Background: Medical photography is used clinically for patient evaluation, treatment decisions, and scientific documentation. Although standards for medical photography exist in many branches of medicine, we have not encountered such criteria in publications in the area of orthopedics.Purpose: This study aims to (1) assess the quality of medical images used in an orthopedic publication and (2) to propose standards for medical photography in this area.Methods: Clinical photographs were reviewed from all issues of a journal published between the years 2008 and 2012. A quality of clinical images was developed based on the criteria published for the specialties of dermatology and cosmetic surgery. All images were reviewed on the appropriateness of background, patient preparation, and technique.Results: In this study, only 44.9% of clinical images in an orthopedic publication adhered to the proposed conventions.Conclusions: Standards have not been established for medical photography in orthopedics as in other specialty areas. Our results suggest that photographic clinical information in orthopedic publications may be limited by inadequate presentation. We propose that formal conventions for clinical images should be established. © 2014 Uzun et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.