For tips on how to take your own photos of your face and body look at my previous post: photos
As a cosmetic plastic surgeon in northern Virginia, like those in other places, I take a few dozen before and after photographs every day.
The photographs are of my cosmetic patients’ face, breasts, abdomen, legs and arms and comprise before and after photos.
See here for the type of before and after photos I am talking about: plastic surgery photos
Although the results of any plastic surgery procedure are evident to both the patient and their plastic surgeon, there is a tendency for both parties to forget what the patient initially looked like. This is particularly true for the cosmetic patient, whose brain will change to incorporate a new body image and forget the old one. Often, after I show an after photo to a patient, they will not remember their pre-surgery self or will say that it looks like another patient! Before and after photos are of paramount importance!
How to take a plastic surgery before and after photo
During my residence in plastic surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, we were taught how to take before and after photos of our patients. Here were some of the rules:
Have a neutral blue or gray background
The color of the background is important to neutralize the effects of light bouncing off walls and ensure accurate skin color. Since the cosmetic surgeon needs to show the effects of colors of scars or blemishes on the skin, this is important.
Have a standard source of light for all before and after photos
Too much light or overexposing an “after” photo in before and after photos is a common technique used by some cosmetic surgeons to attempt to hide surgical flaws, the color of scars, etc. Sometimes it occurs by chance, but its deliberate use is misleading and abhorrent.
Standardize the views of the body part
For the face, abdomen and breast areas, the standard five views of plastic surgery photographs are taken, which include:
- Front view
- Two side views
- Two oblique or three-quarter views
All of these views should be utilized in before and after photos.
Other areas require specific photograph views:
- Nose – a view up the nostrils!
- Buttocks – the five views are reversed to the back
- Eyes – for blepharoplasty, a close-up of the eyelids is needed
If the following simple rules are followed, you and your board-certified plastic surgeon will have a much easier time comparing your plastic surgery results, and you as a consumer of plastic surgery will have an easier time comparing the results of different surgeons.