How important are before and after pictures?
By Jane Adler
They are the only visual record of our labors and as such are one of the single most important aspects of our business. Before and after pictures are one of the keys to successful marketing plan. But they are also an invaluable part of your record keeping. These records assist in trouble shooting problems with a client and in providing vital documentation to your insurance carrier.
DOCUMENTING YOUR WORK PROCESS
While we understand in theory we must have a before picture of all our clients, we only have one chance to get this. Make it a habit to take a photo EVERY TIME YOUR CLIENT SITS IN YOUR CHAIR. This way you get pictures of healed work, prior to work and immediately completed work. It is understood that most of these pictures will not be flattering or valuable in any marketing sense, but if you shoot a picture every time someone sits in your chair, you will never end up with a situation where not having a photo can cost you your business!
During consultations, clients will need proof of your beautiful work. My photo philosophy is KEEP IT REAL. I personally, do not like manufactured brochures, which do not reflect real work. I like to show all stages of work and all types of clients. Use pictures from young to more mature woman. And don't forget the men. Include a selection of pictures from a blonde with darker brows or dark hair with a softer brow. Show lash enhancement to thicker eyeliner. Show a dramatic brow to a soft hair stroke. Let clients see the range of art you can create. Try to show a range of skin types too. As your photo album grows, so will your clientele. This is a must for a successful business.
Start by displaying portfolios which show only your best work. Be creative and let the clients see the magic unfold in a series of photos which show various stages of your work. A well documented dramatic improvement can bring you a ton of new business. I sometimes take a before (with regular makeup), before without makeup, directly after procedure and then healed. I like to show pictures with minor swelling, blanching, and stronger color. Then wow, healed after picture. This is especially, helpful for the client considering a lip procedure.
Do not to show extreme or theatrical work that could scare a potential client away. What better way to describe the process we do. Never show pictures with bleeding, bruising or extreme swelling. Make sure you get a signed photo release from each and every client. This is a must.
While it is often difficult to get clients to return for a final healed photo, those pictures will be some of the best marketing tools you can have. If your client is receiving multiple procedures, you can often shoot your finished work while nitpicking something else.
Photography equipment is a business expense. Invest in a good camera. Pictures are best taken with a close up 35 mm or a digital camera. Some technicians take both, in case there is a dreaded computer crash. Investment in a good 3 to 4 times zoom camera is a must, for any technician. Be sure, to have a back up battery and film on hand at all times.
Also designate an area of your business for a photo wall. Be very consistent about your photography skill. Always take multiple before and after pictures. One set will be kept in the client's confidential files and the others for your consultation books.
Happy photo album making! Be sure to add to portfolios any letters or emails you may receive from happy clients.