f you’ve spent any time on social media lately, you’ve no doubt come across ads for makeup, gym equipment, or aesthetic services. And the trends are clear: Marketers are embracing complete authenticity – something that’s nearly the polar opposite of what you may have found online in the not-too-distant past.
Especially if you’ve been trained in the “Photoshop to perfection” school of marketing, how do you create photos that are inspiring and aspirational, but show real results? Here are a few ideas for how to find the balance that will give your customers a realistic, attainable look at what your procedures and services can do for them.
1. Create your visual story
Like all elements of marketing, your photography should start with understanding your audience and creating a plan. If your ultimate goal is to attract qualified leads to your business, that means speaking to them in a way that’s relatable – and a picture is worth a thousand words. If you’re a high-end, luxury, exclusive aesthetics practice with a celebrity clientele, for example, your visual story should reflect that. If you focus on a niche, your visual story should leave potential customers with no doubt about what you offer.
2. Showcase a wide range of before and after results
While some customers definitely see incredible results from aesthetics services, other results are more subtle. It’s important to show both in your before and after gallery. Why? Because potential customers want to know what the procedure will do for them. If they see someone in your photography who looks like them, they’ll be better able to relate.
Along those same lines, it goes without saying that the “after” photos should show improvement, but beware of making that photo so much better than the “before” picture that people think it’s fake. (See note below about lighting.)
3. Introduce your doctors and aestheticians
At the end of the day, your customers are interacting with the person who’s performing their procedure or treatment. Warm, inviting photographs of your staff can go a long way toward building trust. Be sure to capture them in their “natural habitat” around the office for a feeling of authenticity, and have them look exactly as they do when they see patients for that connection between online marketing and their real-world experience. Consider having them do video demonstrations of your various service options – especially if any equipment used may look scary or overwhelming at first glance. All of this combined will create a good synergy between authority and approachability.
4. Ask your customers to be your ambassadors
According to Insider Intelligence, 62% of consumers said that they were more likely to purchase if they could view customer-generated photos and videos, and as many as 21% said they’d like to see a product in action before they purchase. Translated for medspas, this means asking some of your best customers to post their results from their own personal page, in their own style.
5. Ditch the stock photos
If you’re on a limited budget, your first thought might be to turn to a stock photo site for inexpensive – or sometimes even free – photographs for your website. When the trend is toward embracing authenticity in your digital marketing, however, stock photos give a staged feeling that isn’t relatable to many of your customers.
Instead, we suggest hiring a local photographer to do a custom photo shoot that includes images of your office, customers, doctors and staff, and more. If your budget is tight, consider hiring a photographer in trade for aesthetic services of an equal amount. You could even get perfectly good photos and videos for social media using a high-quality smartphone.
MedSpa Photography Tips and Tricks
- Get permission from all models. Whether you hire a professional photographer or DIY it, one thing is essential – make sure that everyone who appears in your photographs or videos has given you exclusive permission to use their image and likeness on camera. You can find standard media release forms online, and make sure everyone signs them before you begin. Privacy is a top concern for medspas, and a business could find itself in hot water if someone who wanted to have a procedure done under the radar is suddenly featured on your TikTok account.
- Don’t use the same staff members in every photo. People come and go, so we recommend staging the same photograph using various groupings. That way if someone moves on from their position, it’s painless to replace the image.
- Lighting matters. One of the things that can make viewers incredulous of before and after photos is vastly different lighting. One way to avoid this is to set up a studio area in your office, get the lighting right, and take all of your photos in that space for consistency. Ring lights are great for an inexpensive yet professional studio setup.
- Be aware of copyright. While you probably won’t get in trouble for picking up sounds or songs and using them on your personal social media channels, it’s an entirely different story for a commercial business. It’s important to check the copyright status of any song you may want to include with your videos – most of them will be off-limits.