Dental Website Photography: The Essentials

A website allows you the opportunity to meet new patients on their turf, on their home computer or smart phone. This is your time to shine. For an instant (hopefully longer) you have a potential patient’s full attention. What’s going to make that individual stay on your site and look around? Certainly not the same stock photos they’ve seen on every other dentist’s website. Original, professional photography will set you apart.

Depending on the ambiance of your office, an experienced local photographer and your web designer should be able to recommend the best setting and attire for your custom dental office photography. I recommend three photo shoots, though you can get them all done in one long day if you plan well:

Team & Doctor Photos
You’ll need individual photos of everyone on your team, even part-time employees. Be sure to get group photos of the doctors, hygienists, assistants, administrative team, and entire team, as well. To make sure you acquire the shots you want, have everyone dress in similar, neutral colors and suggest that your photographer take indoor and outdoor photos. If you like, hop in the car and grab the photographer for a few on-location shots at a local landmark. If you have a Tooth Fairy or mascot costume, make sure the photographer takes some pictures because the character needs to be with the team photos on your website.

Office Photos

There are three types of office photos you must have for your website: curbside view, front desk, and operatory. I recommend the photographer get shots of employees in action, in the same attire that they wore for the team photo shoot. You might also get a picture of your office signage for the contact us page of your website. Ask your photographer to take some close-up, artsy shots of unique items in your practice: the kids’ play area, a nice floral arrangement or the front garden, the beverage station, the doctor’s hands holding a wax-up model, etc. These images work well accents in your website design, and they’re unique, not stock (which is always good).

Patient Photos

The patient shoot is probably the most difficult because you need patients to agree to being featured on your site. Then you have to coordinate the shoot itself. I recommend you consult your lawyer to get a short agreement drawn up for patients who will be featured on your site.

You’ll need to accumulate before-and-after photos of clinical cases, as well. This takes time, and your website company should be able to add the new cases at any time. You only need to feature 5 to 10 clinical cases. More would be overwhelming, and they would dilute the importance of the gallery.

The best dental patient galleries I’ve seen include clinical before-and-after photos, close-up before-and-after photos, and headshots with a patient testimonial. A brief clinical case description with links to service descriptions is also very valuable on a website, both to patients and search engine results.

The Patient Photo Shoot Event

Consider hosting a Saturday photo shoot for your best cosmetic and full-mouth patients who’ve completed treatment. Offer to provide the pictures free of charge as a thank you to the patients who participate. Modern Dental Practice Marketing can plan the event for you, or you can do it yourself.

Here’s how. Send out custom invitations to a chosen few, and request an RSVP. Be sure that your photographer is free for the day of the shoot. As patients respond to your invitation, have your front office team book them in 30-minute sessions with the photographer.

The day of the shoot, provide refreshments for the patients and be on site to mingle throughout the event. During this time, request that patients complete written testimonials about their experience with your dental practice. You could also request they participate in a short video testimonials that you or someone on your team record.

Once the photos are delivered to you, send handwritten thank you notes with a CD of the digital photos to each patient who attended your event. You might also send a thank you note to the photographer.

Tips for Dental Photographers

  • Talk with the web designer to determine whether the photo shoot should be casual, business, semi-formal, or formal.
  • Advise the dental team and patients what to wear, and make sure that the neutral colors complement the website and logo, without making anyone look unattractive.
  • Be sure everyone wears Chapstick , lipstick, or lip gloss. Their smiles need to look magical.
  • Take indoor and outdoor photos at each shoot.
  • Take close-ups, head shots, and full-body shots of each subject.
  • Use props, like tooth brushes, floss, wax molds, dental tools, or flowers and books.
  • Capture subjects serious, happy, smiling, and laughing.
  • Always get a “fun” shot of the whole team.
  • Consider on location shoots at well-known locations in your town or city.
  • Take close-ups of accents in the office: flowers, magazines, dental models, computers, etc.
  • Take close-ups of dental machines (CEREC, digital X-ray, laser, etc.) and products sold in the office (teeth whitening kits , toothpastes, SoniCare toothbrushes, BreathRx, CariFree etc.).
  • Get a few photos of office textures, colors, and architecture for the website (ie: wallpaper, carpet, vases, wall art, pillows, arches, bricks, flooring, etc.).
  • Take a photograph of the exterior of the office from the street, the office sign, the front desk, and at least one operatory.

We Can Help with Your Dental Photo Shoot

Remember, effective marketing leaves a great impression and entices potential customers/patients to want to know more. Good, impressive, original photography can greatly impact your website’s bounce rate and conversion rate. Not sure who to call, what to say, or how to make your dental photo shoot turn out splendidly? We can help. Call Modern Dental Practice Marketing at 972-781-8861 or email us at, and we’ll be happy to book your photo shoots, consult with your photographer and team, and choose the best shots for your Internet and print marketing. After all, we’re in the business to make dentists smile!