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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #1
lintendo64
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Default Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Hello. I'm a dentist trying to upgrade my photography skills to better document my cases. I have the following gear:
Canon 60D
Canon 100mm Macro L Lens
Dual wireless flash with twin mount (Photomed)
Puffer Flash Diffusers

This is more or less my flash setup:


I spent a bundle on this equipment but I'm struggling to figure out how to make the most of them. I basically want to take "esthetic" photos of my patients' front teeth. The first picture is one of my recent shots (shutterspeed 1/200, F29... I think) with the twin flashes staggered (one closer to the object than the other). It doesn't have that artistic feel to it. I'd like my images to look like the one below it. I'd love some advice from the macro pros on this board on how to achieve these kinds of results. Thanks!

My photo:

IMG_8367 by eflowz, on Flickr

Good photo:

207250_1657273274046_1303549707_31413795_5642241_n by eflowz, on Flickr
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #2
gmillerf
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

The one on the bottom appears to have been taken with a large diffuse light source like an umbrella or softbox. This eliminates the harsh highlights you're getting with the bare flashes.

Using flashes on a bracket is certainly more convenient than a large softbox on it's own stand, but the softbox clearly gives better results. The small bare flashes only work well for very small subjects that don't have highly reflective surfaces.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #3
DQE
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

One of my dentists (a prosthodontist) seems to do well with a Canon DSLR a Canon 100mm macro lens, and a Canon MR-14 ring flash. The ring flash seems to provide uniform light for this application even though I don't personally like it for bug photography. Once the exposure settings are dialed in, it seems to do well for the front teeth as well as molars, etc.

Hope this helps. (I use a similar rig, but with the MT-24 twin-flash, for my bug photography).
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Canon gear: 5D MkII, 5D, MPE-65, 100 mm 2.8 macro, 85 mm f1.2 L, 16-35 mm f2.8, 24-105 mm L, MT-24, MR-14; 550EX flash (2 units); Gitzo 2548 tripod; Gitzo monopod; Acratech Ultimate Ballhead; Manfrotto 410 geared tripod head; Cognisys StackShot rail & controller
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #4
scorpio_e
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Definitely some specular highlights on yours. Harsh flash will do that on reflective surfaces.

Best bet is a soft box or umbrella .

You could also shoot in an area with diffuse light and bounce some light back in with a reflector.
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Old 4th of May 2012 (Fri)   #5
AntonLargiader
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Consider the framing. The real difference between the two shots (to me) is the angle, not the lighting.
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Old 5th of May 2012 (Sat)   #6
lintendo64
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Thanks for the great input. I'm not sure how my patients would react to a white umbrella next to the dental chair, but I'm thinking of a more portable and convenient alternative. Would this pocket bouncer/diffuser do the trick? I already have the Fong Puffer Diffusers... would it be worth getting these?

http://www.lumiquest.com/store/produ...UltraSoft.html
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #7
Daship
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Yours are direct strait on light, the bottom ones are camera right 45 degree angle diffused light.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #8
calypsob
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Ok artistically, good composition rules suggest using what is known as the rule of thirds, which technically applies to all forms of photography. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_thirds You can see it applied to the picture that you like. Your picture however is dead on and centered, which is not going to give you a very good composition. What you really want is to create a sense of depth, like the second picture has done with its angle and placement. Centering your subject creates a flat field which does not give a very :artistic" effect in most scenarios and also because photographs are in 2d it is up to you to decide how the human eye is going to perceive depth within your subject. Also your higlights from the flash are very shot out, or overexposed. rubber diffusers such as these http://www.linkdelight.com/POF20-3-C...on-Pentax.html are a very cheap and quick fix. You don't need a light ring because your rig is more than sufficient for what you are doing. Also there appears to be a mildly reflective piece of black plastic or something in the second picture, which also helps to add depth to the subject. So work on your composition by using the rule of thirds and get some rubber diffusers and you are good to go. Good luck.

Last edited by calypsob : 6th of May 2012 (Sun) at 00:55.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #9
calypsob
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

oh also rebatment is another good compositional technique to observe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabatment_of_the_rectangle
You can see that rebatment was used very clearly in the second image.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #10
Pi_314
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lintendo64 View Post
Thanks for the great input. I'm not sure how my patients would react to a white umbrella next to the dental chair, but I'm thinking of a more portable and convenient alternative. Would this pocket bouncer/diffuser do the trick? I already have the Fong Puffer Diffusers... would it be worth getting these?

http://www.lumiquest.com/store/produ...UltraSoft.html
Try one of these. It's a half globe for a light fixture. They sell them at Home depot.

You just need to cut a hole in it to fit on the lens, and get a step up ring to hold it in place. In your case I would cut the hole at the top of the half globe, thusly there is enough room between it and your subjects face when using the 100mm. This should give you considerable diffusion, just aim your flashes at it and yer good to go.

If you decide to try this, you can't cut this material with something like a shear, as it tends to fracture. Maybe use one of your dentist tools. You might also sand the surface, as it has a bit of shine to it.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #11
joeblack2022
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DQE View Post
One of my dentists (a prosthodontist) seems to do well with a Canon DSLR a Canon 100mm macro lens, and a Canon MR-14 ring flash.
My dentist uses the same setup, though they don't use it for aesthetic reasons that the OP is describing.
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Old 6th of May 2012 (Sun)   #12
calypsob
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

the only time I have ever gotten my teeth photographed was when I was wearing a lead vest and the dentist left the room, go figure.
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Old 7th of May 2012 (Mon)   #13
scorpio_e
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

The bottom one is a product shot or at least it looks like it due to the reflection. I can imagine my dentist come in with a soft box rig *LOL* too funny. I will think you might be better off bouncing light back in via a reflector card. All depends on your window light and direction.

The is no magic bullet. If you do not want specular highlights you need diffuse light and at an angle.

Good luck.
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Old 7th of May 2012 (Mon)   #14
ItzSimplymike
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

I've seen Dentist use ring style flashes and speedlite for close up shots for teeth shot up against a plan wall. Maybe the use of a diffuser would work but never have I seen a soft box.
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Old 8th of May 2012 (Tue)   #15
lintendo64
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Default Re: Dentist Needs Help Taking Dental Photos!

Thanks for all the input. I'm learning a lot about photography from this thread, including some interesting photography composition theory.

Softboxes and umbrellas are a little unrealistic for the office... and I realize I won't be able to achieve images like the one I posted without some big clunky equipment. That said, I bought the Lumiquest pocket bounce for both flashes. Will this help at all to improve my shots? I'll try them out this week and post some sample shots.
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