Arguably, no other area in medicine is as visually oriented as facial plastic surgery. The propagation and acceptance of new techniques as well as the evolution of our specialty are profoundly reliant on high-quality, standardized patient photography. While we are constantly trying to develop improved research methods to objectively analyze surgical outcomes, it is pre- and postoperative photography that often serves as the objective measure of efficacy in our peer-reviewed publications. Images are also used for educational presentations, practice promotion, and most importantly, a surgeon’s critical self-assessment.
While most of these situations demand professional-quality photographs, the average facial plastic surgeon is often a novice photographer, and in many cases self-taught. In this issue of Facial Plastic Surgery Clinics , it is our goal to succinctly convey contemporary photography fundamentals that will improve the quality of the images obtained by practicing facial plastic surgeons. Many of the most basic photographic principles have changed very little since they were summarized by Eugene Tardy almost 20 years ago in his “Principles of Photography in Facial Plastic Surgery.” However, the widespread adoption of digital photography as the gold standard for photo documentation over the past decade has permanently altered the landscape, dramatically increased image portability, and also has created new challenges. The authors in this issue offer their insight into how the facial plastic surgeon can use the latest technology to obtain consistent and high quality images. They also provide strategies and step-by-step guidance for image manipulation (morphing), efficient image handling, and examine some of the future imaging technologies.