Documentation Through Forensic Photography

Accurate and detailed documentation of Forensic Photography is necessary to create an optimal body of work. This requires private investigators working as forensic photographers to adhere to a process of scientific documentation as only accurately captured and documented images and photographs can serve as legitimate sources of evidence to be used within a court of law.

Accurate and detailed documentation of Forensic Photography is necessary to create an optimal body of work. This requires private investigators working as forensic photographers to adhere to a process of scientific documentation as only accurately captured and documented images and photographs can serve as legitimate sources of evidence to be used within a court of law.

When arriving at an investigation scene a Forensic Photographer must capture a body of work that is able to retell the events. A sufficient number of photographs is necessary to provide a thorough record of evidence. Notes and images should be documented simultaneously. Notes should include such information as the date, time and location, as this will help provide additional context. A body of optimal photographs is achieved once the photographs are able to stand alone without oral explanation. A viewer, should be able to view the photographs and notes, and decipher “the story.”

When arriving at an investigation scene, forensic photographers should make an initial walkthrough. During this time, all photographs should be captured without a zoom lens. If the investigation scene is subject to change, the location should be documented as quickly as possible before focusing on subject-specific objects. After the initial walkthrough, forensic photographers should photograph an investigation scene methodically, starting at one location and moving in one single direction.

Forensic photographers should also include photographs of permanent landmarks to provide the viewer with further authentication. Appropriate scales should also be used to provide context. Objects should be captured both with and without scales. If evidence must be moved, forensic photographers should take care to document the evidence in its original location. Subjects should also be captured from various points of view (front, rear, and sides) and angles (eye level, above and below), as this may include valuable information. Photographers should use whatever means possible to capture the maximum amount of detail within an image or photograph.

Forensic photographers must take great care in preserving the raw material they collect, as well as their cameras and photographic equipment. Contemporary forensic photographers store and record images using digital files. Original digital files cannot be replaced if they are lost or damaged, thus it is crucial to treat them with adequate care and protection. Digital files should be downloaded and stored within a secure electronic location. Cameras and equipment must also be properly maintained and stored in a mild and dry location. When traveling to a site and photographing an investigation scene, photographers should carry equipment in a secure kit. Kits should include all necessary equipment and tools, however remain as streamlined and accessible as possible.

The scientific documentation of forensic photography is a methodical business. Attention to detail and proper application of procedures are necessary to capture an optimal body of work from an investigation scene. Forensic photographers strive for a body of work from each investigation scene that is able to stand on its own, without explanation, and tell “the story.”

Pennington & Associates ltd. provides
forensic photography services. Private investigators are available for immediate service in Ohio throughout the cities of Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, Jackson, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Columbus, and surrounding areas. Service is immediately available in West Virginia throughout the cities of Huntington, Charleston, and surrounding areas.
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