Clinical photographers work closely with doctors and other health care professionals. They produce photographs, videos and other graphical images for use in patient care, medical education and research. They are sometimes known as medical illustrators or medical photographers.
You could be:
in the ward, using a digital camera to take photographs of a patient's condition to help doctors diagnose treatment
taking a series of photographs of a patient's progress after treatment over a period of time
in the operating theatre, recording surgical procedures during an operation using a video or digital camera
taking photographs of non-accidental injuries (forensics) or recording post-mortem examinations in the mortuary
using specialist equipment and techniques, for example 3-dimensional imaging, to record the structures of body parts such as the eye (ophthalmic imaging)
using graphics or video editing software to produce presentation slides and animations for teaching and educational material
making videos to show problems with patients’ mobility or to demonstrate surgical techniques
creating posters or leaflets for patient health information using graphic design software
keeping up to date with new technology and trends.
Clinical photographers who work in the NHS are called healthcare scientists, and are on the Agenda for Change salary scales. They generally start on Band 5, £24,670 to £30,742 a year. With experience this rises to Band 6, £30,401 to £38,046 a year. The current pay scales are from April 2019.
You work mostly in hospital wards, operating theatres and clinics and in labs, offices or a studio.
Working in a clinical setting you would have to wear protective clothing and follow strict hygiene rules.
You would work around 37 hours a week Monday to Friday, with possible overtime and on call time.
You normally work as part of a team, working closely with doctors, nurses and scientists or other healthcare professionals.
You may sometimes work with patients who have distressing conditions or be faced with upsetting situations.
You might have to carry around heavy photographic and lighting equipment between different departments in the hospital.
You first need to study for a degree in photography and then apply for a trainee post.
Entry requirements for a degree course in photography usually require 4 Highers plus National 5 English, or a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Photography. Check individual institutions for entry requirements.
For some posts you might need a driving licence, to travel between hospitals.
As well as the NHS, you might also find jobs with publishing companies of medical textbooks or DVDs, or the departments of medical illustration in medical schools.