As some of you know I am adamant about taking hair transplant photos without flash. It completely skews the image away from reality.
While hair transplant photos are not the best to judge the final results, they are by far and above the preferred format in which most hair loss sufferers perform research into hair restoration. Not everyone can travel thousands of miles over the course of several months to meet dozens of hair replacement patients from various physicians. Yes, photos are here to stay and hair transplant video will eventually come on strong as well.
With that in mind I have been a crusader of sorts to encourage not only hair transplant clinics but patients as well to take the best photos that they can. Some of you may have read my posts where I say that flash photography literally doubles the perceived density in the hairline. But what about the top and the donor area? It actually can have the OPPOSITE effect. While I noticed this I wasn’t too sure as to why.
I recently wrote to a friend of mine who is a professional photographer. He hangs out of helicopters and all kinds of crazy stuff to get the perfect shot and has been published worldwide. He is also a hair transplant patient so he understands and agrees with my points regarding flash. Below is his description of why flash is bad.
“Hey Joe,Good to hear from you. I have limited time as I am working on some pretty tight deadlines on stuff, but wanted to give an answer to your question.When dealing with light, the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflectance. That is why you are correct that a flash on the hairline will have the opposite effect as it does when it hits the top of the balding scalp or donor area at 90 degrees. The hairline is at a slope so to speak where the head begins it’s curve back…so the light from the flash is hitting the hairline at say 60 degrees. Because of this the hair, if there is any, will cast shadows directly behind the hairline giving the illusion of more hair density. Remember that these shadows are falling away from the camera at an angle, unlike the way they do when you shoot the top of the head or donor at 90 degrees. In addition, when shooting the top and donor at 90 degrees, the flash will reflect off of the scalp because of it’s angle of incidence giving the illusion of less or more diffuse hair.”In summary, what he is saying is that while the use of flash may make the image look better overall it is doing everyone a disservice by not representing was is present in reality, or in the case of some hair restoration results, what is NOT present in reality.
I encourage all hair restoration clinics to stop using flash photography. It is misleading to the hair loss patients and can give a false sense of hope. When taking photos, do not use a flash in the before photo of the top or the back then use no flash in the after. The flash makes the image appear to show LESS hair in the before than what is really present thereby making the final result appear just that more impressive (hair density, coverage etc.).
Do not take before photos of the hairline WITHOUT flash and after photos WITH flash. While this may show the real story before surgery the photo will show literally DOUBLE what is present in reality in the final result.
Here is a hairline example. The pic on the left was taken without flash. The one on the right is the same hair replacement patient about ten seconds later with flash. The difference is obvious.
Both techniques have the same effect. More hair as a final result from surgery than what is present in reality.
The above goes for patients too that are documenting their progress. I know it’s hard to be 100% consistent. Our daily routines do not allow for this but the more you do to TRY and be consistent the better you’ll be serving those that are following your progress.
I know that this hair loss article will not eradicate the issue. Some will falter, some won’t care but if some of you learn from this and apply it to what you see in photos, perhaps it will give you a better sense of what is really going on and if some of you actually speak out about it then perhaps you can help to initiate change by getting hair transplant surgeons to pay better attention to their photos.
Technorati Tags: hair loss, hair transplant photos, hair restoration, hair replacement, hair transplant video, hair transplant clinic, balding, hair density, hair restoration clinics, hair transplant surgeon