RxPhoto and New Generation iPhones: The Future of Patient Photography Is Here

The future of patient photography is here. Never before have iPhones, or iPads for that matter, boasted features that render their quality comparable to DSLR cameras.

While Apple’s shift to incorporating two lenses was a bold move (take a look at iPhone11), the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max blow this feature out of the water with three lenses. Two lenses are good, but three are better.

As iPhones and their photographic capabilities have evolved, so too has RxPhoto. We’ve capitalized on this improved photographic technology, utilizing it to its maximum and further enhancing it with software.

The RxPhoto app enables those working in the medical and aesthetic spaces to fully exploit the capability of the newest generation of iPhone cameras so you have unparalleled quality in your patient before and after galleries. And as every savvy clinician knows, striking before and after galleries convert prospects, allow your team members to cross-sell more effectively, and showcase your clinic’s offerings.

Harnessing the power of more lenses for improved patient photography

Dual lens cameras first appeared in iOS devices in 2016. While existing iPhones and iPads were already equipped with a standard wide angle 12 megapixel lens, the inclusion of a telephoto lens signaled an advance for those in the aesthetics industry who use their iPhones to photograph patients. For those unfamiliar with photographic terminology, a telephoto lens is a long-focus lens with extended reach, allowing you to photograph a subject that is far away by magnifying the subject in the frame.

For starters, two lenses allow close-ups and zoom without compromising image quality. These two lenses enable you to capture patient close-ups more effectively. Second, the addition of a second lens improved portrait photography (the likes of which is commonly used in aesthetics) to the next level.

In 2019, the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max added a third lens to the mix. In addition to the 12 MP wide angle and telephoto lens, an ultra-wide angle lens was also built into the phone. What did this addition mean for those working with patient photography? This third lens exaggerates the size of foreground objects relative to their background, highlighting the subject. RxPhoto has used the ultra-wide lens to add an additional 0.5x zoom mood, helping users to further utilize the ultra-wide angle view.

Lastly, the Pro model has 10x digital zoom, compared with the iPhone 11 which has 5x digital zoom. While digital zoom is great, it’s essentially achieved by cropping and enlarging the image, and can result in some pixelation. Optical zoom, on the other hand, is the real deal. The iPhone 11 Pro boasts optical zoom too: 2x zoom, in, and 2x zoom out. That extra optical zoom capability allows you to get closer to your subject while maintaining quality. For photographing patients in medical or aesthetic contexts, high-quality optical zoom matters, because the devil is in the details.

Essentially, dual and triple lens Apple phones and iPads elevate digital photography to more closely approximate DSLR cameras– so much so, that its almost hard to believe the photos were taken with a smartphone. The difference between DSLR cameras and new generation iPhones is ever narrowing, so even expert photographers are wowed by the photographic capabilities. Take a look at this video comparing images shot by each.

But it’s critical to remember that more lenses doesn’t automatically mean better, or more consistent photos. You need a purpose-built medical photography program to fully harness the benefits of Apple’s capability.

So what happens when you team enhanced iOS photographic capability with RxPhoto software?

As iPhones have evolved, so too has RxPhoto. RxPhoto develops in accordance with Apple iOS code. This means that we integrate the full extent of Apple photographic capabilities into our software and enhance these capabilities specifically for medical photography.

Our iOS experts know exactly how to capture the benefits of each advance in Apple technology and translate them into exceptional patient photos. We’ve determined how to best exploit Apple technology for easy-to-use, striking, medical patient photography.

According to Tony, RxPhoto’s lead iOS developer, RxPhoto offers a marked edge over competitors. “RxPhoto provides you with the best clinical photography experience in all aspects. It’s high quality, easy to use, ordered, and secure.”

Here are Tony’s pick of RxPhoto’s top seven features:

  • The best photo possible, every time.

Apple has a framework that assists with taking the best possible photo, regardless of the number of lenses. “We use the Apple Camera Framework to optimize the use of all available lenses, so you get the best picture possible,” says Tony. Simple.

  • A fine-grain level of detail

Apple phones with two or three lenses also boast a unique framework which allows for precise photograph segmentation by separating the foreground from the background with high resolution. It separates the individual in the foreground from whatever is in the background with both detail and clarity.

RxPhoto utilizes this framework to standardize facial photo background. According to Tony, it’s an invaluable tool for medical and aesthetic photography. “This feature can divide a person from their background precisely, and replace the background with some still image, such as a fully blue background.”

With this tool, the depth effect is rendered easier to preserve in high resolution, achieving a fine-grain level of detail. Where would you notice the difference in your clinical photographs? In capturing elements such as hair, eyelashes, or fine facial lines.

  • Using Apple’s machine-learning tool

Apple additionally offers a machine-learning tool that takes an image from a camera or photo and processes it. RxPhoto utilizes this for several tools that we will release in the future, including:

1. Background removal for devices that don’t have 2 or 3 lenses. We utilize this machine-learning tool to segment photos and remove the background.

2. Standardizing before and after photos. Using this tool, we can detect specific face areas and guide RxPhoto users to perfect their photos.

  • RxPhoto on-screen photo guides to improve photo accuracy and quality

The patented RxPhoto on-screen guide system supports our users to take professional photos of their clients. Consistency is key when capturing clients undergoing treatments where improvements may incur gradually over multiple sessions. Displaying two photos side-by-side is a much more effective way of showing a 50 percent improvement than telling the patient they have a 50 percent improvement.

“RxPhoto software offers illustrated guides to help the user align with various parts of the anatomy,” says Tony. The software makes use of Apple’s accelerometer to remind you whether you’re holding the camera straight. Even the least trained staff member can capture great shots with our guiding system.

Most impressively, RxPhoto also provides users with a patented “ghosting” feature which dramatically improves photo consistency. It allows the photographer to overlay a previous image onto the viewing screen, so that the new image is lined up perfectly, producing a photo that clearly displays a patient’s progress. The previous photo functions as a guide when taking a new photo.

  • RxPhoto offers manual camera adjustments for users that want to get even more from their photos

RxPhoto has adjustable camera settings that allow the user to capture the perfect image. RxPhoto utilizes the Apple framework to adjust exposure and white balance parameters inside the viewfinder, so that users can create perfect settings for their room/area by adjusting the white balance and the exposure. While the iOS camera app can adjust exposure, it cannot adjust white balance. With RxPhoto, you can adjust both.

The ability to manually manipulate these settings is critical because it enables uniform lighting between before and after photos. For example, if lighting is inconsistent in a before image compared to an after image, the provider can use RxPhoto’s patented photo ghosting to match the lighting of the previous image to the lighting of the new image, using the white balance & exposure toggles.

  • RxPhoto allows you to strategically order and categorize your photographs

One of RxPhoto’s most useful organizational features enables you to order photos based on your specifications: be it body area, procedure, age group, or gender. When you can custom-organize your before and after galleries, the applications are numerous.

For example, photo galleries based on certain patient demographics can be pulled up in mere seconds, converting prospects in the consultation room by illustrating outcomes and showing them the kinds of results they can expect.

  • RxPhoto ensures patient photos are fully secure and compliant

Security and privacy is a fundamental consideration for those working within the aesthetic and medical industries. The HIPAA Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect certain health information. The Security Rule establishes a national set of security standards for protecting specific health information that is held or transferred in electronic form, such as photographs. RxPhoto offers a HIPAA-compliant cloud service to protect patient photos and privacy.

Not yet using RxPhoto? Here’s why you need it:

If you aren’t yet using RxPhoto, you’re not fully exploiting the photographic capacity of your iPhone for the benefit of your clinic. Great photos convert consultations into clients. A stunning before and after series can convince a patient to sign up for a treatment that’s potentially worth thousands of dollars, or even lifetime value if you keep them satisfied and coming back. Exceptional photos also showcase your clinic’s talents and your best results: the procedures in which your staff really shine and stand out from the competition.

And medical photography software isn’t all we do. With RxPhoto, you can go completely paperless by using our digital intake form and charting templates. If you’re interested in learning more, keep an eye out for our upcoming article on how we can help you make the move to a paperless clinic.

RxPhoto’s fully-loaded suite of clinical photography tools also allow providers to produce better images, streamline numerous activities, improve on patient care, increase patient education, and save on administrative costs. As we move into this new decade, RxPhoto is poised to reinvent medical photography, photo management, and provider and patient services as you know it. Watch this space.

Are you struggling to take high-quality and consistent before and after photos?

Check out our whitepaper on

Mastering Clinical Photography

Scott Alten
Managing Partner – RxPhoto

Medical Photography Equipment - are you paying too much?

How much should you spend on medical photography equipment?Without a doubt, your office needs to take photos of your patients on a daily basis. Whether you’re building a before and…

4 ways to Improve Your Patient Experience in the Waiting Room

Ever wonder why you call your clients “patients”? Turns out, the etymology of the word stems from a Latin word that means “enduring, or suffering, without complaint”. And this quiet…

Keep Your MedSpa HIPAA Compliant With These 5 Tips On Managing Patient Photos

Before and after photos, as well as photos used to document patient procedures are considered PHI (Protected Health Information) by HIPAA, regardless of whether or not clients are using health…