Clinical Photography – Getting the Right Shots

The most preferred and easiest way of documenting patients’ visual features is through photographs. In aesthetic and cutaneous procedures, there is a need for proper photographic documentation from the medico-legal point of view. For instance, if you are a cosmetic surgeon dealing in all kinds of aesthetic treatments such as rhinoplasty, chin or cheek enhancement, body contouring, facial rejuvenation and hair removal utilising laser IPL machine, then taking before and after photographs of your clients is essential. You can showcase these photographs on your online gallery. Digital clinical photography is the type of photography that utilises digital technology to take images of the subject. Until the arrival of such technology, photographic films were used to take photographs.

Generally speaking, a photo gallery is a webpage which visitors spend most of the time viewing and these are also the pages where you can show off the quality of your results. However, if photographs are not taken correctly, they may misinterpret the potential clients and may inaccurately reflect your treatment procedures. Many times you may have seen before and after photos where patients don’t look different after the procedure or it is hard to compare the results because the photos weren’t taken at the right angle or proper lighting. Here are some tips for getting the right shots.

The key to getting great pictures is framing the area. It is essential to capture the full area of interest in the centre of the frame. For example, if the patient chooses cheek enhancement procedure, make sure to capture the whole face and not only the cheek, both before and after the procedure. The background is also an important aspect of a clinical photograph. Choose the background carefully according to the client’s skin tone. The background should be a solid neutral colour that contrasts with the skin tone of the patient. Ideally, the background should be consistent in all the clinical photographs. Choose a specific place to capture the clinical photographs where there are no background elements such as windows, pictures, or plants. These elements might hinder focus of photographs.

Lighting is one of the essential components when taking clinical photographs. You can experiment with lighting angles and brightness and also play around with features on your camera to see what will provide the best picture. The light should be evenly distributed on the area of interest so that no shadows are formed on any visible part of the patient’s body. Also, avoid harsh or direct lighting because it creates white spots and shine on the area to be photographed. For future reference, document the best lighting conditions and camera settings so that you can easily capture high-quality images.

When taking pictures, ask the patient to relax the area of interest and avoid expression when taking facial photos. When photographing the face, ask the patient to remove makeup if any and tie back the hair or place them behind the ear. Also, ask the patients to wear the same garment or the garment of similar style for before and after photography.

The photographs are an integral part of patients’ clinical notes and must be available throughout his/her procedure. Photographs are also used to train staff or medical students and they also hold a great research value. They are also used for advertisement or commercial purposes.

These are some of the tips that can help you out in capturing the right shots.