Why doesn’t this image work for a forensic physician?

  • Blurry
  • Busy–assaults the senses
  • Colors clash
  • Meaning not immediately clear
  • Common, even trite, combination of Medical and Legal symbols: The Rod of Asclepius, Scales of Justice and a Courthouse
  • The sky and lawn just make it worse

A common mistake in websites by Forensic Experts is either the lack of graphics, or the use of a disengaging graphic.

Does the image above invite you or take too much time to figure out?

An image should immediately energize interest, maintaining simple visual contact. 

Did you make this mistake in your logo?

A number of doctors will take exception because the relationship of any 2 of these two symbols is used widely among those in medical forensic work.

It’s never too late to change

Redo your logo, update your website.

In forensic work, your “audience” is small: perhaps 10 truly relevant visitors a month will visit your website and fewer will receive your business card.  “Branding” in forensic work is not a “thing.” 

Finding Images

Benefits and Dangers of Stock Imagery

Stock Photos and illustrations are widely-available, for a subscription fee, and provide copyright and licensing protections.

Adobe alone has over 60 million images and videos. 

Adobe Stock Photo, Shutterstock, iStock usually require an annual commitment, paid monthly. Adobe and Shutterstock are billed at $29.99/month for 10 images a month (that rollover if not used). 

Copyright Protections

When you obtain a stock image you are paying for the license to use it, and do not infringe on an artist’s copyright. 

Copyright permission counts.  You may be tempted to bypass a stock photo service and copy something off the internet with a screenshot and pop it into your website.

You are now using artwork without the artist’s permission and the artist goes unpaid for their work. You wouldn’t walk into a gallery, take a photo and put it on your wall.

You wouldn’t want someone else to plagiarize your reports.

Taking artwork off the internet could be considered piracy and and illegal. It is common practice and rarely challenged, but as a player in the legal system, you should consider the consequences before making your own decisions.

Trial Offers

If you want to try stock images, I recommend taking advantage of a trial offer–and they all have one. 

Describe What you Do: for the Eye

There are few images that immediately say “Medical” and/or “Law.


Dodging a cliche is easier than you might think.  For example, that stock imagery can be adapted in Photoshop to take on a different color, cast, orientation. Or one image can be paired with another. 

I purchased the video on the site of www.forensicpsychiatrynow.com with the license from Adobe. In a video editor program, I changed the direction of the rotation (the original image went from facing you to facing away), where it stops (facing out) and how it fits into the page–black space, all within the licensing rights.

After critiquing dozens of websites, here are a few red flagged for overuse.

If one truly speaks to you, make it unique in Photoshop (or hire someone to do it–ask me and I’ll explain.)

Don’t do this

 Ubiquitous images–seen repeatedly on the internet:

  • Gavels
  • Stethoscopes
  • Caduceus
  • Scales of Justice
  • Blind Lady Justice (yes, that’s her name)
  • Psychedelic brains
  • Court-like buildings (think Greek columns, marble, majesty: either a courthouse or the Federal Reserve)
  • Skylines. Is where you do business the most important thing about you? If so, go for it.
  • HUGE monitor-dominating images that force you to scroll to find out even your name.
  • Collages of any of the above.
  • And my personal least favorite: Business-suited professionals shaking hands and looking like models, because they are.
I did an image search on Google. Here are the images, among millions that come up under the search term “Expert Witness Physician.”

What do you think?

This is possibly the most common image on the internet.

Does this photo "speak" to forensic medicine? Look online. You'll see it on plenty of sites.

What's your top priority to communicate? Geography or Expertise.


This image captures my imagination. What do you think?

Imagine the title of the article with this image.

I added words to convey forensic unravelling a competency eval.

I have one client who would love this and others who would hate it.

The message is clearly investigation and assessment.

I overlaid the blurred images of 2 different Experts to render this image editorial but non-specific

business portraits that convey professional and knowledgeable experience

Do you prefer one of these over the other? Comment below.

The message is clearly investigation and assessment.

I overlaid the blurred images of 2 different Experts to render this image editorial but non-specific

business portraits that convey professional and knowledgeable experience

Do you like one of these more than the others:

Practice Development for Medical Expert Witnesses
Beryl Vaughan, Consultant

Email go@forensicexpertpro.com or Call (415) 302-9589

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