Photography in Dermatologic Surgery: Selection of an Appropriate Lighting Solution for a Particular Clinical Application

Brian R. Chen, Emily Poon Samuelson, Murad Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Lighting is an important component of consistent, high-quality dermatologic photography. There are different types of lighting solutions available.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate currently available lighting equipment and methods suitable for procedural dermatology.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Overhead lighting, built-in camera flashes, external flash units, studio strobes, and light-emitting diode (LED) light panels were evaluated with regard to their utility for dermatologic surgeons. A set of ideal lighting characteristics was used to examine the capabilities and limitations of each type of lighting solution. Recommendations regarding lighting solutions and optimal usage configurations were made in terms of the context of the clinical environment and the purpose of the image.

RESULTS: Overhead lighting may be a convenient option for general documentation. An on-camera lighting solution using a built-in camera flash or a camera-mounted external flash unit provides portability and consistent lighting with minimal training. An off-camera lighting solution with studio strobes, external flash units, or LED light panels provides versatility and even lighting with minimal shadows and glare.

CONCLUSION: The selection of an optimal lighting solution is contingent on practical considerations and the purpose of the image.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
JournalDermatologic surgery : official publication for American Society for Dermatologic Surgery [et al.]
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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