Introduction to Crime Scene Photography


  • Edward Robinson, Associate Professor, Forensic Science Department, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Introduction to Crime Scene Photography acquaints the reader with the essentials of basic crime scene photography techniques. It looks at the concepts related to composition and relates them to the types of photographs captured by crime scene photographers. It explains how to capture images based on the exposure settings chosen to produce the effect desired. It considers the techniques used needed to control and maximize Depth of Field (DOF), and reviews how the different lenses will affect an image. Organized into seven chapters, the book begins with an overview of crime scene photography and composition, including the three cardinal rules of good photography. It then proceeds with a discussion of the benefits of bounce flash and how to utilize this technique to properly compose the subject of interest. It also explains how to capture any image necessary at the crime scene by combining the concepts of composition, nonflash exposure, DOF, flash exposure, and the use of various types of lenses. In addition, the reader is introduced to various energy sources and filters, digital processing of evidentiary photography, and legal issues related to photographs and digital images. Examples and illustrations are provided throughout to demonstrate how the concepts examined tend to form a sort of symbiotic relationship. This text will benefit scene investigators and photographers, forensic consultants, forensic scientists, undergraduate students in forensic and/or criminal justice programs, law enforcement professionals, and anyone who wants to acquire the skills needed to be a successful crime scene photographer.
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Undergraduate students in forensic and/or criminal justice programs, law enforcement training centers, police academies and local agencies. Crime scene investigators/photographers, forensic consultants, forensic scientists


Book information

  • Published: August 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-386543-4


"The book initiates the novice to all the essentials of basic crime scene photography techniques."--Evidence Technology Magazine, July-August 2013

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 An Overview of Crime Scene Photography and Composition

    Photo Documentation Forms

    Composition and Full Field of View Responsibility

    Chapter Summary

Chapter 2 Exposure

    The Proper Exposure Triangle

    Exposure Stops

    Exposure Variables

    Reciprocal Exposures

    The Reflective Light Meter

    Normal Versus Nonnormal Scenes

    Tools for Determining Proper Exposures with Tricky Scenes

    Exposure Modes


    The F/16 Sunny Day Rule

    Common Filters

    Chapter Summary

Chapter 3 Focus, Depth of Field, and Lenses


    Depth of Field (DOF)


    Chapter Summary

Chapter 4 Electronic Flash

    Manual Flash Exposure Mode

    Automatic and Dedicated/TTL Flash Exposure Modes

    Fill-In Flash

    Direct Light

    Oblique Light: Hard and Soft Shadows

    Bounce Flash

    Aperture Priority Mode for Large, Dimly Lit Scenes

    Chapter Summary

Chapter 5 Energy Filters and Sensors Ultraviolet/Visible/Near Infrared

    The Spectrum

    UV/IR Cameras

    Film and Other Camera Sensors

    Light (Energy)




    Chapter Summary

Chapter 6 Digital Processing of Evidentiary Photography

    In the Beginning

    That Really Bytes!

    Do You Give a RIP? Raster Graphics versus Vector Graphics

    The Speed of Light ... I Mean Bits

    Taking a Bite (Make that Byte) Out of Digital Imaging

    Some Like their Data Raw

    Guidelines and Standards

    Image Classifications

    The Ball is in Your Court





    Case Law

    What Goes in Must Come Out ... Sort of

    Pixels, Dots, and Samples, Oh My

    Can You See It Now?

    Image Processing Guidelines

    Supplemental Guidelines for Brush Tools (Burn and Dodge)


Chapter 7 Legal Issues Related to Photographs and Digital Images

    Photographs and Digital Images as Evidence

    A Fair and Accurate Representation of the Scene


    Relevant and Material

    Legal Implications of Digital Imaging

    Chapter Summary