Physical therapy is about people – their goals, their journeys toward better movement, and those who helped get them there. These are stories we cherish as a profession, and they go a long way toward educating communities about the power of physical therapy.
But without photos, worthwhile news about patients and the physical therapists who help them seem incomplete. Impersonal. Less impactful.
People are visual beings, and good photos help with memory retention. From an online perspective, photos of extraordinary clients, members of your PT staff, etc., also help ensure your content gets read.
A good photo, in other words, can give your web, email and social media content a notable boost.
But before you run out and hire yourself a photographer to take professional-quality pics of your staff and patients of the month, consider this: most of us have all the tools we need in our pockets, purses or quietly charging on our desks.
Our smartphones will do the job. And with a little know-how, our smartphones have the capacity to take photos of outstanding quality.
The following tips will net you photos you wouldn’t hesitate to post on Facebook, your “PT Team” page, or share with your local newspaper for print:
1. Turn On Your Grid
Grid lines help keep your subject centered and your photo level. And if you’re taking multiple photos of different people, they help ensure consistency in how you frame your subjects. Grid lines are typically activated in your camera settings.
2. Shoot in HDR Mode
Meaning “High Dynamic Range,” the HDR mode of your smartphone’s camera is a nifty yet powerful feature that balances out the lighting and color of your image by actually taking three photos at once, then merging them as one on the fly. Turn on HDR in your camera’s viewfinder.
3. Fill Your Frame
Don’t be shy. Get nice and close to the person – at least close enough to fill your frame with the head and torso of your subject, with just a little space above the head. Too far away, and you’ll lose quality by forcing the need to crop. Oh, and hands off the zoom!
4. Go to the Light
Great lighting is your friend. A well-lit area (an area with lots of natural light, preferably) will help ensure your colors are vibrant and your photos sharp. Don’t rely on your flash for this. You’ll be better off finding another place (or time) where the lighting’s better.
5. …But Avoid Back Lighting
Putting your subject in front of a bright light source, such as an office window in the daytime, is a no-no. Cameras just aren’t equipped to deal with the crazy contrast between the bright background and a subject veiled in shadow.
6. … And Background Noise
“Noise” is anything in the background that may draw attention from tour subject. An office plant, photos and imagery on the wall, patterns and textures … even bold colors are types of noise you’ll want to avoid.
7. Focus on the Face
When your subject’s framed and you’re ready to take the pics, tap the screen on the subject’s face to direct the camera’s focus.
8. Have a Conversation
Make conversation with the subject(s) while you photograph them. Laughs and candid looks are better than cheesy, nervous smiles.
9. Take Multiple Shots
Don’t limit your options. Take at least five snaps of the same subject before moving on to your next shot. Pick the best one, and discard the rest.