Crime scene photography, also known as forensic photography, is essentially the use of photographic methods and techniques to aid legal investigations. As well as creating a permanent visual record of the crime scene in the state in which it was originally found, forensic photographs will play a huge role throughout the entire investigation. They can act as triggers for both witnesses and investigators when trying to remember details of the event and scene. Such photographs will also be greatly beneficial in reconstructing the events which took place. Finally, the photographs taken at the scene can be called upon in court to support verbal and physical evidence, and give jurors a clear image of the crime.
Forensic Photographers produce a permanent visual record of accidents and crime scenes for use as evidence in court. Forensic photographs are used for measurement or analysis, to accompany forensic reports, articles or research papers.
They must be able to produce detailed recordings of all the available evidence at the scene, including overview photographs as well as accurate images of tyre marks, fingerprints, footprints, blood spatters, bullet holes and other unique evidence.
They must also be able to take detailed photographs of injuries sustained through accidents or assaults and may be required to photograph dead bodies. Much of the work is routine, but it can be emotionally distressing.
Forensic photography is an integral part of criminal investigation procedures throughout the world. Photographers must therefore follow a standard methodology and produce images to a rigorous technical standard so that they can be used as evidence in hearings, tribunals and court proceedings. Forensic Photographers are expected to work efficiently in distressing and challenging environments, without disturbing evidence or interfering with the work of other investigators.
Many Forensic Photographers are forensic scientists employed directly by the police or a specialist forensic services company. There are also other independent Forensic Photographers who provide services to lawyers, insurance companies and some police forces. However, most of these will have worked as Forensic Photographers with a police force or the Forensic Science Service before branching out on their own.