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March 2011February 21, 2011

Tips for Taking Publishable Photographs

Arch Dermatol. 2011;147(3):320. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2010.427

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:

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

  • 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.