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.
With the exception of life-saving efforts, nothing should be moved or even touched at the crime scene until the forensic photographer has arrived. Extensive shots should be taken of the entire scene, ranging from overall, mid-range, to close-up photographs, including all items of significance and all entrances and exits. The various ranges used are necessary to first capture an object relative to its surroundings, and then document any details close-up. The exterior of the property should be documented from various angles, along with any noted scene irregularities. If there is a corpse at the scene, the victim will be photographed copiously in situ, with particular attention being paid to any injuries, weapons and personal items. It may also be advisable to photograph any crowds of onlookers gathering outside the crime scene, as members of the crowd may very well be implicated in the crime under investigation. Likewise, nearby vehicles can also be photographed. Scales will often be placed in the shot alongside the piece of evidence to provide immediate information regarding the relative size and position of objects