The topic today is different as it touches another type of photography that many do not get attention to it, which is the forensic photography and how to become a crime scene photographer.
While many articles are written to prepare you to become studio, wedding, journalism and food photographer. Very few focused on the crime scene photography and how to prepare the photographer to this special type that merge between the art of photography and the science of forensic sciences.
As the forensic science develop and require professional usage of technologies and media to solve crime cases and help in investigations, the need increases for professional crime scene photographers who can take sharp and accurate photos that help solving cases and answer questions.
Digital photography gave the crime scene photographer extra importance as the images can be better analyzed and processed in different investigation tools and softwares.
What Does the Crime Scene Photographer Do?
The crime scene photographer or the forensic photographer is required to visit the crime scenes and take photos for the scene elements and findings that help solving the crime cases or can provide a convection proof in the court.
Unlike the other types of photography that focus on the beauty of the photo, the crime scene photographer is taking the photographs to a scientific level. So, their photos should document the existing scene and archive every element in it visually for further investigations. Some of the archived elements are hidden and can only be seen using special tools like the finger prints and blood samples.
The crime scene photographer merges his knowledge of photography and criminal sciences to provide accurate and helpful documentary photos for the crime scene. Many of the crime scene photographers are basically police officers and forensic scientists who take special training in photography, some of them are coming from a photography based education.
Understanding both photography and forensic sciences help the photographer to understand the job requirement and what is really needed from the shots and how to fully documents the scene through his photos.
Where to Get Crime Photography Skills?
The crime scene photography is somehow similar to the documentary photography or science photography as it requires documenting special event or scene based on scientific requirements. However, it shares with the rest of photography fields the same photography basics and techniques.
Usually, the crime scene photographer does not have long time to setup his camera or try different settings before the crime scene is full of people and crowds. So, he needs to understand quickly the best setting and light conditions before start taking his shots. Additionally, the crime scene does not stay the same for long time. So, he must understand that there is not second chance to get back to the scene to take other photos.
Most of the crime scene photographers get their practical training by helping other experts or at least ask them to or mentorship. There are some courses and forensic science degrees that can help you, but this does not replace the practical training and field work.
What are the Required Equipment to Take Crime Scene Photographs?
The crime scene photographer works in very wide range of environments that can be crowded city, deserted places, forests, low light scenes and more. Thus, it is very important to be prepared for these conditions with the proper equipments. Also note that most of the cases require you to move fast, so you need light weight tools that you can move with easily. The crime scene photographer may need the following:
- Enough memory cards to take as much photos as possible
- Tripod for steady shots
- Remote control for steady shot
- Flash for low light conditions
- Telephoto lens for better zooming
- measurements tools to identify the scene element lengths
- Water protectors to protect the camera in rainy scenes
- Extra camera and lens if possible in case of emergencies
- Quick medical first aids
- Pen and note to take notes on the scene and shots
The tools are not limited to the above list, it can include any other tools that can help the crime scene photographer taking sharp and clear picture for the crime scene.
The crime scene photography is one of the challenging fields that use photography to serve the community and help solving many crime cases. So, the crime scene photographer needs to learn more and practice in both the photography and forensic sciences tracks in order to get professional and helpful results. Do not forget that the photographer in this field need to be strong enough and able to face disturbing cases such as killing cases and bloody scenes.