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  • Writer's pictureMollye Miller

Branding Photoshoot: A Doctor's Brave New World

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

When Dr. Sarah Zaheer first messaged me for a possible branding photoshoot for her Direct Primary Care (DPC)* practice in Columbia, Maryland, I was excited to learn more about her and what she wanted picture-wise. But first I needed to know: what is direct primary care?

Direct Primary Care is a bland name for a revolutionary approach to individualized health care. I can call it bland without offending my client because Sarah didn't make up that term. Basically DPC is 1:1 doctor to patient care. No red tape, no hospital politics, no sway of big pharma.

Sarah used to work in a group setting. She worked in hospitals around the country. But she felt something was missing and that was the relationship - the true, honest, candid, important doctor + patient relationship.

The DPC model follows the "country doctor" approach with technology in play, including texting, phone calls, zoom calls, in person and virtual visits. It's also, as Sarah put it, like a gym membership. When a client signs up for Oak Tree Primary Care, for instance, they have unlimited access to her via visits, texts, zoom calls, etc. during the month and you pay into it monthly or yearly.

Dr. Zaheer's practice, and others like hers, are all about eliminating noise and providing 100% attention to the patient and their needs. Less time clicking boxes on the computer, more time listening to the person in front of you asking for help or guidance; less time filling out prescriptions and more time and asking questions. Imagine your doctor setting time aside to get to know you and asking questions like:

What does good health mean to you?

What's good right now?

What concerns do you have?

How can I help you feel better in body and mind?

What kind of health do you strive for?

Once I understood Dr. Zaheer's mission and her desired impact, I knew what kind of shots I wanted to get for her to use on her social media and website. I wanted welcoming, fresh, friendly, knowledgeable; I wanted energized, concentrated. I wanted light-filled and clean; educated and invigorated.

Dr. Z and I chatted about what portraits and other photos we thought worked well for other practices, which didn't (and why), and what she wanted my photos to communicate to potential clients.

After researching more DPC practices in her area and elsewhere, and reviewing my notes with Sarah, I felt ready for the shoot. On the morning of the session, I packed my car with gear (and snacks), loaded my cupholders with coffee mugs and water bottles, and drove my little white gumdrop VW golf to Columbia, MD. (It's a further drive than I usually take, but the shoot was worth the extra mileage. And it kinda felt like a day trip #cheapthrills.)

I'll say that Sarah made the shoot a breeze because she has a gorgeous office. Lots of light, views of trees, Scandinavian design, and also all the working parts of a doctor's office like a blood-draw station, exam room and a calming, snazzy couch. But her couch is not for waiting awkwardly in a doctor's office ring of hell; instead, it's where she chats with patients.

What do you think of this kind of practice? Of these photos? I always learn from each session and client. It's incredible how many wonderful people I get to meet as a photographer and the fascinating good work people do.

Please ask me about scheduling your biz branding session to grow your business with impactful pictures. They're a lot of fun and I accomplish a ton in a brief, two-hour shoot. Now Sarah has a whole gallery (over 100 hi-res, ready to post and share pictures) she can download and have and use as long as she wishes.

Note: We also asked for models in her office suite to participate in her shoot. I just made sure to keep their identities hidden and the masks helped me do that pretty easily, too. Ask me about integrating models in your photoshoot.

* Check here for an official definition of DPC.

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