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For practical clinical photography, there six important factors to remember when taking your photographs.
Get the lighting right!
When taking a picture of a patient, ensure that the light is shining on the subject area being photographed. Always make sure there is a direct path between the light source and the subject area.
Often a torch is used to illuminate the site. This creates some difficulties in contrast between the dark outer area and the very bright central area.
You can get shadows if your subject or camera is not positioned correctly to take advantage of the light. Often, shadows are not be noticeable with the naked eye, but are more pronounced in the photograph; it is always important to review the picture after you take it to ensure that your subject area is clearly visible (and in focus).
Distracting backgrounds make pictures less valuable and focus is often unacceptable.
Backdrops are often helpful! An appropriate backdrop behind the subject is a huge advantage whenever possible.
- Medical drapes are good – they are uniformly coloured and non-reflective. Dark or navy blue fabric will often provide the best results.
Positioning of the subject AND camera is critical.
Unusual or difficult angles can confuse the interpretation of a clinical picture – particularly in respect of relatively close-up views.
- It may help to take a wider angle view and a “lesion only” picture if the closer details are important- they usually are.
The camera should always be held flat and pointed directly (at right angles) to the subject.
A picture of a horse grazing “over yonder” will not help the diagnostic process.
Holding a camera steady is essential when taking a clinical image.
Try to ensure the patient doesn’t move!
This is critical when taking clinical photos. Your before and after photos are a key component. Even the best results are less than impressive if the before and after photos were taken from a different angle, a different distance, or with a different background.
Having a standardized process for taking photos is a great way to ensure photo consistency.