Posted by: Michelle Stella Riordan | February 18, 2011

Why photography shouldn’t be ‘like pulling teeth’…

Why Photography shouldn’t be ‘like pulling teeth’…unless you’re photographing a dentist pulling teeth!

This shoot was a challenge.  The dentist had to block off time from his hectic schedule to have this done.  Dr F is a great guy with a very dry sense of humor so we have always worked well together.  We discussed what was unique about his office; what could I photograph to convey his style of dentistry.  So of course we conducted a dry run.    His humor, his low-key, laid back style and hand holding staff were the keys to his success.  The photographs had to reflect this.


Pulling teeth


The focus here had to be on the hands.  We wanted to show a tender moment in what can be a very intimidating event for many people.  I shot from several angles but this one made sense.  I kept a shallow depth of field in order to let everything but the hands to go out of focus.  I also processed this image in Focal Point…Love the bug!  (OnOne Software)  This type of photography was very different from just a run of the mill staff photo.  We did that as well but to shoot this…now this is worth sinking your teeth into.   (I heard you groan )


pulling teeth

What time is it when you have to got to the dentist?

It’s tooth-hurty! 

 ‘Like pulling teeth’ ~ This idiom is defined as something ‘extremely difficult’. 



  1. I like your approach to photographing the “differentiator” in the business or person. I was working with a client today in the travel industry and recommending some possible profile pictures for Facebook (by a professional photographer of course) We talked about capturing her personality, experience and expertise all in one photo!
    P.S. You might consider a link to your customer’s web site or fan page in the blog – it’s a simple way to help their SEO results and if they are keeping score they’ll see you mentioned them.

    • Thanks Jamie. You don’t know how great it makes a photographer feel when the different facets of their job is understood. It’s not just about taking a picture. The beauty of our job is that no two are alike. Each client is unique and their situation should be approached that way. Dr. F never put together a website. This was all for brochures and ads.

  2. I really hadn’t thought about photography from a “show me doing what I do” perspective. My exposure (excuse the pun) is really in thinking about portrait photography or event photography. Obviously, it takes a third skill set on your part to bring out the character of the person you are photographing for this kind of assignment. Nice job.

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