Forensic photography, also referred to as crime scene photography, is an activity that records the initial appearance of the crime scene and physical evidence, in order to provide a permanent record for the courts.
it is the job of the forensic photographer to produce accurate, detailed photographs that faithfully record the location and evidence of crime and accident scenes as clearly and as objectively as possible.
Forensic photographers produce detailed recordings of all the available evidence at crime scenes, including overview photographs as well as accurate images of tyre marks, fingerprints, footprints, blood spatters, bullet holes and other unique evidence at the scene. They take detailed photographs of injuries sustained through accidents or assaults and might also photograph dead bodies.
Forensic photographers follow a standard methodology and produce images of a rigorous technical standard so that they can be used as evidence in hearings and court proceedings.
They take detailed photographs for measurement or analysis, to accompany forensic reports, articles or research papers, as an integral part of criminal investigation procedures employed by police and security forces throughout the world.
Photographers specialising in forensic imaging here are usually expected to work unsociable shifts, and be part of an on-call rota.
Forensic photographers need a thorough grasp of photographic principles, particularly those involving non-standard techniques, such as high-intensity and low level aerial imaging, as well as an appreciation of the importance of their work.
They must pay close attention to detail, and take a meticulous approach to image and data recording, selecting the best equipment and techniques in all environments and lighting conditions. Forensic photographs must be correctly lit and exposed, have maximum depth of field, be free from distortion and be in sharp focus. Experience of digital imaging techniques is also desirable.
Forensic photographers need a good grounding in police methods and conventions, and a sound understanding of anatomy. They must be able to methodically record the original scene and the initial appearance of physical evidence without the photograph appealing to the emotions of the jury or in any way prejudicing the case. They must also keep detailed records of exactly where photographs were taken, the type of camera and lenses, what stock the picture was taken on, and whether flash or artificial lights were used.