How to Take Pictures of Your Skin for Your Healthcare Provider

This information will help you take pictures of your skin, wound, mole, or incision (surgical cut) to show your healthcare provider.

Sending clear pictures will help your healthcare provider see how you’re healing or if there are any problems with the area. You may need to have someone help you take these pictures. 

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Take Pictures from 3 Different Views

Take your pictures from 3 different views to help your healthcare provider see and understand the size of the area.

Picture 1

Figure 1. Examples of pictures from 4 feet away

Figure 1. Examples of pictures from 4 feet away

For the first picture, set up your camera or have someone hold the camera around 4 feet (1.2 meters) away from your body. Your healthcare provider should be able to see the entire body part you’re taking a picture of.

Here are examples of what this picture may look like depending on the body part (see Figure 1).

For example, if you want to show your healthcare provider a rash on your forearm, take a picture of your entire upper body (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Picture of upper body from 4 feet away

Figure 2. Picture of upper body from 4 feet away

Picture 2

For this picture, set up your camera or have someone hold the camera around 2 feet (.6 meters) away from your body. Your healthcare provider should be able to see the body part that you’re taking a picture of but a little closer. For example, if the rash is on your forearm, your picture should show your forearm and wrist (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Picture of upper body from 2 feet away

Figure 3. Picture of upper body from 2 feet away

Picture 3

For your last picture, set up your camera or have someone hold the camera around 1.5 feet (.5 meters) away from your body. This picture should be as close as possible to the area while staying in focus so your healthcare provider can see the texture of the area (see Figure 4). If you’re taking your pictures with a touch-screen phone, it may be helpful to tap the screen to make the camera focus.

Figure 4. Picture of upper body from 1.5 feet away

Figure 4. Picture of upper body from 1.5 feet away

When you’re done, you should have pictures from 3 different views to send to your healthcare provider (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Pictures of 3 different views

Figure 5. Pictures of 3 different views

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Send Your Pictures Using MyMSK

You can send your pictures to your healthcare provider using MyMSK (MSK’s patient portal). To do this, follow the steps in this section.

  1. Save your pictures to your computer. One way to do this is to email the pictures to yourself, open the email, and save the pictures.
  2. Log onto your MyMSK account.
  3. From your homepage, click on “Messages.” Then click on “Compose Message.”
  4. From the Compose a Message page, click on “General Office Communication.”
  5. Type in the name of your healthcare provider and choose a subject.
  6. In the text box, write a message to your healthcare provider.
  7. To attach your pictures, click on “Add attachments” underneath the text box. Open the folder where your picture is saved and click on your picture. Then click the “Open” button. Repeat this step for each of your pictures.
  8. When your message is ready, click the “Send Message” button.
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Tips for Taking Pictures

The tips in this section will help you take better pictures to share with your healthcare provider.

Set up the background

  • Find a place to take the picture where there will be no clutter in the background.
  • A solid-color background will help your camera focus so your pictures are clear.
    • If you don’t have solid-color background, you can hang up a solid-color bed sheet or cloth and stand in front of it.

Plan the lighting

  • Set up the tripod or camera stand, if you’re using one.
  • Turn on the flash on your camera. The flash will give you the light you need.
  • Make sure light is shining directly on the area you’re taking a picture of. If something is in the way of the light, it can cause shadows in the picture.
  • Make sure that you, or the person helping you, can hold the camera so that it doesn’t cast a shadow on the area you’re taking a picture of.
  • If your healthcare provider asked you to measure the area, place a tape measure or ruler near the area you’re taking a picture of. Don’t let the tape measure touch your the are you’re taking a picture of, especially if it’s an open wound or incision (surgical cut).

Take the picture

  • Hold the camera flat and pointed directly at the area you’re taking a picture of.
  • Hold the camera still while taking the picture.
  • If you’re using your phone, look at the area you’re taking a picture of on the screen. Tap the screen to make your camera focus.
  • When you’re ready, take the pictures. Remember to take all the views your healthcare provider asked for.
  • Check each picture to make sure they’re clear. If any of your pictures look blurry or don’t show the right area, take that picture again. Don’t try to edit the picture.
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Your feedback will help us improve the information we provide to patients and caregivers. We read every comment, but we’re not able to respond. If you have questions about your care, contact your healthcare provider.
 

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