Quick Tips for Better Before & After Photos

before & after photos, medical marketing

Photos courtesy of William Portuese, MD

Right now, millions of people are going online to research their options for elective aesthetic procedures, edging closer to choosing the one doctor they believe will give them the results they seek. As noted in a post last week, more than 8 out of 10 aesthetic consumers won’t even consider a practice that doesn’t have Before & After photos.

Clearly, having a good selection of images on both your practice website and your social profiles is crucial. But, as RealSelf CEO Tom Seery recently wrote in Modern Aesthetics, the largest photo gallery on the Internet isn’t worth much if the pictures are poor. In the end, quantity may get you considered but quality is what will close the deal.

The Internet is a visually rich medium, notes Seery, so the quality of your images directly impacts the quality of your message. In other words, those grainy, blurry, off-center photos need not apply. There’s no better way to grab people’s attention, boost engagement, and encourage sharing than sharing rich, high-quality images.

Fortunately, you don’t have to have a master’s degree in photography to create great Before & After photos. Focus on the basics, so to speak, and your images will click with the people who view them:

  • Camera: Different cameras render colors differently, saturating some, washing out others. That can make someone look bright red in one image and deathly pale in another. Using the same camera—a good digital SLR should suffice— for all photos will help minimize the variation.
  • Lenses: A wide-angle lens may be good for close-ups of flowers, but it can subtly distort a person’s features, making body parts closer to the lens seem larger than they are—not the effect you want when showcasing, say, a rhinoplasty. In most situations, a 105mm lens will do the trick.
  • Lighting: Shoot one image with a flash and the other with ambient light and you’ll likely get very different results. The former will often accentuate underlying structures while the latter can soften them. Sometimes, the differences stand in such stark contrast that viewers will doubt their veracity.
  • Angle: Picture a pre-operative patient facing the camera with their Frankfort plane perfectly horizontal. Now imagine her tilting her head up or down ever so slightly during her After shot. Your facelift or blepharoplasty may have been near-perfect but subsequent viewers of your photo gallery may get a very different impression.

Technical details aside, paying attention to the above tips provides yet another important, but easily overlooked, benefit: A defense against questions about authenticity. As Seery notes,

Aesthetic consumers are savvy. They know good and bad photography when they see it— especially when it involves anything that smacks of fakery, manipulation or even small inconsistencies designed to enhance perceived results. Surgical paper panties in a Before photo vs. a lacy thong in the accompanying After. A relaxed belly vs. a sucked-in gut. Even a subtle change in makeup or a new piece of jewelry can spark online conversations about Photoshopping, false advertising and other tricks that inhibit trust.

Given the above, it’s hard to overstate the importance of creating and maintaining a first-rate Before & After gallery. Simply put, good photos showcase your work, consistent ones generate trust and paying attention to the fundamentals will help you accomplish both goals.

To learn more about the impact good photography can have on your digital marketing, read the rest of Tom Seery’s Modern Aesthetics article here.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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