Advice from a Professional Photographer on Optimizing Your Photo Gallery

Learn about our new Edge Before & After Gallery at the end of this blog!
The faster, easier, better-looking way to feature your beautiful results.

We invited top photographer, Charlie Cotugno to give you some great advice on how to take before and after photos that showcase your beautiful work in its very best light. Take it away, Charlie!

The research is in: your before and after gallery is one of your primary lead generators.
But as obvious as that sounds, it’s astounding how many practices overlook this fact. Do some looking around and you’ll find countless galleries with blurred photos, bad lighting, inconsistent framing, and dozens of other easily avoidable mistakes. When you can do a better job in this area, you’ve got a leg up on your competition

Let’s talk about a few best practices when creating your before and after gallery.

Look sharp
First and foremost, make sure your photos are in focus! Blurry photos, no matter how well composed and lit, will make your practice appear to be subpar when compared to your competition.

Make it easy for site visitors
It’s important that your gallery is easy to access and navigate; no more than a single click away from any page on your site with simple forward and back arrows. And make sure your before/after photos are side by side, not one on top of the other. Our culture trains our eyes to always scan from left to right and that’s the way people expect your before/after photos to be laid out.

Neutrals please
You should always use a plain background, preferably white or a light gray. These colors will best feature the areas you are displaying. Colored or busy backgrounds will distract the viewers’ eyes away from the subject of your photos and distract from the work you’re trying to feature.

Lighting is everything
Make sure your subject is evenly lit. Don’t try to get “artsy” by intentionally (or unintentionally) casting shadows on one side of the body. You may have killer photo skills but your potential clients are there to clearly see the work your practice offers.

Be consistent!
Make sure the pose, body angle, hairstyle, clothing, makeup, and framing are as close to exact as you can get in both the before and after photos. Any variation in these elements will distract from the differences you’re trying to showcase.

Makeup tips
Avoid or, at the very least, use very light makeup in both the before and after photos. A lot of clients will want to look like they’re ready to hit the town with their new look and apply their usual amount of makeup. Ask them kindly to resist that temptation.

Properly frame your photos.
You don’t want your subject to appear too far away or too close in your photos.

Accept making the Investment (It’s less than you think!)

Most assume getting professional results will be too expensive or take up too much room in their facility. Both of those assumptions are false.

Equipment and pricing
Here’s a quick breakdown of the equipment you’ll need and some approximate pricing. You might be surprised at how economical it is to get professional results.

Camera area
Just a small space will do. A “permanent” setup is convenient but not necessary. After figuring out the positions and settings for your equipment, it’s easy to document the settings and place small pieces of tape on the floor to make setup a breeze.

Which camera?
All you need is a decent point and shoot camera. Let’s just say $250. If you want something a little better, there are relatively inexpensive DSLR kits available.

Tripod: About $100.

A collapsible white background to lean against a wall should cost you no more than $100. A large piece of white paper is virtually free and also works. But it’s not as durable and prone to yellowing as it ages. White backgrounds can also serve as gray or even black backgrounds, depending on your lighting setup.

A one light setup is adequate and can yield great results. A two-light setup makes it easier to produce even lighting. A three-light setup allows you to have more control over your background and helps eliminate shadows. Just $350 will afford a three-light setup with remote triggering, meaning you won’t need to run any cables to them from the camera.

Light Stands
You’ll need one for each flash. About $35 each.

Optional Items
Reflector: A reflector positioned about mid torso is great for showing facial work. It will reduce bags under the eyes and as well as some of the minor shadows produced from the general lighting. You’ll need a light stand as well as a reflector arm. About $200 for the combo.

Flash Modifiers: Small umbrellas, softboxes, diffusers, etc., will yield softer lighting and more pleasing results. Anywhere from $15 to $100 per flash.

So there it is. A three-light setup, based on everything above (except the optional items), should cost around $905. Is that worth investing in your number one lead generation tool? You bet! Of course, you’re going to need a little bit of education on setup and technique, but it’s not rocket science. Look for a local pro to help or watch some YouTube videos to get you going.

Charlie Cotugno is a Seattle-based commercial and privately commissioned photographer, creating images for annual reports, marketing campaigns, and websites. He also helps businesses set up and operate their own in-house camera rooms. You can reach Charlie at 425.501.9725 or check out his work at

Charlie is also the founder and principal photographer for the nationally acclaimed project, Stories of Autism. With the mission of raising awareness, acceptance, and inclusion, the project includes hundreds of volunteer photographers who create fine art portraits of adults and children on the autism spectrum for both online and live exhibits.

Introducing our new Edge Before & After Gallery!

Easy visitor experience. Quick photo uploads. Great on mobile devices. Customized to your look.
Edge Gallery is our new proprietary before and after gallery plugin. We took our years of industry experience working with practices and physicians to create a gallery tool that is specifically tailored for their needs. With Edge Gallery, you can give your procedure results the showcase they deserve to attract new clients and get the phone ringing.

Click here to learn more about our new Edge Gallery.

(800) 800-8314