Medical Photography, whilst maybe not a common field, is still a field that not only occurs frequently but also can be vital in some situations. Some images can be used to better improve treatment and help further knowledge of medical practises, so having the right equipment to shoot these images is a must. In this blog, we take a look at recommended equipment to be used to achieve the best possible results.

Photographers in the Medical/Clinical Photography field typically use a Digital SLR camera in combination with flash lighting to record a wide variety of medical conditions. These photos can include routine pre-op and post-op (before and after) photos, to photographs taken to help doctors and other health professionals do the following:

• To help make a diagnosis or to seek further a second opinion from a specialist,

• To monitor patient progress of treatment of a condition over time by comparing current photos against previous photographs

• To help plan a treatment / operation

When setting up the subject for the shoot, we recommend using a chair with an adjustable back to pose the seated patient and remove any unnecessary jewellery to prevent unwanted reflections. Hair should be swept back from the face, using a hair band and/or hairclip to prevent anything distracting from the intended purpose of the image, and the patient should have no make up to reveal the actual skin tone.

Equipment

Lighting

LUMI 400 II 400Ws Studio Flash: The LUMI400II 400Ws studio strobe flash produces a bright flash of light, which enables you to keep your SLR at its base ISO, whilst using a small aperture to get the cleanest, most detailed results possible from your camera. It also features a short flash-duration, to give you the ability to freeze any slight body movement. It features quick recycling times, to enable you to take multiple shots in a short space of time. The LUMI400II offers a good consistent colour temperature of 5600 ± 200K, which is important to avoid any distortion of the skin tone and give consistent results for both before and after any procedure. For the best results, the flash sources should be set at approximately 45° to the subject for even coverage.


Modifier

60x90cm (23.6"x35.4") Rectangular 5cm Grid Softbox: Softboxes are designed to spread the light out evenly over a larger area to achieve ample coverage, and the double diffusers are used to soften shadows for more even lighting. The addition of the Honeycomb Grid further angles the light directly at the subject, whilst reducing any unwanted loss. We would recommend using atleast two softboxes and these being placed behind the photographer to soften the light and spreads it a bit more evenly.


Background

2x4m Dual Sided Grey and White Vinyl Backdrop and Telescopic Background Support: Medical photography backgrounds should be neutral white or grey to avoid any strange colour-casts caused by using a coloured background, and as these images aren’t being created to be displayed to the public and only for medical purposes, you wouldn’t want anything taking away attention from the subject. A benefit to this particular background is that both the background and the stand can have the size adjusted easily, ideal for putting away when not in use, to prevent any unwanted loss of space.


Stand

Both before and after images are taken in same standardised setting including position of the lighting and softbox to avoid any variation between the shots, therefore, most medical/clinical studios commonly have lights that permanent stay in one position. This can be achieved by using permanent features such as wall mounted brackets or marks on the floor, where the lighting should go, to ensure consistent results every time.

240cm Air Cushioned Studio Light Stand: If there isn’t the option for a permanent stand option, the 240cm Air Cushioned stand would be a useful option. It features a lightweight construction that can not only be moved and adjusted with ease, but also features a strong design to protect it during use. The design is unique as it features an air-cushioned system between the sections of the stand, to stop any accidental collapses of the stand and to protect your equipment further.

 

90° Right-Angle Baby-Pin Wall Plate: If there is a possibility for a permanent fixture for the lighting, then the 90° Right-Angle Wall Plate would be the perfect option. With a horizontal length of only 17.5cm, this strong and durable wall stand wouldn’t take up a large space, perfect for small and busy locations. It also features a universal 5/8” Baby Pin, which is the most common fitting currently available, so this would be compatible with a wide range of different lighting and equipment options, allowing for unique and specific personalised set-ups.



Example Set-Up

This image offers a visual idea of the best way to set up the equipment. This set-up features two LUMIII400 Units, placed on top of two 240cm Air Cushioned Light Stands. Each of these lights are angled at 45° to the subject and are placed just behind the photographer. Attached to the front of each light is a 60x90cm Softbox with the Honeycomb Grid attached to better angle the lighting and prevent any light loss. The subject is placed in front of the white background on the stand, for a clean and clear end shot.


Dental Photography

For Dental photography, whilst this would still fall under the category of Medical photography, would require a slightly different set of equipment as the subject will usually be seated or reclined in the dental chair during the shot. As this is the case, you would need to flexible and easy lighting unit that can be moved with ease around the space, and would require addition modifiers and accessories such as backgrounds or stands.

RIKO400 Portable Ring Flash: Dental Medical photography is commonly taken with a ring flash as this lighting unit can offer a lot of freedom due to its design and battery power. The ring flash is an important tool for photographing cavities, as the light from a ring-flash surrounds the lens itself, so the light is unobstructed. The light from another types of flashes that are positioned off-axis to the lens would be obscured, leaving important details unilluminated. Thus, ring flashes are useful for dental photography as ring flashes produce virtually shadowless lighting, with the flash tube attached to the front of the camera lens.

Conclusion

Medical Photography is a small yet detailed field of photography, and having the right equipment is vital to capture every necessary detail. Hopefully these product recommendations help to inform of what is perfect for this particular field of photography.