Friday, 22 August 2014

TOP 10 ways to improve standardization in terms of COMPOSITION in dental photography

When a dentist is sharing his cases with his colleagues / students or patients the series of images of a particular case need to look identical and uniform in composition.

The advantages of well composed images are far more greater than poorly composed images.

Further more if images of a single subject, when taken at different times, look different and are shot from different angles and at different settings the impact is much lesser and the audience finds it very confusing,difficult to relate to and uninteresting.There is loss of detail and co relating between the before and after images becomes a nightmare.

When the images are uniformly composed, well lit in similar (or same) settings, relating to the images and the situation becomes much more authentic and understandable.
The audience finds it very easy to understand and accept the changes or what ever the  dentist is trying to show.
Pre operative / Operative and post operative images must always look same in composition

It is not a child's play however to get the composition uniformly correct all the times because the dentist / dental assistant (anyone who is taking images) has to face long intervals in between the shots.
These intervals can be in hours/ days, weeks, months or even years!!!

So it is always best that before starting the shoot the dentist takes a look at the earlier images first and goes through the METADATA (EXIF) (file information after right clicking on the image)

What is more important is that the images need to be shot with the same equipment that were used at the start of the case and use the same settings as far as possible.

The dentist needs to maintain the patient position and camera position constant for all the shoots (be it intra or extra oral)

The following details should be kept in mind to get a uniformly composed image:

1) Constant & Uniform background (E.g. appropriate use of contrastors)
Types of contrastors & mirrors in Magic Box intraoral photography kit by dental photography school

2) Relative positions of the dentist and the patient should be maintained constant.

3) Good uniform retraction (Retraction has to be outward and laterally)
Cheek  Retractors by Dental Photography School

4) Avoiding saliva/blood/ GCF at all times. (Use a good high vac suction)

5) MAGNIFICATION (biggest factor) (In our course we teach 4 magnifications which a dentist typically uses to do all the dental photography. it is a major topic and has to be discussed separately) 
MAGNIFICATION RATIO is the property of a MACRO lens only. Shown above in yellow font encircled in the red ellipse is the magnification ratio. We can change the magnification ratio by rotating the lens. Various magnification ratios are available for use in dental photography like 1:1, 1:1.5, 1:2 etc. To keep images standardized it is important that we keep magnification ratio of the pre operative and post operative images same always.

6) Uniform cropping (cropping done in the camera maker software is the best because it helps you with a GRID which will guide a dentist to crop accurately)

7) Preferably keep the main tooth/area in the center (This is because this allows for maximum cropping in case there is a mistake with respect to composition)

8) Always notice the other teeth / landmarks
 (For instance if its an anterior shot at 1:1 magnification then how many teeth are seen? 
If the before image shows 2 centrals and half laterals on both sides then this frame has to be accurately repeated and the post operative image should also show 2 centrals and half laterals on the sides.

 It can also happen that 2 centrals ARE visible and the dentist might think that the purpose is solved because the work was only in the centrals (e.g diastema closure,) but the post operative picture instead of showing 2 half laterals is showing 1 full lateral of one side!!! 
In the latter case the composition is unacceptable and a lot of data with respect to the work is lost and not recorded.)

9) Another important and hugely neglected part about composition is that a dentist should never loose a sense of orientation (angulation) which frequently happens and is evident in the shots.
Parallelism has to be maintained between the guiding lines and the viewfinder.
If this is lost then we will be able to see a "CANTING" in the images which is visually very disturbing.
Always keep your frame in such a way that the ridge OR the teeth are parallel (or perpendicular) to the viewfinder (either lengthwise or breadth wise)

10) Lastly whenever a Shade guide is to be used the incisal edge of the guide tooth has to align with the incisal edge of the natural tooth. Always wet the surface of the teeth slightly before shade matching.
Insist on taking 2 shots for shade matching (one at picture style NEUTRAL and the other at picture style MONOCHROMATIC which is for appreciating the VALUE of the tooth)
For more interesting articles on dental photography log on to
All images and write up in the blog are intellectual property of Dr. Mayur Davda / Dental photography School ( Any unauthorized use or copy is subject to legal action and violation of law.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Which camera to buy for photography?

Back to Basics: which is the best camera for dental photography?

Which is the best camera for dental photography is a question that still remains unanswered for millions of dentists world-wide. This particular blog aims to reduce the confusion amongst the minds of the dentists and help them choose a camera for dental photography.
Let’s begin with what we should expect from an Ideal camera for dental photography…

Listed below are the expectations from an ideal camera for dental photography and on the right hand side a few popular camera types. For every point on the left marks have been given under each camera type on a scale of 1 to 5 depending upon how much they hold true to that particular point.

                                                (Click to enlarge)
                                              (Click to enlarge)

It is extremely clear from the figures above that a DSLR camera has no real competition when it comes to serious dental photography.
A bridge camera is not for serious photographers while sub-compact (point and shoot) and mobile phone camera come under least preferred category of usage.

Let me share a note from Wikipedia over here…
“A point-and-shoot camera is a still camera designed primarily for simple operation. They are popular with people who do not consider themselves photographers but want an easy to use camera for snapshots of vacations, parties, reunions and other events. Point-and-shoot camera sales declined after about 2010 as smartphones overtook them in such uses.”

About DSLR (Digital Single lens reflex) Camera:
DSLR Cameras are increasingly becoming a type of camera that is in the reach of the average photographer as prices fall and as manufacturers develop more user friendly models.
DSLR stands for “Digital Single Lens Reflex”. In simple language, DSLR is a digital camera that uses mirrors to direct light from the lens to the viewfinder, which is a hole on the back of the camera that you look through to see what you are taking a picture of.

When you look through the viewfinder on the back of the camera, whatever you see is exactly what you are going to get in the photograph.

The scene that you are taking a picture of passes through the lens in a form of light into a reflex mirror (#2) that sits at a 45 degree angle inside the camera chamber, which then forwards the light vertically to an optical element called a “pentaprism” (#7). The pentaprism then converts the vertical light to horizontal by redirecting the light through two separate mirrors, right into the viewfinder (#8).
When you take a picture, the reflex mirror (#2) swings upwards, blocking the vertical pathway and letting the light directly through. Then, the shutter (#3) opens up and the light reaches the image sensor (#4). The shutter (#3) remains open for as long as needed for the image sensor (#4) to record the image, then the shutter (#3) closes and the reflex mirror (#2) drops back to the 45 degree angle to continue redirecting the light into the viewfinder.

Conclusion: If you require a true distortion free image for your dental practise with wide variety of settings and good flash and lens attachment options always insist on a DSLR.