Photo-taking guide: moles & skin spots

When sending photos of your moles or skin spots to your doctor, capturing good photos is really important and makes a significant difference to your doctor’s ability to assess things.

Please familiarise yourself with these tips to capturing great skin images.

You, and your doctor, will thank you for it!


  • Select your device which takes the best quality images – your standalone camera or modern smart phone or tablet.
  • If using a smart phone or tablet, use the rear camera (not the front “selfie” camera). The rear camera takes higher quality images.
  • Ask someone to take the photos for you, where possible.
  • If your device has a ‘self-timer’ or ‘delay photo capture’ feature, this can be useful to use so that you can concentrate on holding the device as still as possible at the time the photo is taken.
  • Good lighting is important so please make sure that you are in a well-lit room or area (ideally evenly-lit and not in direct sunlight, which will create glare). A plain background helps ensure the camera focuses on your skin and not something in the background.
  • Optional: Circle the mole or spot you are concerned about with a pen, if you have others nearby.


  • Keep the camera, phone or tablet lens parallel to your skin (and not at an angle).
  • Position the skin spot in the centre of the screen.
  • Ensure that there are no shadows in the image and that the light is even across the area of skin.
  • Hold the device steady and take several photos.
  • Ensure the camera is focussed on the particular mole/spot. Some devices allow you to tap the screen in the camera preview to ensure the camera is focussed on a particular area.
  • Take some photos from around 50 cm away (so that the doctor can see the surrounding area).
  • Then take a range of closer shots, while staying in focus. Sometimes it maybe be easier to stay 30 cm away and use a little camera zoom than to try and get too close. See what works best for you and your device.
  • If your camera or device has a “macro” photo setting, you might try using that to capture a close-up photo.
  • Take a number of photos for review.


  • Review the photos and select the best ones, having checked for clarity and focus.
  • Include one photo from around 50cm away.
  • Include your best other closer photos.
  • Keep the largest file size you can and do not reduce or shrink the file.


For a further-enhanced skin imaging solution, you can purchase online a Firstcheck SkinScope which attaches over your smartphone camera and enables the capture of highly-magnified skin images – and also acts to reduce the light reflection from the skin enabling subsurface charateristics to be seen that are not visible by the naked eye or with magnification alone. It makes a great addition to the home medical kit and for only $29.95 – delivered to your door – every home should have one. Check it out at