Forensic Photographer Job Profile

A forensic photographer is a professional and scientific photographer who takes photographs of the area of a crime. It is a forensic photographer’s responsibility to capture physical evidence available in the scene of the crime or an accident. To become a forensic photographer, you must possess a high level of knowledge in forensics and crime related procedures apart from photography skills. Knowing human anatomy is advantageous so that you can take solid pictures of a victim or suspect.

Basic Duties

The functions of a forensic photographer can either be fascinating or routine. Some of the basic responsibilities are:

  • Consult with police, hospitals or detectives to perform your duties effectively.
  • Visit the crime scene and analyze it without disrupting the investigators or disturbing any evidence.
  • Determine the composition of picture, make technical refinement and decide on the shutter speed, type of lenses and film.
  • Take photographs of the victim(s) and surrounding areas from different angles to help for evidence and forensic procedures.
  • May take fingerprints and other evidence from the scene and work in a pathology or crime lab.
  • Maintain the various equipment, like multiple functioning cameras, optical microscopes, other visual instruments, high-defined lenses and other related objects in working order.
  • Prepare visual aids and detailed charts in a standard format for the purpose of presenting them as evidence in court.
  • Remain cognizant of the latest developments in technology, such as photomicrography, macro-photography, photogrammetry, sensitometry, fluorescence and various film like UV and IR.
  • Coordinate with investigation team and physicians to successfully bring the case to fruition.
  • Prepare photographic and illustrative evidence for criminal cases like medical malpractice, injury, accidents and negligence.

Work Place and Schedule

Forensic photographers mainly work for the investigation of the crime and also for lawyers and law firms who deal with personal injury cases. Sometimes morticians, doctors and researchers can also make use of their services. If you prefer to work individually as a freelancer you might be required to work at any given hour. Even if you are employed with government agencies, you may be on-call, as and when required apart from your regular working hours. After all, crimes occur at all hours of the day and are unpredictable.

Salary

The average annual salary for these forensic photographers is calculated to be around $24,040, as of April 2010, and this can extend to $49,920.

Advancement Opportunities

As a rookie, you start as an assistant and as you gain versatility, you can advance to become a forensic photographer. If you are interested in teaching, then you can apply to a college or university to train students. Learning new technologies and computer aids will certainly prove to be a boon in the advancement of your career.

Final Word

The forensic photographer profession involves your presence at the accidents and crime scenes which can be quite graphic, disturbing and emotionally stressful. If you feel you can cope with such situations daily and you enjoy photography, then this may be an opportunity for you.