I even find that some nail colours look a bit different on me simply because of my skin colour, so I’d never rush out and buy a nail varnish just because it looked good on someone else. For heaven’s sake!

  21. Casey says:

    I’m shocked that people take your one picture of polish so seriously! If you see a color online, in a blog, etc. go to whatever store it’s available at and swipe some on your nail yourself to see what it looks like! It’s truly not that hard.
    I’m sorry people give you so much crap. Some people need to get a life.
    I enjoy your mani Mondays so please don’t ever stop posting pictures and putting your 2 cents in on your experience with the polish.

  22. Ale says:

    So what you are trying to say is that some random person went to buy a nail polish without even considering first if she liked the color or looked good on her?? Second, man, how many more disclaimers are you gonna have to add for people to finally get that this is about your opinion and point of view of some products. You are a customer just as many of us who read your blog. You give pointers and feedback which are very much appreciated by people like me. Finally, blogs are about having fun and sharing things you like and/or dislike. I don’t see why there’s any reason for controversy.

    If you wanna complain, people, companies have claim and customer service departments. So direct your concerns and comments elsewhere where they can actually do something about it. Or get a hobby… All in all, thanks Jen for your fun ManiMondays…XOXO

  23. Julie says:

    I think you do a great job, and I wish people would be a little more realistic with their expectations! Your reviews are very thorough, and I’m sure they give the readers more info than before reading your post. I for one have bought/not bought polishes based on how you have described them. The readers should be thankful that you take the time to do what you do!

  24. Mob Mistress says:

    I’ve brought polishes strictly based off your blogs. I don’t research. I also don’t come whining to you if I don’t like one of my polishes or it’s seems different than what your pictures portrayed. It’s nail polish for heaven’s sake. I have been introduced to Julep & Zoya thanks to you. I like Julep. However, I really love Zoya nail lacquers & their lip balms. Thank you!

  25. Just stopping by to check in on you and WHAT? This is just absurd! As much as I google products before purchasing and read blogs, I realize not every item or product is going to look the same in real life or on me. I’ve especially learned that of nail polish, but never have I thought to place blame on the blogger! You obviously had no intentions of misleading people – nor have you ever. I wouldn’t even worry about Jen.

    That being said, your fab nail pics always make me want to run out and buy any color you’re reviewing that I don’t own. I just have to pause and realize my nails don’t look as fabulous as yours! ;) Love you, keep up the good work!

    • jennifer says:

      hey girl, how have you been. i miss you and your blog so much! i hope all is well with you and you’re just taking a little break :) thanks so much for the comment and it was great to hear from you, as always!

  26. Sonia says:

    I am sorry this happened! I personally love your swatches. I always take a few different things into account, specifically, my my nails and my skin tone are different from yours. I cannot expect every color you test to look the same on me. I hope this does not discourage you in any way. I love your honesty and how you always offer your disclosures.

    Again, sharing this information is proof of how honest you are with your readers. Thanks for that! And thanks for all your manicure posts!

  27. [...] swatches were taken in direct sunlight. Please read my disclaimer/rant before you [...]

  28. Carmen says:

    Oh the controversy, indeed! I can’t believe you’ve encountered such rudeness! I think your swatches are simply gorgeous!
    While we’re stating the obvious, let’s point out that no polish will ever be 100% accurate when purchasing based on online images as every monitor has a different screen resolution. I buy all my polish on line, after extensive google image searches, as products like Butter and O.P.I are nearly impossible to get in Australia. Every single polish I’ve purchased online has been completely different up close and in different lighting, it’s just something you have to take into account when you purchase this way.
    I was going to bypass Slapper, as I thought I had plenty that looked just like it, but your pic (taken in direct sunlight) has made me want it all the more!
    Thanks for sharing and please keep the beautiful manis coming! =D

  29. Anne says:

    When I purchasing a polish online and I haven’t seen it in person (as I often do, since I can find better prices online and no stores near me carry anything above drug store) I GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH “Name of color” the “brand name” and “swatch”. Whenever you do that it’s clear to see that under different lighting colors can look SO different! A good . example is if you google search “MERMAID TEARS OPI SWATCH”. Most swatches look brighter than the polish looks in person. I bought it anyway knowing I didn’t know exactly how it would look. But I love it! I would NEVER blame someone’s swatch! I appreciate all the hard work you go through to produce this blog! It’s got to be very time consuming and expensive to do all these nail swatches. I just found your page today and I love it! I think your photos are great quality. And when I compare the polishes I already own to the swatches you have I have to say they are dead on or VERY CLOSE. Keep it up!!!!

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