If you’ve got a website, the chances are you’ve had that annoying moment where you’ve been asked for images and you haven’t got any…or at least any good ones.
In this complementary article to the How To Tell Powerful Visual Stories Through Photos podcast with expert photographer John D’Mato, we share some of the key lessons about why good photography is important and how it can be achieved specifically for private practice owners.
(FYI – this article is deliberately straight talking and no holds barred, as we give you the facts without the fluff)
Terrible Photo Game
In the world of hearing care, the imagery is, let’s just say, pretty cliché.
Stock imagery of elderly couples at the beach holding hands or laughing as their hearing aids are placed into their ears…it’s not good and it’s certainly not real.
So yes, the photo game is terrible.
And it’s important to change this, because if the purpose of good imagery is to create a sense of trust and integrity between you and your patient (and bad imagery actively works against this), then surely you’ll be willing to take the steps needed to achieve it…
But, instead of going into why this industry has traditionally failed at creating engaging images, let’s first look at the four massive DON’Ts and suggest ways to make them right.
4 Massive DON’Ts Of Private Practice Photography And What To Do about It
- Using stock photos. Stock photos are for people who don’t have an imagination (remember the “no holds barred” thing?). Whether paid for, or worse, swiped directly from Google (which is illegal by the way), if you use a stock photo on your website, social media, or marketing collateral, you are instantly telling people that you’re not unique and totally replicable. Instead, you can take some genuine photos either on your phone or via a photographer.
- Fake smiles. Fake smiling in photos, or worse, fake laughter, is instantly recognizable, so don’t assume you’re fooling anyone. The classic in this industry is the elderly person smiling/laughing while having their hearing aid fitted. Now, although we don’t want to convey someone looking uncomfortable, the truth is this is not usually a “smiley” moment, so you’re much better off showing a more zoomed image of the side of the head and the hearing aid and omitting the face altogether.
- Forced staging. We’ve all seen the images of someone at their desk pretending to type on their laptop while looking up to the camera, which suggests that this type of shot is overused and cliché. If you’re keen to show images of your office, try to show an alternative angle, either at the side of your desk or perched in front of it. Forced staging is exactly that – it’s forced and it’s staged, therefore it’s not real, therefore it’s a lie.
- No “on location” shots. So many private practices fail to include images of their actual practice’s exterior and interior, which, when you think about how much emphasis is put on showing fake pictures, seems rather bizarre. How can you create a feeling of trust and a sense of welcome if you deny your patients a chance to get a feel of your practice before they’ve walked through the door?
“Come with Me” Photography
It’s fair to say a lot of portrait imagery is created for “look at me” purposes. For vanity. Although this isn’t necessarily a hearing care industry thing, it’s certainly a widespread thing that exists. But, what if people were more concerned about creating “come with me” images instead?
Specifically speaking, “come with me” images are shots that invite the viewer into your world, that create a feeling and show the reality of the situation.
For your hearing care practice, “come with me” shots might include images of:
- The outside of your building and the parking lot
- The entrance and the hallway
- The reception area along with the friendly wave of the receptionist
- The individual offices with the doctors in situ with the patients
- The staff room
- The place where the hearing aids are kept
- Even the storage or equipment cupboard
A Word From Professional Photographer John D’Mato
You don’t need to invest heavily into photography to get some good imagery — your iPhone is perfectly capable of capturing some candid shots — but you do need to invest some time into thinking how your imagery is currently being seen and what impression this is giving to potential patients.
“The one thing that I always say to my clients is that a photo is never going to inspire someone to sign on the dotted line, but it’s going to inspire them to pick up the pen.”
That said, if you consider good photography to be important, then it’s worth considering hiring a photographer who understands what shots you need to convey the message you’re trying to send.
“One of the reasons why a professional photographer that specializes in lifestyle photography for businesses is important is because they have the fundamental understanding that they are not just a button pusher, they’re not a camera-monkey commodity, they’re a marketer, they’re a visual storytelling creative director.”
But, before you invest, pick up your phone and try it yourself – you might just be surprised at how snap happy you are.