When I train students, mentoring people on establishing their business or helping a colleague with their marketing I refer to before and afters as white noise… our screens are full of them, I often compare it to the word ‘mum’ on a Sunday.. I hear it a million times, I’m aware it’s being bellowed at me at twenty minute intervals over a ten hour span but I don’t always ‘listen’, it doesn’t always make me ‘look!’ ..
Now that’s a bold statement – I get it! Usually I get a weird look of, she doesn’t know what she is talking about but hear me out! What is the purpose of a before and after.. let’s dig deeper.. it shows – or it’s meant to show- skill, it shows capability and it’s meant to be a glorified advertisement that screams, ‘check me out I am amazing!’ But… does it?
Most of the time people don’t ‘notice them’ as we are surrounded by the same image from every angle.. It’s also obvious that some of the transformations we see advertised are photoshopped or angled to massively exaggerate the success of a treatment thus leading to unrealistic expectations and further disappointment..
We know the world now is very animation led and I know if I pop a video up of me drinking coffee it has more chance of going viral than any aesthetic masterpiece I could conjure up! Crazy times..
Every action needs to have a purpose.. don’t feel you ‘have ‘ to fill your feed with before and afters.. the same way you don’t ‘have’ to spend it dancing around doing reels.. remember people buy people, so whatever way you can show people who you are, what your ethics are, and what kind of injector you are needs to have that authentic undertone.. it needs to be you.. doing you…
It wasn’t really until I was deep in the world of aesthetics that I realised the importance of before and afters. In a world obsessed with selfies and mirrors, every injection we perform is scrutinised thoroughly afterwards. We have all had those post procedure messages ‘I know you did my lips but I’m sure my right eye is now smaller’ or ‘I’m sure I didn’t have this line before you did my Botox’. Our first thought as a practitioner; let me get the before images up so I can take a look! Those before & after images prove useful time and time again! An easy and factual tool to show our starting canvas, what we as practitioners have altered and what we have left unchanged. As a practitioner I believe, before and after images provide a small amount of reassurance, especially if you were to have a dreaded complaint. They can help resolve an issue in its tracks when discussing pre and post treatment results!
However, I want this blog to look at B&A images in a positive light! They allow us to showcase our subtle tweaks proudly to our patients and the social media world. There is huge satisfaction in selecting two images taken 12 months apart and admiring your skill and patient’s journey. Being able to show a patient how their skin is now visibly healthier, the lines that were once marked in their skin now vanished or much softer. It’s one of the most beautiful moments in aesthetics, to witness a patient’s pure joy or emotion when you pass them the mirror post treatment. Our before and after images let us relive those moments all over again whilst reflecting on our treatment plan. Who knew a simple photograph could hold so many different roles? Assessment, treatment planning, insurance, advertisement and a source of joy! I truly believe our before and after images are just as important as our treatment notes, they are a tool to be utilised by practitioners to enhance our practice and patient experience. I know in my practice, B&A images are an integral part of the treatment process and are often used throughout our patients treatment plan!
Put yourself in the clinic with me for a second. You did a full face of toxin and fillers on your client two weeks ago. You are just waiting for them to come in for their review. They sit down in front of you and you just think ‘OMG they look amazing.’ You ask them how they are feeling about themselves and they reply ‘well I can’t really tell the difference.’ Mic drop. Jaws on the floor. SAY WHAT?!. Now I can’t be alone in this? I know I’m not. This is the perfect example of ‘CALL IN THE BEFORE AND AFTERS’ . As soon as I open my iPad camera roll, my client sees in front of their eyes the true difference a few skilfully placed mls and a light sprinkle of toxin can make. In this case, I LOVE before and afters. However, they have their place. Now come back with me into my clinic…in walks a lady who has dreamed of getting her lips done, she’s been following my Instagram for years and wants lips like the ones I did from July 2021…hmm what? This is where I HATE before and afters. Yes they show skill, I love me a before and after reel! Faces in motion! To die for! But I cannot make you look like my client with completely different lip tissue and volume to you, it just isn’t possible. I find when I say this people feel disheartened as to why that can’t happen. Before and after images are key and play a legal role in our industry but sometimes through social media can lead to pressures people place on themselves to look like that image and feel disappointed when they don’t look that way. It’s key for us as practitioners to manage the images we release to keep them as realistic as possible and help people manage their expectations of what aesthetics can achieve.