As the saying goes, you need to see it to believe it. When it comes to medspas and wellness centers, customers need to see some evidence of results before they are likely to commit to a treatment or procedure. Taking medical photos is an absolute necessity if you want to persuade potential patients.
Nevertheless, it’s not enough to just pull out your phone and snap a picture of your client. Taking poor quality photos is possibly worse than taking none at all. If your before and after pictures aren’t done properly, you may end up turning away more clients than you lure in. So, how can you take the best quality before and after photos and utilize them to your advantage? Crystal Clear Digital Marketing’s complete guide to taking medical photos is here to help.
The Complete Guide to Taking Medical Photos That Will Impress
Let’s start with the equipment you’ll need. You should not need to invest a significant amount of money to produce high-quality photos. With less than $1,000, you can easily set yourself up to take excellent pictures for your business. Here’s everything you need to get started.
A proper camera is essential. No matter how many cameras they pack into the back of the latest phone, the size of their sensors is simply too small to produce the image quality we need. Many of the treatments offered by medspas and wellness centers are best appreciated with a high level of detail in the images. However, you don’t need to splurge on a top-of-the-line camera.
Micro four-thirds cameras are more affordable than APS-C or full-frame sensor cameras. They are also much lighter and their batteries last longer. Their only disadvantages are that they may have a difficult time capturing a full body shot in a small space, and they perform worse in low-light conditions. However, lighting won’t be an issue for you in an office setting. As long as you have a room that measures 12′ long, you’ll be fine.
Most cameras will come with a kit lens that will be sufficient for what you need. If you are looking to do detailed close-ups of skin treatments, you may want to purchase a macro lens for your camera. This will let you get close enough to see the details in the pores of the skin, which can really highlight how effective your treatments are.
Lighting is quite possibly more important than any other variable, and it’s often the most overlooked in before and after photos. Offices usually have fluorescent lighting, which is not flattering at all. If you are going to consistently use a single room to take your before and after photos, change all of the lights for LED bulbs. In fact, you ought to do this across your entire medspa if you can.
Overhead lighting is only part of the equation. You’ll also want to get a couple of softbox lights. If your only light is coming from above, then your patient will cast shadows downwards, for example from the eyebrows. It won’t be possible to see work done on the eyes if they’re shadowed from above, the same is true for the neckline as chin shadows will block it out.
You can place the two box lights on the side of the room angled towards the patient, with slightly different heights to ensure complete coverage. Finally, it would be wise to get a small key light on top of your camera. Aperture M9 is an excellent option for this.
You don’t need a dedicated space just for photos. A normal consultation room can be quickly converted in a matter of minutes with the right equipment. You can purchase a collapsible backdrop similar to a pull-down projector screen. Alternatively, you could have a cloth backdrop between two poles which could easily be tucked into a corner when not in use.
A pure white backdrop works well for most patients. Light blue is also a good choice. Strong colors can be problematic if your patient needs to stand very close to the background, as the color can “splash” back onto the patient and give their skin a colored glow. Encourage your patients not to wear the same color as the backdrop if possible.
Now you’re ready to shoot, so let’s look at what you should consider when you’re actually taking medical photos.
The shooting process is very simple. All you need are a few angles at a few distances to get the results you need. Of course, you may want to consider other types of shots for specific treatments.
There are three fundamental angles you need to use in your shots. The first is the head-on shot. The next is the side-profile angle, where your shoulders are perpendicular to the patient’s. Right between these is the three-quarter angle, where you position yourself halfway between head-on and side-profile.
If your shooting area is not wide enough for you to circle your patient to get these other angles, you can have them rotate in place to get the same results.
Regarding camera height, it depends on the treatment. For facial work, aim for the face. If you are looking to do a full body shot, perhaps after a weight loss treatment, the best height is near the breast line. Always keep the camera parallel to the ground. If you tilt the camera up or down, it will distort the patient’s appearance.
Now that you have your three primary angles, you need to consider three distances. The first is the full-body shot, which should capture your patient from head to toe. Next is the “body part shot”, for lack of a better term. Fit the entire treatment area into this frame; for instance, if you lasered varicose veins on a patient’s leg, you’d put the entire leg in this shot.
Finish with a close-up where the background is hardly visible and the treatment area nearly fills the frame.
Be sure to be consistent with the before and after angles and distances. You may want to mark the floor with painter’s tape to make sure you use the same spots every time.
Don’t worry if you’re not a bona fide professional photographer. You don’t need to be an expert to take good pictures as cameras today have solid automatic shooting modes. However, there are some things you should configure.
Check the color mode or shooting style option. It’s best not to use vivid or overly saturated modes since this makes it harder to adjust the color later on the computer. Flatter, neutral options may not look great when you take the picture, but you’ll make them shine in editing.
Ensure that your camera is taking pictures in RAW format as this will allow you to make more adjustments later. You can usually configure your camera to shoot in RAW and output a JPG at the same time in case you don’t feel like editing your photos afterward.
Some minor editing is necessary to make excellent before and after photos that you can use on social media or in your marketing campaigns. Ultimately, you want to show both the before and after images in the same file for easy uploading and distribution.
Adobe Lightroom is a free application that lets you adjust your images after shooting. We would recommend using it to make small adjustments before combining files together in a program like Photoshop or a free alternative such as GIMP.
Color and Exposure Adjustments
When you open a RAW file in Lightroom, you can adjust the color and exposure (brightness) to your liking. Open both the before and after photos and adjust them to match one another as closely as possible. If your lighting setup and camera settings were identical for both shoots, this should not be difficult and may not even be necessary. Consistency is key.
You may want to add markups to your images for certain treatments. For example, if you performed a mole removal treatment, you may want to save a copy of the images with a red circle or box around the mole area to focus the viewer’s attention on the area that was treated.
You could also add text overlays that explain the treatment and time elapsed between photos.
Cropping and Combining
You must crop your photos, especially if there are other objects in view because of the office setting. Desks, chairs, lights, anything that could distract the viewer needs to be cropped out.
Crop the two images equally, and then combine them into a single file. The easiest way to do this is in Photoshop by simply dragging one into the other and arranging them accordingly. If that’s not an option, open both and position them on your desktop, then use the snip and sketch tool to take a screenshot.
Avoid These Mistakes
Do not “airbrush” or doctor the photos. Do not apply filters or stylize the photos too much. The goal is to demonstrate the real results of your work, so avoid doing anything that may make the photos look altered or manipulated.
Avoid having glaring inconsistencies between the two pictures. If the angle is significantly different or the lighting doesn’t match, it can make it difficult for viewers to appreciate your work. The objective is to make it so the only variable that has changed is the patient’s appearance, not the appearance of the photos themselves.
Storing and Using Your Photos
Once your photos are ready, what’s next? Well, you need to store them securely. One of the best ways to do this is to use medical spa software, like the software that Crystal Clear offers.
Medical Spa Software
With our medical spa software, you can easily store before and after photos of your patients and link them to specific treatments that your patients have undergone. This means you can easily find images just by searching for specific treatments or types of patients. For example, if you wanted to do a campaign about PRP facials, you could just search for that treatment in your system and all of the patients with their photos will appear.
You can then download those photos or share them with other applications. Instead of scouring through messy folders on your computer, our software will keep them organized, and safe.
We should mention that your patients’ privacy is not only your responsibility but a legal requirement as well in the medical field. Taking medical photos and putting them onto a secure platform like ours reduces the risk of a data breach that could cost you thousands and ruin your reputation.
Turn Photos Into Fortunes
With the right software, you can make your medspa or wellness center far more profitable. Taking medical photos and sharing them is just one of the many features found in our medical spa software. If you want to get all of the benefits we have to offer, then call Crystal Clear Digital Marketing today to learn more.