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Taking Shades


Pointers on taking better shade photos

-Use color-corrected office lighting. Calibrate your lights to 6,700 degrees Kelvin.

-Consider your backdrop. Colored walls reflect ambient light and can impact the color of a photo. A room or wall with a neutral color like white, off-white or light gray usually generates the best results.

-Consider your patient’s clothing. Just like the surrounding walls, brightly colored clothing can reflect ambient light and change the quality of your photo. Using a neutral colored drape or smock will help minimize or eliminate that chance.

-Calibrate your camera’s white balance.

-Determine shade at or near the beginning of the appointment. The longer you and your patient are looking at and comparing shade tabs, the more likely you are to suffer from ocular fatigue. A tired pair of eyes has a tougher time determining shade.

-Have your patient remove lipstick or other makeup. This is really about minimizing distractions and making it easier to determine a patient’s overall tone.

-Remember the vertical plane. Make sure that the shade tab and the patient’s tooth are in the same vertical plane in space relative to the camera’s lens. If the shade tab is in front of or behind the tooth, the way light reflects the two can appear slightly different to the camera. (very important)

-Use two or three shade tabs in the photo if possible (incisal edge to incisal edge) Call Zahn Technik for more information

-Take a black-and-white photo. A black and white photo will help show the value of the shade tab relative to the patient’s tooth.

-Use a macro lens. A macro lens makes close-up photography much easier by reducing the minimum distance you can be from your subject. The lens your camera came with may not be able to focus on a subject closer than a foot from the lens, but with a macro lens, that distance can be shortened to a couple inches.

-Have the patient seated in an upright or 45 degree position or have them stand up against the wall.

-Determine characteristics- this basically includes craze lines, mammalons, calcification, amalgams, and carries, but can also be placement of texture and sheen

-Have the patient often lick their teeth to keep them moist.

-Take a few photos with “Polar Eyes” lens, in addition to your other photos.

-If you are using natural light to take photos OR if you have large windows, the best time to take shade photos is from 11am-2pm where you get all of the rays of the sun. In the mornings you get a lot of gray and blue rays and late in the afternoon you get a lot of orange, yellow and red rays. 

Please contact us for more information on how to take better photos

Keyvan Nakhai

949 800 0990