Before & After Photos Help Patients Visualize What's Possible By Sigrid Tehrani on December 03, 2015

Before and After Gallery - Dental and Medical

If you've yet to try out "Before and After" photos as part of your medical marketing strategy, it's time to jump on this bandwagon.

Since they're often used in infomercials or on the bottles of cheesy weight loss products, some doctors might shy away from these photo sets. But that could be a mistake.

Before and After Galleries are a valuable and proven marketing tool that can provide the visual proof prospective patients are seeking. Think of them as photographic case studies of your medical skill.

More Than Words

Integrating Before and After photos into your practice's image management and marketing strategy allows current and prospective patients to see what you can do for them. Patients can review Before and After photos to develop realistic expectations and build trust in your ability to deliver excellent results.

When patients can visualize how your procedures or services will benefit them, they'll be much more likely to contact your practice and move forward with treatment.

Surveys regularly show that Before and After Galleries are influential in patient choice. And the lack of photographs sows a seed of doubt in consumers, who will wonder why the doctor or dentist doesn't showcase their work. Would a painter hide away her canvases?

Poor quality photos can be just as damaging, including pictures that look fake or manipulated. Even small changes between images can raise questions that inhibit trust.

Selecting Cases for Your Gallery

If you've never used Before and After photos, you might be wondering where to start. Obviously, some cases lend themselves better to these images than others.

The ideal patient for a Before and After photo set:

  • Has very clear needs. For example, a patient with pronounced coffee stains would be a great option for teeth-whitening photos. An older man whose eyes are almost completely clouded over with cataracts would make a great "before" photo for ophthalmological surgery.
  • Requires relatively simple, straightforward treatment. Patients with more complex cases, for example those who want to combine several plastic surgeries, may  not be good models for Before and After photos. When multiple procedures are involved, people may be confused about which procedure produced which result. Consider reserving complex cases for an in-depth case study for your website that allows you to showcase the transformative benefits of multi-step treatments. 
  • Are happy to provide their consent in writing. Showing off their results involves publicly discussing their medical needs and treatment. The last thing you need is a HIPAA or privacy violation, so you should find a candidate who readily consents to Before and After photos, confirms his or her agreement in writing, and will cooperate throughout the process.

If you don't have clear cut options for Before and After photos, you can play it safe by taking pictures of every patient before his or her treatment so you can see how it turns out and then make your decision about which to use after the fact.

A well-developed gallery will highlight:

  • Multiple procedures
  • Varied body types
  • Different ethnicities
  • Varied age groups

Taking the Pictures

Since you'll be using these photographs on your website and in marketing campaigns, you'll want them to look professional. To take sleek, quality photos, we recommend that you:

  • Use a high-definition digital camera. Since cameras can render colors differently, we recommend you use the same camera to avoid undesired differences between photos.
  • Make sure the shot is well lit. Proper lighting helps people clearly see the differences between "before" and "after." Just as with cameras, you will want to use the same lighting for both pictures.
  • Be consistent between the Before and After images. For example, have the patient stand in the same place and pose the same way for both photos.
  • Take several photos so you have options with multiple angles.
  • Remember aesthetics when composing the picture. This is an obvious but important point. The photos that you use to create a technical treatment plan might provide the details you need, but may not be the best selections for Before and After photos. You should select images for your gallery using the same standards you would use for any publication that promotes your practice.

Some doctors choose to bring in professional photographers for assistance with this process, but you can certainly have a member of your staff take the photos as long as you follow these suggestions.

The Magic of Editing

In the era of digital technology, capturing the image is just the first step in creating beautiful Before and After photos. You can use editing software to graphically highlight your patient's outcomes. For example, you might use brightly colored arrows, circles, or text to emphasize the differences between "before" and "after."

But remember: Maintain consistent standards between photos to avoid raising questions about the authenticity of the images. Small differences, such as facial expressions, makeup, and jewelry can trigger skepticism in the minds of prospective patients. You don't want to be accused of "Photoshopping" photographs.

Words. The Secret Sauce.

But we would be remiss if we didn't mention the "secret sauce" for Before and After Galleries. Words. 

Before and After images benefit from descriptive text that explains the procedure, why it was performed, and how it overcame the patient's issues. Ideally, you should use both layman's terms as well as technical words to make the text understandable by prospective patients and searchable by search engines.

Well-crafted descriptions allow you to tell the story of your patient's journey. This is an important component in Before and After Galleries because people are hardwired to remember stories. In fact, stories make remembering facts and figures easier.

By weaving information into a story, you make the information "sticky" in the minds of prospective patients, which helps keep your practice top of mind long after they have turned off their computer screen. 

Storytelling also helps overcome objections.

People approach online information with a lot of skepticism. But storytelling creates an emotional connection that switches the brain from a "logic and debate" frame of reference to the realm of "imagination and possibilities." What better way to inspire prospective patients?

Sharing Your Images

Once you've created your photographic masterpiece, you need to share it with the world if you want to make an impact and expand your reach. You can use images in:

  • Website Galleries: Feature a Before and After Gallery on your website.
  • Portfolios: Create a portfolio of images to show patients undergoing the same procedure.
  • Blog Posts: Photographs are a natural addition for a blog post, providing visual documentation of actual results.
  • Social Media: Images are an important tool to optimize social media posts. Just remember to use discretion in the pubic forum.

By creating your own Before and After Gallery you create both an educational and promotional tool for your practice, showcasing your skills and expertise while building trust in your abilities.

Einstein Medical simplifies the tasks of building and maintaining beautiful Before and After Galleries.

If you would like to learn how to streamline the process, please write us. Or, if you prefer, you can fill out the contact form below.

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