5 Tips for Photographing the Healthcare and Medical Industries
Producing images of and for the healthcare and medical industries is not an easy task. To create meaningful images in this very specific field, a photographer needs to be flexible regarding the tools they can use and be prepared to make the most out of a challenging setting.
Here are a few tips to set you up for success at your next photo shoot:
#1 Be prepared
Gaining permission to conduct photo shoots inside hospitals and medical facilities can be complicated. To facilitate and obtain the authorizations, it is essential to prepare the shoot well in advance. A limited timeframe and space constraints can challenge every photographer and good preparation can ensure that nothing is forgotten in the heat of the moment. Visiting the location early will help identify the props that need to be kept or taken out of the setting. The overall view of the setting has a strong impact on the viewer and their impression. On the day of the shoot, the background has to be polished: no one needs to see the cables next to the scanner or the stack of files on a desk (unless that is part of the concept).
#2 Ask for advice
In unfamiliar surroundings, everything can appear interesting. To successfully respond to the expectations of an expert audience that knows clinical surroundings, it is important to create images that highlight relevant scenes and situations effectively. That is when an expert advisor can make the difference between a useful image and a complete failure.
#3 Be precise
When photographing medical equipment, a differentiation needs to be made between a product shot supplied by the manufacturer and a commercial image that has the potential to tell a larger story. Furthermore, when adding the title and keywords to the image, brand names must be avoided and the exact terminology of the device should be included. For example, a professional will know the difference between a CT scanner and MRI scanner, so ensure you include the correct name of the equipment!
#4 Avoid clichés
If a child was asked to draw a picture of a doctor, one might expect them to draw an adult, with a white jacket and maybe a stethoscope. Of course, not all healthcare providers use stethoscopes. And many medical professionals do not even wear lab coats. When creating images, it is important to find a balance between the learned symbols of the audience and the reality of the profession or practice. Successful content creators are able to effectively use both and stand out in a crowd of clichés.
Ideally, the viewer should believe that images show real doctors treating real patients in real setting. This can be a difficult illusion to fulfill. Models in the role of care provider and patient, both require direction and an understanding of the overall situation in order to avoid a contrived scene. The same guidance applies to stylists. Focusing on the patient and the situation while showing just enough of the technology might be a very good mix to capture the audience. The photographic vision will have the power to connect with the audience if it is authentic.
#5 Don’t limit the colors
When agencies select an image, they may have a specific design in mind. In order to cater to this group, it may be a good idea to provide images with a full spectrum of colors and a clean white balance. Although it is tempting to turn up the blue to infuse a concept of hygiene into an image, this limits the designer and their ability to further fine-tune the image for their client.
Every great story has something in common – a great setting. When considering new images, imagine how a new motif could become part of a larger story, or how it can act as a frame in a different narrative. Once the image is no longer seen as a final product, new types of imagery become conceivable.