Skin health and protection

Photographing your skin lesions

Keeping a photographic record is a good way of keeping track of moles to see if they are growing or changing. If you can't visit Spot Check Clinic in person, we can examine a photo of a spot of concern using our online consulting service.

Taking a good quality photo of a skin lesion is not as easy as it seems. Photos should be well-lit and in focus, and preferably magnified using a specialised device.

This can be difficult and it might require several attempts.

To achieve the best quality, we strongly recommend that you use a magnifying device.

You can photograph your spots using your phone's camera app, but to systematically file your images and potentially share them with your Spot Check Clinic doctor, we recommend that you use the MoleScope app.

Taking photos without a magnifying device: not recommended

Make sure the spot is well-lit and stable. If possible, rest the body part on a firm surface.

Don't hold your camera or phone too close; 25-30 cm is as close as you can get and keep the subject in focus.

You can use magnifying apps built into your device or download specialised apps which magnify and light the subject.

Video: Take high quality images using just your smart phone

Video and PDF download with instructions for photographing spots of concern

Taking photos using a MoleScope

The MoleScope II and MoleScope Lite are lenses which attach to a smartphone and magnify skin lesions. The MoleScope II illuminates the skin with a polarised light. Both are available from the manufacturer MetaOptima online:

The following video refers to the MoleScope app as well as the MoleScope skin magnifier.

We recommend that you take photos using the MoleScope app. It will automatically upload your photos to the MoleScope shared medical record.

After you've taken photos of your spot

If you photographed your spots using the MoleScope app, they will automatically upload to your MoleScope record. You can view them on your phone or tablet via the Molescope app or on the web at

If you used the camera app on your phone, upload your photos to the MoleScope website or import them into the MoleScope app on your mobile device. This makes the photos available to your skin cancer doctor.

Magnifying devices

For best results, we strongly recommended that you use a specialised magnification device to take the picture, otherwise your skin cancer specialist won't be able to provide you with an accurate assessment. To take good quality pictures of your moles or other suspicious spots, we recommend using a magnification device that attaches to the camera of your smart phone or mobile device.

Comparison of photos taken with and without skin magnifiers

Photo taken without a magnifier

Photograph of a mole taken with an iPhone and no magnifier

This photo was taken using an iPhone 11 with no magnifier. The shape and colour of the mole are visible, but fine details are obscured by wrinkles in the skin and reflected light.

Photo taken with a MoleScope II

Photograph or a mole taken using a MoleScope skin magnifier

This photo was taken using an iPhone 11 and a MoleScope II. The structure of the mole is clearly visible, showing fine network structures  and tiny blood vessels.

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