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Mar 2012

Tips for Taking Publishable Photographs

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(3):315. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2012.207

In a very visual specialty, great medical photographs can enhance the understanding of any dermatologic manuscript. To ensure that your photographs meet minimal standards for publication in the Archives of Dermatology, please keep the following tips in mind.

Technical considerations:

  • Set your camera to 3 megapixels or greater. If you plan to crop extensively, an even higher resolution is desirable. If using.JPG file type, use the highest quality.JPG setting.1

  • When sending a photograph to a journal, send the original or cropped image file (with.JPG or.TIF extension). Do not send an image pasted into a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Powerpoint document.1

Legal considerations:

  • Obtain proper written consent to publish the image if there is any identifiable patient information in the picture. If in doubt, obtain consent. Consent forms are available at http://www.archdermatol.com.1

  • Use of black bars over the eyes of a patient is not acceptable to mask the identity of a patient.2

Quality considerations1:

  • Use a solid colored background to eliminate background distracters.

  • When submitting before and after images, maintain consistency of lighting, background, framing, patient positioning, and elimination of distracters to the extent possible. This lends credibility to the images and makes it easy for readers to focus on the subject of the image.1

  • When you photograph the image, frame the subject to crop out unnecessary distracting features to keep readers focused on the subject.

Bhatia AC. The clinical image: archiving clinical processes and an entire specialty.  Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(1):96-98PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Iverson C, Flanagin A, Fontanarosa PB,  et al.  American Medical Association Manual of Style. 9th ed. Baltimore, Md: Williams & Wilkins; 1998:141-142