Top 10 tips for before and after dental photographs

May 21, 2012

Issue 5

Featuring before and after photographs on your dental practice website, especially if you offer cosmetic dental care procedures, is extremely important to attract new patients. Your website not only allows patients to schedule appointments, submit questions and acts as a referral program, it also shows off the dental work you have done. Research shows that there are 11 million Internet searches for dentists within a given month.

Featuring before and after photographs on your dental practice website, especially if you offer cosmetic dental care procedures, is extremely important to attract new patients. Your website not only allows patients to schedule appointments, submit questions and acts as a referral program, it also shows off the dental work you have done.

Research shows that there are 11 million Internet searches for dentists within a given month.

According to Dr. Carlos Boudet, DDS, after many years of sharing information with his colleagues he's noticed that the majority of dentists take very few photographs and don’t take time to document their work-even the interesting cases-with photographic records.

Related Article: Top 5 reasons why your dental practice needs a website

"In today’s economic and business environment, it has become a necessity to adequately promote your business, and I consider photography a very important part of that," said Boudet.

Dr. Harvey Silverman, cosmetic dentist and author of the Dental Products Report Smile Makeover web series, provides 10 ways to improve your before and after photographs and how to get the most out of them.

1. Don’t show photos of incise views that include nasal passages – and worse yet, nasal hair. Are you chuckling? Well, it’s sort of funny, but from a patient perspective, it’s kind of a turn off.

2. Don’t show close up photos of finishing and polishing procedures that include gingival bleeding.  It’s an instant patient turn off.

3. Try to avoid the “T” zone in your "after" photos. Quite frankly, I never knew what a T Zone was but apparently I was good at photographing it. Women in particular don’t like having "after" photos taken with T Zones showing. Ask your patient to apply some make-up or powder before taking your "after" picture.

4. Don’t take an overly animated "before" photo. Here’s the scenario: your patient is excited to be here - eyes are sparkling - and there’s often even a positive glow of anticipation. An hour or two later, after completing your work the patient is tired. Their eyes are not dancing. The glow is gone. Thus the overall facial excitement of the patient may look better in the "before" shot than in the "after" shot. Tip: Lower their enthusiasm level for the "before" photo. Additionally, having comparable skin tones is desirable.

5. If your patient is a woman, ask if she brought the same color lipstick with her. If not, have her take off her lipstick for the "before" picture. Keep everything comparable whenever possible.

Related Article: Let dental photography promote your practice

6. Shoot photos straight on and from a lateral perspective.

7. Don’t rely on full face before and after photos taken while the patient is sitting in the dental chair.  For a better perspective have the patient stand.

8. Crop the photos if necessary. Don’t photoshop. Cropping eliminates distractions that take away from the overall improvement you made.

9. Don’t show pictures with lip retractors. Many websites and photo albums show before and after photos with lip retractors. Save those for journal articles or seminars. Instead show before and after photos of beautiful smile transformations, not of teeth with lips being retracted.

10. Show how your work has empowered your patient with a better self-image. Capture it in his smile. Capture it in her eyes. Catch the glow, the aura. Take more photos than you need. And photograph each case that you do.