In this social media-driven era, your before and after photos are one of your primary business drivers. The vast majority of consumers shop around online for their services, so if you don’t have some amazing real-life client images on hand, you will instantly lose out on this huge segment of the market, and have to rely solely on word of mouth. And sure, that may work for that small portion of incredible businesses who have worked their arses off for years. However, for most businesses, WOM should only make up for a portion of your new clientele, not the whole thing. When capturing new clients online, generally the consumer journey is to find the business (by Googling either the area or the services or products they wish to find) and once something that fits the criteria is found, jump on Instagram to see some client results first-hand. If you consider the content on your social media right now, can you confidently say that the images could make this conversion and get clients through the door for you?
Now that we’ve defined why stunning images are so imperative for your business, here’s how to get them.
But first, lighting
Lighting is absolutely everything. Ensure you’re capturing images with excellent lighting, as a great level of detail is usually required (particularly when snapping skin transformations) and only things like overall brightness, warmth, colour etc can be adjusted in a photo editor. If you attempt to take images in the dark, there isn’t too much you can do to improve the quality.
Consider your positioning at the time of image snapping. You may think the angle looks great in the moment, but often you take a few photos and look back on them later only to discover you’re not happy with the positioning after all, or that the shot focuses too far up the client’s nose, or that somebody’s arm is in the way. Put in the time and effort to take lots (and we mean LOTS) of images from different angles at different stages of your treatment. Yes, the filtering process at the end may be time-consuming, but it is absolutely worth it.
This is especially important with the before and the after photo, which should be taken at the same angle, at the same distance, with the same lighting as one another. Try to review these aspects in your before shot before taking your after shot. An app ideal for this is one called Treatment Pad, designed especially for the aesthetics industry and ensuring before and after photos are perfectly angled and aligned. It’s free to download, but subscription plans are available for removing watermarks.
Keep social media in mind
Have your clients help with the legwork and take some photos for you by encouraging social media sharing around your salon or clinic. Set up snap-worthy corners and photo opportunities, and display your social media handle requesting shares and tags after treatments. This could be on your bathroom mirror, or you could go as far as to set up a selfie station with a gorgeous backdrop and ring light for clients to use at their leisure.
Define your style
Some business owners prefer to look after their own before and after photos, but others encourage their teams to take photos where possible too. If the latter is the case for you, have a training session with your team and teach them how to snap in your preferred style. This again goes back to consistency, and will result in not only your Insta grid looking divine, but your before and after shots becoming renowned in their own right for having that signature style you have developed – such as Perth’s Skin Fairy, for example. Go through how you would like the lighting, angle, background, and overall style with your team so they really understand how, what are why they are capturing. Check in with the camera quality on your team’s devices to ensure they are of high enough quality.
Images of your products and your clinic are a different kettle of fish, but when it comes to before and afters, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t be editing these much at all, with the exception of cropping and adjusting the brightness a bit if necessary. The point is to demonstrate the real-life results after all! If you know the images will be used for your Instagram grid, we suggest setting the camera ratio to a square so you can already see how the framing will look when capturing.
We know plenty of businesses that get stuck on creating captions for images, feeling the pressure to come up with clever, witty taglines. However, when captioning before and after photos, just explain to the ready what they’re seeing. Try to be succinct, but include the key information like the treatment, the homecare, how long the transformation took, etc. Use line breaks where necessary when describing a long/in-depth treatment so it doesn’t look too overwhelming. Also try to bear in mind the new visitors to your page – often we see before and after images with no details because the owner feels like they’re repeating themselves or ‘I’ve posted about this before’. That may be true for those who have been following the page for a while and are familiar with their services, but someone who has never visited before wants to click on one of the first few images on the grid and know exactly what they’re looking at. If not, you may just be creating more work for yourself when you begin receiving the influx of message responses saying “what treatment is this?”
While before and after photos really can feel like a chore sometimes, try to remember how absolutely essential they are for your business, and will continue to help you grow the more take and the more you improve. Get your team to help lighten your load (and your clients while you’re at it!) and never underestimate the power of a knock-out skin transformation gallery. And on a final note, we recommend storing them all in one handy online folder (such as a free Google drive) that is every for anyone to access and add to. Snap, upload, and delete from your device – for a clutter-free phone can often mean a clutter-free mind!