This three–day course will introduce the investigating officer to the most modern methods of crime scene and forensic evidence photography. On completion of this course, the student will understand and be able to use their cameras and associated accessories and lighting in both manual and automatic modes, so that they will be able to record the scene and information accurately as they see it, and not be constrained by the camera’s automatic functions. Particular emphasis is placed on fingerprint and small object evidence photography, including tool marks and shoe/tire print impression imaging. Students will also understand shortcuts using a camera’s automation when appropriate to make their photography easier and more efficient. Typically, more that 50% of the class time is spent doing hands on camera work exercises, with close individual attention from the instructors. Exercises are demonstrated via projection through the instructors’ cameras so the class can see what they will be doing before they are asked to do it.
Topics covered in this course include:
- Overview of crime scene and accident photography.
- Camera controls- what the wheels, windows, and settings are and what they do
- Close-up and macro photography- fingerprints on a variety of surfaces, tool marks, ballistic evidence.
- Exposure- determining proper exposure, the variables that control it, how to master them.
- Depth of field, a critical concept for evidence photography- the hyperfocal distance and how to make it work for you.
- General principals of lighting, and how to add or modify existing light using flash or continuous light sources.
- Photography in dark places- photography at night of large and small areas, using both continuous light sources and electronic flash units to best advantage in difficult situations.
- Principles of and introduction to forensic/alternate light source photography for use with fluorescent fingerprint powders, and finding body fluids and sub-cutaneous bruising. Inexpensive ($35 or less) light sources are used, making this technology affordable to all.
- Foot and tire impression photography, and how to find and photograph dust prints from hands and feet.
- Simple enhancement and clarification techniques for evidentiary images
- Courtroom testimony regarding photographs and how to support the courtroom presentation of images.
- A short history of photography and photographic technology.
Students are strongly encouraged to bring note-taking materials to class. A manual is provided that contains printed versions of all presentations, a series of “how-to” photo recipes for each major exercise, and a download link is provided for other supporting material in PDF form. Included in the manual are reference materials such as the Joint IAI/FBI’s Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technology guidelines for photography, and several exemplar SOP’s. The download link also contains open source and freeware software for image enhancement, evidence preparation and presentation, and useful forms like stick-on scales, photographic scene logs, and other crime scene labelling; included also is a full office software suite. This software is free, thoroughly virus and malware checked, and can be loaded on as many computers as required license-free; the commercial equivalents of these programs would cost approximately $1,000.00 if purchased.
This is a heavily hands-on course, so you should bring the cameras you will use in your work, any lighting you have like electronic flash, LED, or other lights; a tripod is important (I have a few loaners, but using your own is better). Please make sure you have batteries charged in all cameras and flash, and bring chargers for them as well. Spare batteries are helpful. If you have the instruction manuals for your cameras and equipment, please bring them with you. You will be spending about 50% or more of your time working with your gear to do exercises on each important topic or technique we cover, so being prepared is important.
A NOTE ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Drew Webb has been teaching law enforcement photography since 1973, and was the founder of Polaroid’s Law Enforcement Products Marketing Group. This group developed specialized photo products for law enforcement including closeup cameras, portable x-ray systems for bomb work, and laboratory camera systems. He also was Senior OEM Manager for Polaroid, in which role he maintained corporate contact and developed products in concert with the major photographic companies worldwide. Drew served as Chief Operating Associate of Forensic Consulting Associates of New England LLC for 15 years, teaching and performing digital forensic photography while there, and is a well known specialist and lecturer in forensic light sources, and other cutting edge photography and biometric technologies.
Departments sending two members – $374 per person
Departments sending three or more members – $349 per person