Photographic Standards for Plastic Surgeons
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has done a great job in establishing standards for plastic surgeons taking before and after photos of patients. This includes a publication called “Photographic Standards in Plastic Surgery” and a PDF version is available for your viewing.
Another publication that is available is the Resident Resource Book from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Starting on Page 31 this publication has some great information on photo techniques and reproduction ratios for Plastic Surgery before and after photos. Using their camera to subject distances and lens focal length (50mm-100mm) for different body shots will give you the correct reproduction ratios meeting professional standards. Keep in mind that the angle of view with a given focal length with a digital camera is different than that of a 35mm film camera. So if you are using a Canon, or Nikon digital S.L.R. all of the before and after photos can be taken using a 50mm lens the equivalent of a 75mm lens on a 35mm film camera. http://www.utmb.edu/surgery/Plastic%20Surgery_ResidentHandbook.pdf
After reviewing these publications it would seem that there would be universal compliance with the photographic standards that have been set for plastic surgeons, but that is definitely not the case.
If you review the publication it becomes very apparent that taking before and after photos as is it being done in most plastic surgeons offices is far from the professional standards that have been set. A whole list of problems that this has created could be listed including loss of revenue. What needs to be done is setting up an area in your office dedicated to taking patient photos with the right equipment and staff training. The small investment in equipment will start to show a return immediately. If you already have studio lights and a Digital SLR camera the Camera Track sells for as little as $1995.
The most way most efficient way to accomplish this is to contact Jim Canterbury at The Digital Pro LLC. What I will need is a list of the Camera, and Lighting that your office is using, and the dimensions of the room that is being used including ceiling height. After receiving this information I will layout the studio and recommend any additional equipment you will need.
- The first item that is addressed is “Camera to Patient Distance” this issue is resolved using the ceiling mounted Laser Camera Track all of your Before and After Photos will be taken from the same height and distace for each patient and those measurements will be recorded for future reference. When changing the camera from vertical to horizontal the lens will remain centered with the rotating camera bracket.
- In order to keep the exposure and color balance consistent the wall that is being used for the backgound will need to be painted 18% grey. (Using the paint mix code for Home Depot ).
- Lighting needs to be “Locked Down” so the studio lights should be mounted on the side walls rather than using movable stands.
- If you have been using a zoom lens on the camera this will need to be replaced with a fixed standard or Macro lens.
- A target mat needs to be placed for the patient to stand on, and stoll with swivel base for them to sit on for facial photos.
- Design a Patient Photo Form with information needed to repeat settings when taking photos in later sessions.
- Train staff on how to use equipment and record settings.