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Four Common Mistakes in Dental Photography

August 24, 2017 by AACD Executive Office

It's important to capture excellent clinical images for AACD Accreditation submissions. Photos that are poorly shot can negatively impact a case submission. Here are four common dental photography mistakes along with tips to help you capture better images for your clinical case submissions:


Photography is about understanding light. Understand these aspects to prevent out of focus images and blurring due to patient movements:

  • Depth of field

  • Shutter speed

  • Improper lighting

Underexposed photo

Take test images using direct undiffused lighting with an aperture setting at f-32, ISO at 100, and the shutter speed set at 1/100.


Position the camera at 90 degrees horizontally and vertically with reference to the subject. Framing an image from above or below the subject can alter the perception of the plane of the teeth.

Image taken from an inferior angle
on the patient’s right


Recline the patient and have them hold the retractors. To keep the mirror from fogging, ask your assistant to hold the occlusal mirror against the opposite arch and apply a gentle stream of dry air.


Use these guidelines to help capture the best occlusal image:

  • Stand above the patient to capture the maxillary view

  • Stand below the patient’s head to capture the mandibular view

Improper framing-edge of mirror
and unreflected teeth visible


Make any necessary magnification conversions to produce an image magnification comparable to the images illustrated in A Guide to Accreditation Photography. You will need to capture the required views using these three magnification ratios:

  • 1:10

  • 1:2

  • 1:1

Inadequate magnification
for full face view

Settings will vary with sensor and face size. Cameras with smaller sensors will require approximately a 1.5 times increase setting on the lens barrel, such as [1:10 (1:15), 1:2 (1.3), 1:1 (1:1.5)].

Having trouble with your photography? We can fix that.

Take Adamo's Continuum course!

In the AACD Con•tin•u•um, you’ll learn from top Academy educators on topics that have a direct influence on your AACD Accreditation goal or on enhancing your clinical performance so that you can offer your patients better and more predictable results. In partnership with some of the industry’s leading manufacturers, the AACD Con•tin•u•um will give attendees a chance to explore new materials and methodologies.

Fundamentals of Dental Photography: A Focus on Accreditation

with Adamo Notarantonio, DDS, FAACD

Date: September 20th, 2019
Location: Livermore, CA
Sponsored by

CE Credits:



This hands-on course will demonstrate techniques for improving the quality and consistency of clinical photography. Participants will learn photography fundamentals such as basic camera knowledge, equipment options, and how to produce the highest quality images for Accreditation.  In addition, framing, magnification, and the 12 views for Accreditation success will be discussed.  Participants should bring their camera, mirror and plastic lip retractors.

  • Get to know your camera, its settings and storage ability
  • Learn appropriate framing and magnification ratios
  • Learn the 12 images required for Accreditation case submission and protocols need to assist dentist/lab technicians in the Accreditation process

Dr. Notarantonio is a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine (2002), where he received honors in both removable and fixed prosthodontics.  He completed his residency in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program at Stony Brook in 2003, and was chosen by faculty to complete a second year as Chief Resident. He achieved Accredited Member status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in 2011, and acheived Accredited Fellow status in 2018. Dr. Notarantonio serves as an examiner for the Accreditation and Fellowship processes and has recently been appointed the Accreditation Chairman of the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry.

Because of the intensive hands-on workshop environment and the low student:instructor ratio, space at each AACD Con•tin•u•um session is extremely limited.
Click here to register.

The AACD also offers courses that will help perfect your clinical case documentation. Here are just some of the resources the AACD offers for working on your dental photography:


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