How To Accurately Assess Cosmetic Treatment Before and After Photos

Cosmetic treatment before and after photos

How To Accurately Assess Cosmetic Treatment Before and After Photos

Skin clinic and permanent makeup clinic before and after photos are an invaluable resource for consumer education and for helping clients decide whether or not to proceed with a treatment.

What many people don’t realize is that before and after photos can be taken in ways that make treatment results appear better than they are in real life. This may be done intentionally or unintentionally with lighting, angle of shot, image size, clothing and photo editing.

What to Look for In Skin Clinic and PMU Before and After Photos

When browsing skin clinic or permanent makeup clinic photos, use the following guidelines to look for signs that the photos have been manipulated either through lighting, staging, or photo editing.


Before photos are sometimes slightly darker or lit from a higher angle than the after photo to accentuate eye bags, lines and wrinkles. After photos are well lit with the light source directly in front of the face to minimize the appearance of these qualities.

At Halcyon Cosmetic & Clinic we do our best to shoot photos using the same natural light source at the same angle in both the before and after photos. View permanent makeup before and after photos.

Permanent makeup before and after photo

Above: lip blush before and after photo. Notice that the size and angle of the photo are the same and the treatment area (lips) are approximately the same size in the frame.


The angle of the camera in relation to the subject can emphasize lines, wrinkles, photos and skin texture in before photos and minimize them in after photos. This is especially true of photos of the jaw and jowls. Jaw and jowl wrinkles and folds can be emphasized in before photos by having the client pull in their chin and minimized in after photos by jutting their chin forward. View The Art of Being Photographed article “Avoid a Double Chin in Photos: The Peach Technique” for a dramatic example of how head posture can minimize or maximize the appearance of a double chin.

Photos should be taken from the same angle, preferably at shallow angles, neither too high above nor too far below the area being photographed. The subject should hold their head in a relaxed, neutral position in the before and after photos. The angle of the camera and angle of the subject’s “pose” should be the same in the before and after photo.

Photo size

Sometimes before photos are taken from a closer distance to emphasize “imperfections” and slightly further away in the after photos to make the imperfections less visible.

Before and after photos should be the same size (width and height) and orientation (portrait or landscape). The size and position of the photo subject within the camera frame should be the same in before and after photos.

No Treatments Between Before and Photos

The client being photographed should have no other treatments in the time between the before and after photos are taken. This ensures that after photos show the results of a specified treatment only. Look for changes in cheek volume in the after photos, which could indicate the client had a dermal filler treatment prior to the after photo being taken.


If a results photo is taken too long after the before photo, a client may have gained weight in the interim. Weight gain often makes the face appear fuller and can minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The client should be approximately the same weight in the before and after photos.


If possible, the client should wear the same clothing in before and after photos, choosing neutral tones and solid colours, instead of vibrant colours and “busy” patterns. Patterned or vibrant clothing distracts the eye, and coloured clothing can reflect off of adjacent skin, obscuring the results. If the before and after photos are for body contouring, the same type of clothing and undergarments (e.g. tight vs. loose fitting) should be worn.

Photo editing

Does the skin look unrealistically smooth or evenly textured? Are edges of permanent makeup crisp? Are lips very shiny and perfectly even? Some PMU artists spend more time enhancing their work with concealer and foundation than they do on the actual work!

Book a Free Consultation at Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic

Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic has earned a reputation for providing quality skin aesthetics and medical aesthetics. If you have questions about any of our services, book a free consultation. Our clinic is located in Port Moody and convenient to Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

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