When opening a new practice, dental professionals may not give much thought to photographing patients. Providing optimum care and ensuring a positive patient experience are what get the most attention. But if you want your business to continue growing, whether you’ve been around ten months or twenty years, capturing high-quality images of your work is essential.
Investing time and energy in taking photos sounds easy. Make sure the lighting is good, get in close, and snap away. But if you’re still wondering why your finished product isn’t coming out like the images you see in ads; it may be because you are missing some fundamentals. You may be thinking, I got into dentistry to take care of patients, I’m not a member of the paparazzi. Never fear, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Let’s start off with some basic tools you’ll need:
- a DSLR camera with a high-quality close-up attachment
- on and off-camera flash
- ring light
- cheek retractors
- photographic mirrors
- occlusal contrasters
- blank background
Cheek retractors, photographic mirrors, and occlusal contrasters help perfect images of the teeth that are extremely close up and detailed. They help remove any unwanted lips or tongue from appearing in the photo. Mirrors allow you to shoot angles that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. They’re very common in “before and after” photos, for example.
Speaking of “before and after” photos, a few simple things make a huge difference. Be careful that lighting is the same for both images and that your camera is set to allow in the most light possible to show detail. Make sure that you’re shooting from the same angle in both pictures to make the comparison unmistakable.
For a portrait photo, a ring light and off-camera flash help illuminate your subject nicely. Try different angles and lean more towards comfortable and natural poses. Showing the patient in the best light possible further proves the need for the procedure and increases satisfaction with their results.
Also, know your audience. Are you taking these photos to promote a service in your practice for promotional materials that will be distributed? Or are these photos to be stored in the patient’s records and to show a patient the beautiful outcome of their procedure? This will influence your camera settings, lighting, and angles.
Before you photograph any patient, make sure they sign a written consent. Outline exactly what the photographs will be used for, seek permission for distribution, and also disclose patient privacy.
Dental photos are often thought of as being boring and clinical, but they really can be used in a beautifully artistic way. They’re something happy patients can show off and be a testament to the quality care you provide to each person who sits in your chair.