Configure your camera settings - Dental Photography Made Easy - Beginners Guide

Now if you’re anything like me, you would want to get started straight away and start taking pictures as quick as possible without confusion. 

Well luckily for you, you don’t have to go through the confusion that I did. 

Infact I have broken the settings down into beginners and advance if you’re more technical and want to enhance your images.

So here is the beginners guide to camera setting for dental photography.



You want as much control over your settings as possible so its a no brainer that you should chose the Manual (M) on your camera wheel then we are ready to go.


ISO 100

ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light which is what we want with Macro dental photography. This creates a clean image with no noise. Where as a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera meaning your pictures are going to be brighter and exposing it to more noise.

Here is an example of a same image with low and high ISO.

So put your ISO on 100 and do not change it again for dentistry.


Shutter Speed 1/200

Shutter speed is the length of time your camera shutter is open, exposing light onto the camera sensor. Essentially, it’s how long your camera spends taking a photo. This will effect the sharpness of your images. In the example below you can see the the difference in shutter speeds and the effect it has on our images.

Higher speed would mean that the camera shutter is open for longer amount of time, capturing more ambient background light and thus making the picture blurry.
Lower Shutter speed would mean that the camera shutter is open for a fraction of a second. Which mean that there is less light hitting the sensor, reducing the pick up of ambient background light allowing the picture of your desired object to be still and crisp.

We love coffee and tea as dentists and some time our hands maybe a bit shaky as a result of this so the quicker the shutter speed the


Set your Shutter speed on 1/200 to minimise any movement and blurriness and your images will be as sharp as a knife…(metaphorically speaking that is).

On Nikon cameras shutter speed can be quicker so take advantage of this if you are a Nikon hero!

F Stop (11, 18, 29)

Aperture is a hole within a lens that light travels into the camera body. Just think about how your eyes work. As you move between bright and dark environments, the pupils expands or shrinks. In photography, you can shrink (Higher F stop) or enlarge the size of the aperture (Lower F stop) to allow more or less light to reach your camera sensor by changing your F stop. 

This also effects the depth of field in the picture. 

The lower the F stop the less depth of field on your camera meaning that the objects off the centre of image and further from the lens become blurry. Whereas, the higher the F stop the higher the depth of field meaning the objects off the centre of the image and further away from the lens became more clear and crisp.


F Stop 11

F 11 is recommended for full face shots as we do not require full depth of field as we do with pictures intramurally.


F stop 18

F18 is recommended for artistic extra oral pictures such as this.


F stop 29-32

This is what I would recommend for intra oral pictures. The higher the F stop the clearer the image so why stop at F22 when you can go higher and your ring flash can provide enough light to get crisp picture.


Raw + L JPEG

Now that you have this set up ready, make sure to choose to save the images on your camera as Large JPG and Raw File.

Raw Files can not be edited and if they are they leave a trail meaning that the original photo can be recovered. This is useful for medicolwegal purposes and publishing purposes. One catch… RAW files are large in storage. 20mgb per picture.

Large JPEG format is smaller in size (5-6mgb per picture) which makes it easier to transfer and they are also compatible for editing in term of marketing and production.

TIP: You may need an external storage to store all your images.


White Balance - Flash

White balance (WB) is the cameras way of removing unrealistic color casts, so that any objects which appear white in real life are projected white in your photo. This alters the rendering of natural blue and yellow light within you photo too.


Here is an example of a picture with different white balance.


In dental photography you want to stick to flash photography, thus you want the natural colour of the objects in the shot to be render when exposed to flash.

So, go to settings, Select White Balance and Chose Flash.

Now that you have your basic settings right and read you can start practicing some quick shots. For my advance settings add on please visit the tutorial ‘Advance Settings Add-On’ in my tutorial section on the website.

Happy snapping!

Sia LordComment