What Every Aesthetic Pro Should Know About B&As

woman setting up phone camera

Before and after photos (aka B&As) are key to attracting new clients to your aesthetics practice. In fact, surveys have found that up to 83% of consumers look to B&As when researching cosmetic procedures. But are you accidentally misleading your clients with yours?

Chances are you’re shooting your own B&As… and your main concern is showing off your incredible results. Experts like Rahul Mehta, Vice-President of Research and Development at AbbVie, and Dr. Dean Vistnes, SkinSpirit Medical Director and co-founder, say that’s not enough. How you take those photos matters. B&As can’t just be wow-worthy: You have an ethical obligation to make them accurate.

B&A Red Flags

before and after of the lips

Inconsistent location, lighting, angles

Many aesthetic providers may not realize they’re sharing misleading images. No matter how honorable your intentions are, it’s easy to slip into B&A red flag territory. Mehta has decades of experience in science-driven skincare, and says he’s seen even reputable journals publish poorly-shot B&As.

According to Mehta, some of the most common B&A errors are:

  • Using inconsistent lighting
  • Shooting in front of different backgrounds
  • Photographing the subject with different facial expressions
  • Using inconsistent subject angles or camera angles
  • Cropping images differently
  • Coloring images differently

The B&A Checklist

Luckily, there are also steps you can take to do B&As the right way. Nailing B&As comes down to consistency. Here our our top tips for your best-practices:

  • Set up a B&A zone in your office. You don’t need a large, fancy studio. You could even use a pulldown screen or window shade.
  • Create height and spacing markers for consistency. Add a tapeline on the floor for your photography subject, and another tapeline on the floor for the photographer. Consider using a tripod at a fixed height to hold your phone or camera while shooting.
  • Plan for wardrobe. If you’re taking client B&As on different days, keep clean smocks or scrubs handy for the client to wear in each photo. Make sure that jewelry is consistent, as well. (If feasible, ask the client to remove jewelry before the photo.)
  • Light it right. Sadly, you can’t control natural light. Invest in a lighting kit or a ring light—even a cheap one—to keep your B&A lighting consistent.
  • Give direction. Clients need the same direction in every B&A. For example: Stand tall, look straight at the top of my head, and don’t smile.
  • Take multiple photos. Shooting multiple options increases the chance of capturing identical facial expressions in your B&As.

Be a B &A Superstar

latisse before and after

Consistent light and angles

Dr. Vistnes reminds us, “The concept of before and after started out in surgical practices as a way to show a client what they can expect. As aesthetics moved into non-surgical options, client’s expectations for before and afters have stayed the same.  It’s not uncommon for a client to say, ‘I want to see a difference. I don’t want to pay for something I can’t see.’ This is tricky since non-surgical treatments can have more subtle results.”

The B&As you share are going to set your client’s expectations for their treatments. An accurate B&A gives you the opportunity to properly educate and convey outcomes, and ultimately to delight your client when you over-deliver. Happy snapping, (Sk)Insiders!

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