If you’re like most medical professionals, you’ve been taking and analyzing Before and After photos since your freshman year of med school. And if you have been in private practice for more than a nanosecond, you know that Before and After galleries are one of the first places potential patients visit when they reach your website.
Before and After photos can be one of your strongest marketing tools. Potential patients don’t want to see stock images or heavily filtered posts from social media influencers — they want to see the real results of people just like them. Plus, patient photos bring an added layer of polish and professionalism to your website (and ultimately, your practice) by illustrating the various procedures you offer.
You know all of this. You know it deep in the marrow of your bones. And yet, this incredibly important step may have slipped through the cracks recently. Perhaps your marketing or website team hasn’t received any new photos from you in months, not to mention that the new skincare treatment you’ve been advertising doesn’t have any representation in your gallery.
We can chalk this oversight up to the pandemic, stress, being insanely busy, partially losing our minds, and sometimes forgetting which way is up. The good news is, we’re here to get you back on track and offer a few tips for keeping things simple and steady, so you can get the most bang for your Before and After buck. From our must-have apps for taking, storing and sharing your photos, to our step-by-step guide to a quick and easy studio setup — we’ve got you covered.
Let’s dive in.
6 Tips for Taking Stellar Before and After Photos
First off, let’s look at what a good Before and After photo looks like.
Clean, well lit. Simple. It’s not impossible to produce effective Before and After photos all the time and elevate your game.
1. Be Consistent
Every single treatment that has visual results should be photographed. If the procedure requires healing time, take advantage of the follow-up appointments by snapping a few pics. Even if you don’t use those particular photos, you’ll create a habit and set the expectation for yourself, your staff and your patients that this is part of the process.
2. Delegate the Task
We know that running an office is time-consuming. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to be the one to take B&As, delegate this task to an organized and responsible member of your staff.
Pro tip: to build accountability, set a goal of getting “X” number of Before and Afters every week or month. Designate that person as the “results officer” or something equally as empowering, and bonus them for getting the best of the best of your work.
3. Store and Share Your Photos Securely
Keep your photos organized for simplicity when handing them off to your marketing team. You can get as detailed as you want with your archiving efforts or just go simple: a folder on your computer with the procedure and proper naming conventions such as procedure, patient info, results, healing time, follow-ups, etc. Add all the information you can for easy use and cross-referencing later down the line.
A few of the most popular tools for storing and sharing these photos:
- Dropbox. Maybe the most popular cloud-based option out today, Dropbox offers fast sharing and storage solutions for individuals and larger teams. The Dropbox app also allows for flexibility for your team as you can access and send your files from your desktop to your phone to your tablet. It’s safe, secure and an easy solution for your files.
- OneDrive. Created and managed by Microsoft, OneDrive may be the most secure option on the market thanks to its Personal Vault feature, which supports the storage of confidential files with identity verification. Since OneDrive is designed and developed by Microsoft, this may be the preferred solution for Android users.
- Google Drive. Google is everywhere and knows a thing or two about cloud storage and file sharing. Drive, as it was formally called, is ideal for any office that depends daily on G-Suite, Android apps or other services offered by the search engine giant. You can get started on Drive with 15 GB of cloud storage for free.
- Apple iCloud. If you and your team own Apple-based products, then iCloud is the default cloud storage option that initially offers you 5 GB of storage for free. For only .99 cents, you can upgrade that capacity to 50 GB. If you sync your iPhone to iCloud, then pictures you take on your phone will be stored automatically to the storage provider, making things seamless if you operate your Before and After studio from your phone.
4. Never Neglect the Lighting
Medical facilities let in varying amounts of light throughout the day due to the different directions the buildings face and the different types of shades installed in their windows — but the one thing that is near-universal in every medical facility is balanced bright fluorescent lighting.
Do your best to ensure the lighting is the same for every single photo. Otherwise, you can tarnish your Before and After results with weird shadows and funky glares from the windows of passing cars. Maintaining consistent lighting can be as simple as picking up a tripod for your phone that comes with a ring light for cheap or finding stand-alone LED lights that won’t take up a ton of space and store away easily. These tools will help you focus light directly on your patient for clear images.
Speaking of windows…
5. NO WINDOWS!
Ok, so that might not be possible all the time, but do your best to limit the exposure of your B&A studio to the windows in your office. Windows that let in natural light are beautiful to stare out when you’re daydreaming about sipping Bahama Mamas on a beach in Tahiti. They’re not good for Before and Afters because different times of day provide different lighting. Also, weather can severely alter the lighting. The light that pours in on a sunny, cloudless morning looks drastically different from the light that sneaks through thunderstorm clouds in the evening.
6. Brand Your Photos Before Sharing
Branded images help you maintain a clean, professional look and feel across your website, social media channels, and paid advertisements. Branded backdrops are an easy way to create a uniform aesthetic that helps potential patients build a connection with your brand along with your results.
Why else is branding important to consider for your B&A photos? Because most solid backdrops come in limited color options, often falling into just four selections: black, blue, white or green. Unless your brand colors happen to fall into those narrow categories, you’ll want to invest in custom backdrops or crop your images and remove the backdrop completely.
A few suggestions on apps you can keep on your phone to easily remove backdrops of photos: Apowersoft Background Eraser, TouchRetouch, Ultimate Background Eraser (Android). There are numerous options (some paid, some free), so find one that fits your needs.
Remember, while we’re suggesting you remove the backdrops of the Before and After photos to insert branded coloring, you should never, ever fake it.
Tip of the Day: Don’t Fake It
Patients see so much imagery these days between Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and advertisements that they can spot a picture that’s too perfect. Even casual internet users today have an eagle eye for fake or Photoshopped images. As tempting as it may sometimes be to throw a filter on an image, you should never do this.
If you take multiple patient photos and find none of them acceptable, simply don’t use them anywhere, on any platform. Don’t be associated with them. This can completely ruin your practice’s credibility and have a snowball effect on your trust factor.
Need a Simple Before and After Studio?
If you’re in the market for an easy studio set up in your office, you’ll want to listen up. Almost everyone now has a powerful camera in their pocket, thanks to their phone. With that in mind, if you need a simple B&A set up in your office, you’ll only need two other items:
If you have the space and budget, go ahead and spring for a couple of extra LED lights to help with washing away any shadows from the patient. We’ve mentioned the battle between fluorescent light versus natural light from windows. The biggest reason we lean towards fluorescent lighting is that you can control it in your office. Once you’ve got it dialed in, it remains consistent. And again, consistency is key.
Setup can be simple:
1. Choose a Location
Ideally, your location should be against a flat wall or in a quiet corner, with your good fluorescent lighting doing most of the work. Remember, the ring light will focus on the patient and help eliminate any shadows or hard lines. Try your very best to keep your location away from windows or doors that open to rooms with tons of natural light. Natural light changes with the time of day and weather, so your Before and After images won’t be consistent.
2. Pop Open Your Backdrop and Lights
When you settle on a location, pop up your backdrop according to the instructions included. Make sure all locks and safeties are set, and the backdrop is taut. If any wrinkles persist, fire up your trusty hand-held steamer and remove them. A smooth surface looks more professional and is less distracting. Key your lights in on your subject so that no shadows cover procedure areas.
3. Snap Your Photos and Save
Go ahead and snap as many photos as you and your patient feel comfortable with to ensure you have options to choose from when going through the post-production process. Once you’re satisfied with your photos, save them right away to one of the cloud services we mentioned earlier, such as Dropbox or OneDrive.
4. Get Them to Your Marketing Team
So now you just pop the photos on your website and social platforms, right? Wrong.
When it comes to social media, have you set up your sensitive content settings and censored body areas restricted by social guidelines? Do you have the proper cropping and ratios to fit within each platform? Are they properly branded and have the design aspects that need to be added to fit within your visual feed strategy?
For ad campaigns, are they compliant with ad platform policies? Does the ad copy complement and promote the images properly? Do you have the ad itself professionally designed to implement the images and get the most ROI on your advertising dollars?
When coding your images into your website, do you have the images properly optimized for responsiveness to different platforms and devices? Do you have them optimized for SEO? Are they properly HTML tagged? Are they fitted with the procedural information, placed within the necessary procedural pages, and linked with calls to action?
Have you ever thought about how these will work in your automated drip campaigns or conversion-driven landing pages?
This doesn’t even begin to brush the surface of proper B&A utilization. As you can see, there’s so much to do to effectively make use of those photos across all your marketing channels. Leave it to the experts to ensure your images are optimized on every platform so you get the most out of your well-documented treatment Before and After photos.
In the End, Before and Afters (Still) Matter
In the end, Before and After photos are about building trust. Potential patients look to B&As as the first line of communication with your medical practice before they ever pick up a phone or send an email. They want to know if you’re the right practice for them to entrust with their most valuable asset — themselves.
B&As remain the first place visitors navigate to online and the most convincing piece of evidence that you know how to handle their specific needs. The investment of time and money into a quality Before and After studio is minuscule when you think about the return you will see when your gallery converts these visitors into sales.
Have Questions About Your B&A Studio?
If you need assistance setting up your studio or taking your Before and Afters, we are happy to help. Or, if you’ve finally gotten some great Before and Afters and aren’t sure what to do with them, hit us up, and we can show you how to market them most effectively.
We understand that every website and every practice is unique. Our educators are here to answer any questions you have, anytime, for free. Give us a call at (800) 949-0133 or click below to schedule a one-on-one.