Online learning: Make your photos count

Q. I'm not a photographer, how do I take quality photos for patient education?
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A. Better photographs can make education easier for the patient to understand. Here are a few tips for an amateur photographer to improve their images.

It's all about light

Pay attention to the natural light available to you. Use a window if you can. Daylight is much nicer than harsh overhead yellow fluorescent lights. Have the window light hit the subject from the front or the side. Avoid light behind the subject. If window light isn’t enough light or you don’t have access to natural outdoor light, use daylight light bulbs. You can put these bulbs in a lamp, or you can find inexpensive continuous photo lights. In any of these situations, if you can turn off those overhead fluorescent lights, do so. Fluorescent lights and outdoor lights are different colors, and you don’t want them competing with each other. Turn off any built-in flash. Many beginner-level cameras come with a built-in flash, but I recommend using one of these other light sources—natural outdoor light, a lamp with daylight bulbs, or photo lights.

Consider investing in an entry-level DSLR camera

I recommend a Nikon or Canon. A beginner level DSLR camera is easy for an amateur to use, but produces a higher quality photo compared to a phone or point-and-shoot camera.

Get rid of the clutter

You might be so focused on the subject, you forget to look at everything else. Step back. Remove unnecessary elements from the frame to make the picture less distracting. If there is a person in the picture, make sure they are not wearing anything busy.

Frame the photo

Make sure the most important element of the picture is large enough in the frame so the learner can easily see what you are demonstrating. Move closer—does the photo look better now? Notice the angle you are taking the picture. Try shooting straight on, at eye level, from above—what do you want the learner to see?