Everyone needs a professional portrait photo

Everyone needs a professional portrait photo

Designated Medical recognises the importance of a professional portrait photo and highly recommends Vicki Sharp Photography who has done many of the portrait photos for the Designated Medical team.

Portrait Photo

Vicki set up Vicki Sharp Photography in 2008 after a successful & varied career in Film & TV.    She had been involved in Special Effects, Film & TV Production (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory & Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp & Tim Burton to name but 2!) and as head of Ealing Film Studios for 2.5 years.

Setting up a business in such a competitive market was daunting at first.   Furthermore, with everyone having a pretty good camera in their pockets you’ve got to really make your product worth paying for.

As Vicki says “in the business of photography an excellent knowledge of photographic skills – both shooting and editing – is a given.   There are a lot of us out there who are very proficient photographers. What sets us apart are the people skills and how we make you, the client, look and feel both during the shoot.   The final product, which is so personal to you, may be displayed on your wall or on the front page of your website for years to come, so it better be good!”

Make everyone feel their best.

For many people, just the thought of being photographed is a nerve-racking, uncomfortable experience.  We are all critical of how we look and so often dislike photos of ourselves.   Vicki’s aim is to make everyone look and feel their best.  She is a master of making people of all ages, sizes, gender and ability feel relaxed and at ease.  Whether it is for a single corporate portrait or a large family gathering.

Award winning

Vicki Sharp Photography was delighted to be officially recognised for the skills that set her apart.  She was awarded runner up in the ‘Best Customer Service” category in the prestigious Richmond Business Awards 2016.

Vicki Sharp Photography –“ Informal Photography, Professional Results”

Ways you can manage your profile

Ways you can manage your profile

Read Jane Braithwaite’s latest article ‘Ways you can manage your profile’ published in the November edition of the Independent Practitioner Today talks about how independent practitioners can manage their public image.  Read here…

TopTips2Jane BraithwaiteOur monthly series by Jane Braithwaite(right) gives some vital tips to help independent practitioners manage their public image 

Ways you can manage your profile

What do I know about you?

manage your profileHave you evaluated the image you portray to prospective patients? Your personal information is easily accessible, including your social media profile and Companies House business records. But how can you manage your profile proactively?

Why is this relevant?

The most reliable form of marketing is undoubtedly word of mouth. Contented patients will recommend you to their families, friends and colleagues, establishing an initial element of trust and setting high expectations about your expertise for prospective patients.

Previously, a patient might have looked up your practice in a directory and called your secretary to make a booking; but this no longer applies. Inevitably, a patient is going to do some online research prior to making an appointment.

What will a patient find when they Google your name?

Ideally, the information listed will consolidate their positive expectations, leading to a booking.

Your website should appear high up in the search results, followed by your Linked In profile. This is an optimal result, as your patients would see the image you would like to portray.

But the reality may be somewhat different…

In a not uncommon scenario, your name may be shared by multiple people, leading to a convoluted wild goose chase by the prospective patient – and a negative result.

So here’s what to look out for:


If you have been a director or owned a limited company, you will be listed on Companies House. There are numerous agencies offering information about your financial performance for a small fee.

Your home address may be listed if it has been utilised at any point as your registered address. Patients will also be able to view your business associates and collaborators. If you are involved in a family business, your patients will be able to see personal details you may wish to keep private.

Social media platforms

These set your profile as ‘public’ by default; if you are a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram user, you need to go to rigorous lengths to keep your posts private.

It’s common practice for people to check you out on Facebook. If the result portrays you drinking beer in the Caribbean, the prospective patient may opt to go elsewhere.

Website listings

Often doctors are listed on numerous hospital websites; this can be confusing for prospective patients. Where do you actually work? Why are you working across five different locations?

Online directories

Private health­-care directories are a thriving business and you may find you have been listed on several of these without your knowledge or consent.

Directories amass their data in a random fashion and it’s often out of date. It would be fairly off-putting for a prospective patient to be referred to an obsolete address.

Patient reviews

Increasingly, services are being evaluated online by clients, and patients will find opportunities to leave reviews and comments on the service you provide. This phenomenon is only going to grow.

This could be excellent for your practice if the reviews are positive; however, negative reviews are clearly undesirable. Assessment is always subjective and this is a factor to consider. Mumsnet is a good example of a very active site which is often used by patients to evaluate doctors and post and share reviews.

Celebrity endorsements

It’s possible you may be linked to a famous patient via an article in the press. This can be invaluable if your name is associated with positive accolades, but how does one deal with potentially negative comments?


manage your profileAt this stage, you may be strongly considering a rigorous privacy policy, excluding any mention of yourself or your family from potential internet searches. Whether this is possible or advisable is open to question.

It would take concerted time and effort to remove all personal data and would require dedicated, meticulous attention.

There is a compelling argument for managing your profile proactively and taking control.

You can ensure that positive comments and endorsements are easily found – this is technically achievable.


Taking control of your profile will entail an initial investment of time, as well as ongoing, regular maintenance, by means of the following:

Your website

The creation and management of a professional website is a separate issue. But, in summary, check that your website is smart, functional and contemporary, including updated contact details.

If you don’t already have a web­site, we would strongly encourage you to create one. A one-page website including a professional photograph, relevant contact details and a succinct welcome message about your services would be sufficient to start with.

LinkedIn profile

Currently, most professionals use LinkedIn and your patients will fully expect to find you listed on this service. It’s fundamental to include a professional photograph and a good introduction.

The free service is adequate, there’s no need to upgrade to a premium facility. In addition, LinkedIn invests heavily in ensuring its results are prioritised because you will miss out if you are not listed accordingly.

Social media

The vast majority of the global populace use social media; it is feasible to participate while managing and retaining your privacy. Platforms periodically change their privacy setting and conditions and you need to check these regularly. Ask someone to look you up and see what they find.

Other websites

Check the web­sites on which you are listed. Are they appropriate? If this isn’t the case, instigate removal of your details. If the websites are relevant, ensure listings are correct and consistent with your website and LinkedIn profiles.


Firstly, directories can easily be contacted to update your details, upload a photo and so on. Services will try to upgrade you to a premium package, which is unnecessary in most cases.

Google alerts

These are technically inspired. It’s possible to set up free, daily alerts and notifications on specific topics featured on the internet. You can set up your contact preferences and receive an email each time something relevant comes online.

Regular reviews of your online profile

This is an ongoing consideration. You need to evaluate and monitor your profile periodically to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises. Furthermore in most cases, a brief monthly check will suffice, especially if using Google Alerts effectively.

We are happy to assist with any aspect of the above. Please get in touch as our team of Digital Marketing and Social Media Managers can review your online presence. Meanwhile, enjoy exploring and taking control.

Jane Braithwaite is Managing Director at Designated Medical and regularly contributes to the Independent Practitioner Today publication.

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Be More Attractive

Be More Attractive

Read Jane Braithwaite’s first article ‘Be more attractive’ as part of the ‘Top Tips for Busy Doctors’ series published in the September issue of the Independent Practitioner Today …

Be More Attractive

How to attract more patients is a key concern for doctors starting out in private practice and for those with established practices who want to increase the frequency of their practice sessions.

Marketing is essential to the success of any business, including private medicine. While unfamiliar to many doctors, it does not have to be complex or time-consuming. Therefore here are some effective strategies to help promote your business and ensure you are more attractive to your patients.


The most effective way to expand your practice is through word of mouth and via existing patients, friends and family.

Are your patients familiar with the full range of services you offer? Are they aware you are actively aiming to expand your practice?

Contented patients will automatically act as ambassadors and refer you to their friends and colleagues. It is also a good strategy to maximise communication with your colleagues – including GPs and specialist consultants.

Traditional marketing methods

With current focus firmly on the innovative world of digital marketing, it is easy to overlook tried and tested methods of promoting your practice.

A brochure or simple flyer is a cost-effective marketing tool.  It can be handed directly to patients and potential referees or simply displayed in your waiting room.

Articles in relevant publications will enhance your reputation. Paper newsletters are another potent tool for marketing your practice; there are many available options once you start thinking creatively.

Check your online profile

Google your name and see what you find, because prospective patients will do this before they book their first appointment. It is vital to take control of your online presence.

Ideally, your website should be prioritised within any list of results. It is not necessary to pay for listings – there are numerous free directories featuring private doctors in London. You should ensure your details are listed accurately and updated on each one of them.

You may get mentioned on websites such as Mumsnet. While you cannot control this, you can engage with the process positively.


attractiveA website is an integral aspect of digital marketing and a powerful communication tool – allowing you to monitor, amend and update content as your practice develops.

It is often the first port of call for potential patients and a vital component in promoting your unique expertise and services.

Fundamental technical components include 24-hour email contact and a well-designed, user-friendly interface, fully compatible with mobile device access.

Make it easy for potential patients. Your phone number and email need to be highly visible. Facilitate this with a one-click appointment process.


Blogs are a vital tool in promoting your business and communicating positively with patients.

Also frequent blogging is a highly effective way of reassuring prospective and existing patients and letting them know what to expect when they book an appointment.

By citing existing patients’ positive experiences, using real examples, you can ensure readers will have highly positive expectations.

Social media

Use social media to your advantage as part of your digital marketing strategy. Since it is a highly-effective way of driving patients to your website prior to booking an appointment.

By posting content related to your personality and practice, you can strategically attract more patients.

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all relevant in this field. LinkedIn is primarily used to network with colleagues and patients; Facebook to interact with patients and to perfect and control your public profile.

Speaking at conferences

Most noteworthy, good speakers are continually in demand both nationally and globally. This could be an excellent opportunity to impart your expertise and expand your network.

Speaking commitments require careful planning, both leading up and afterwards. Focused research to establish the right event, location and correspondence procedures would be logical first steps. Allow plenty of time for this process.


With careful planning, a successful event can yield productive results and, ultimately, bring you more patients.

It does not have to be ambitious in scale; a well-planned social gathering can be very relevant – if you get the initial focus right.

Finally, think about your guest list, whether a small-scale occasion or a focused educational event with the aim of referring doctors. Allow plenty of time to choose the right venue and location, appropriate catering and, crucially, allow sufficient notice for your guests to plan their attendance.

To summarise

In conclusion, authenticity is always a good strategy.  So use the marketing tools you feel most comfortable with – but do not be afraid to branch out. Good luck.

If you would like to know more about Designated Medical can help with your medical marketing, then get in touch today.


Jane Braithwaite is Managing Director at Designated Medical and regularly contributes to the Independent Practitioner Today publication.

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