Dermatology Advice and Guidance with a Photo

Why have I been referred to the Dermatology Advice and Guidance with a photo service?

GPs diagnose and treat some skin problems themselves. However on occasion they may wish to refer your skin problem to benefit from a skin specialist (consultant) opinion. This service utilises modern technology to obtain a rapid diagnosis and treatment plan for your skin problem without you having to attend a hospital. 

What does Dermatology Advice and Guidance with a photo mean?

Dermatology Advice and Guidance with a photo involves using a camera to take high quality digital pictures of your skin.

These images are then sent electronically, with further information contained in the referral letter, to a skin specialist (Dermatology Consultant). The Dermatology consultant will diagnose your skin problem and provide recommendations on any treatment required. This service enables you to be seen quicker and at a place closer to your home. 

What happens?

Your GP will determine from the consultation if a specialist dermatology opinion is required. Photos will then be relayed (using a secure information system) to a specialist skin consultant.

The consultant will then make a diagnosis and send this to your GP within five working days outlining a recommendation to:

  • Make clear if the condition needs to be treated
  • How the condition should be treated
  • What kind of medications can be used 

If your condition requires face to face assessment or you do not wish to have your photo taken, your GP will refer you to the hospital outpatient service. You will be provided with details to book the hospital appointment. 

Your GP will continue to manage your skin problem using the advice received from the consultant and can seek further advice from the consultant if it is needed.

If the consultant feels your condition is urgent, he/she will refer you directly to a hospital of your choice. It is important to note that at any point along this pathway, if your condition is suspected to be urgent or a possible cancer, you will be referred as using through the urgent cancer referral pathway (2 week cancer pathway) 

Instructions to take photos

Camera set-up

  • Use an ‘automatic setting’ on camera
  • Images must be in focus and taken in natural light wherever possible
  • Image resolution should not be greater than 3 megapixels and the file size less than 1Mb. 
  • Select a ‘small’ or ‘medium’ file size if emailing photos from your smart phone into your GP practice  
Taking high quality images:
  • Take a long shot to show the extent and close-up image (macro focus) to show detail.
  • Lesions should have a ruler next to them to show size if possible.
  • If there are several lesions on a patients back for example, take a long shot of the whole back, and then close up shots of the suspicious lesions. If you work from head to foot, and right to left with the camera, it will make it easier to remember which lesion was which.
  • Blurred images will not accepted.
  • With any transfer over the internet, there is a potential risk relating to the delay of care and transfer of patient identifiable information. Contact your GP practice if you feel there is a delay. 

Ensure that the photo shows the detail of the area involved with the surrounding normal skin. 


Where possible, use a ruler or a coin to show perspective:


With the scalp, take a photo of the head and also a close up of the area involved:



For more tips on how to take clear, high quality photos of your skin condition, please refer to the Photo taking guide which can be found in the download section.