Forensics Photographer Interview

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Forensics Photographer Interview

Sarah
I have an interview as a forensics photographer at the police dept., and they have asked me to bring in five samples of my photography. I'm a freelance photojournalist, but haven't studied forensics. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should bring? I'm thinking maybe I should go shoot some tire marks, injuries, serial numbers, and fingerprints. But I don't have experience shooting these things and am a bit worried that if I don't do it to their standard, it might hurt more than help.

Any suggestions or advice?

Thanks!!!
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Re: Forensics Photographer Interview

CSI-steve

Sarah—

All candidates will have the standard photographs to show and you should too. But few will show photographs that will illustrate their ability to do special techniques that are needed on the job. The first two photographs I list below will really impress them because they are valuable techniques. Be sure to explain how you accomplished the photographs as you show them, further demonstrating your competency.

I would suggest the following photographs:

  1. Painting with light. Photograph a large outdoor scene at night. Include a "before" (single flash) and an "after" (painting with light) photograph. Painting with light is a tremendous technique for covering large crime or traffic collision scenes at night. It can be done quite well with digital photography. You can read about the technique at: Nighttime Accident and Crime Scene Photography "Painting With Light"


  2. Flash fill. Again, include a "before" (no flash fill) and an "after" (with flash fill) photograph. This technique is useful when you need to show detail in both highlight (direct sunlight) and shadow areas. You can read about the technique at: Flash Fill in Crime Scene and Evidence Photography


  3. Footwear impression or tire track impression. Make sure you use the proper technique including positioning your film plane parallel to the impression and a scale on the same plane as the impression. Watch the following video to learn the proper technique: Photographing Footwear Impressions and read the following: General Guidelines for Photographing Footwear Impressions


  4. Fingerprint. Close-up photography is a large part of evidence photography. Make sure the fingerprint is in razor sharp focus and you have a scale on the same plane as the fingerprint. Read the following: General Guidelines for Capturing Latent Impressions Using a Digital Camera and Documentation of Friction Ridge Impressions


  5. Injury. Most people wash out detail with too much flash. A well exposed injury photograph will be good choice. Include a scale in the photograph.

I would encourage you to look over the articles on the Crime Scene and Evidence Photography page of this website, and read some of the chapters of the Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technology (SWGIT) Documents. During your interview tell them what you read to prepare yourself for the job.

If you have time, you might get a copy of my book, the Crime Scene and Evidence Photographer's Guide for more information.

You have my best wishes for success in your interview.

—Steve

Sarah wrote
I have an interview as a forensics photographer at the police dept., and they have asked me to bring in five samples of my photography. I'm a freelance photojournalist, but haven't studied forensics. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should bring? I'm thinking maybe I should go shoot some tire marks, injuries, serial numbers, and fingerprints. But I don't have experience shooting these things and am a bit worried that if I don't do it to their standard, it might hurt more than help.
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Re: Forensics Photographer Interview

charles kubajak
In reply to this post by Sarah
Sarah,
I am a retired CSI and Steve has given you some valuable information. When I was hiring for such a position I was swamped with photos. Just pick out the best of no more than ten, but take all with you in case they ask for more.

Good Luck CSI-Chuck