Real Life Steps To Take Great Dental Photos

“ doesn’t matter how many courses you go on for a subject, until you start, you will always be lower than a beginner. At least the beginner has started!

At Dental Notebox, we offer a completely free course on dental photography – but this is often not enough for dentists to take photographs.

In fact, the success of any course, clinical or otherwise, is dependent of the effort the pupil puts in after the course.

If you are one of the minority who want to achieve excellent results, if you want to attract great patients, who want big plans, if you want to be known as the best cosmetic dentist around, the photography is your first step… but its not your only step.

In this article, let’s look at the common reasons that dentists will procrastinate about this, and how you can stop wasting time, and start progressing in your career.

Common excuses include

  • Not having the right camera gear
  • The practice does not have retractors or
  • At a subconscious level, maybe you don’t want to look bad in front of your patient or your nurse?!

Let me be cold hard and honest – these are just excuses, it doesn’t matter how many courses you go on for a subject, until you start, you will always be lower than a beginner. At least the beginner has started!

Let’s talk about the cost of starting up. Camera stuff is expensive.

I am not sure what the total cost of a new set up is these days, but I will estimate it at around £2000. But lets say its £3000.

As a young dentist, this is a LOT of money. Is it worth it?

Most people can put this on finance, and just splitting this over 24 months, the total cost is £125 per month. Over 12 months, this is £250. These are much smaller figures that you should be able to afford, and they are tax deductible!

At this price point, you can afford this stuff.

If your practice doesn’t have retractors, then buy 2 sets of everything you need.

By the time you have paid the last instalment, if you use your photos in a good way, you will have easily paid off your camera gear many times over.

The other BS excuses of not wanting to look like an amateur is something that you will need to deal with – because we all start somewhere.

If your nurse is young, then they will probably never have seen a proper camera, as their iPhone is a professional camera in their eyes! (yes, I have had comments like this from our youngest team members!)

Building a good dynamic in the surgery is key. Make this a challenge, have some good dental photos, and tell your assistant in the morning:
“Okay, today, we are going to take a few really good case photos, can you help me do this?!”

This will make it more like you are on the same side, climbing this mountain (which is a small hill at best), together.

It will probably make the day more interesting too, and maybe it will give you something interesting to talk about in the next few days!

Okay, now that you have a camera, and a team member willing to help. What will you shoot? You probably have a day of “check-ups” in a busy NHS environment.

That’s not a problem right now. Choose a few patients and just take a smile, and retracted smile for now – you want to just get the basic motions of dental photography in play.

Tell your patient “We have started to take a few photos during our check ups, so that we are able to monitor your dental health better”

Set up your free account on and you can upload your images easily in there.

Now that you have the smile, and retracted smile sorted, start taking the ¾ smile shots.

Pay attention to the framing, looking at the occlusal plane, the canine or the lateral in the middle of the shot.

Aim for perfection.

If your photos are not right, reach out to us, maybe its something that we can help with.

You should have bought a good quality flash, there are plenty of cheap ones available, but these are not powerful enough for you to be able to take photos and get the exposure (brightness) correct.

Then, in the same way, you can work your way up to the occlusals, and these often need a proper team effort, with someone holding the 3 in 1 to defog the mirror.

The best way that I have found to do something new, is to set goals.

How many photos do you want to take? Write this down, and review it every week.

About writing your goals down, I know that hardly anyone will do this – but it honestly works.

I used this trick to transform from a basic NHS drill and fill career, to to doing full mouths rebuilds.

To do anything new needs motivation. You have the motivation and will already, its not external, no one is going to change for you – you have to make it happen!



If you want to increase the amount of cosmetic care you provide, see more complex cases, and enjoy more free time while stressing less about your income click the button below. Our mentoring programme is designed to give you the tools you need to built a successful list of patients.


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