Advanced Crime Scene Photography  book cover
2nd Edition

Advanced Crime Scene Photography

ISBN 9781482211863
Published January 15, 2015 by CRC Press
400 Pages 247 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

The ability to thoroughly and properly document a crime scene through photography is a must for crime scene investigators. Regardless of the time of day, weather conditions, or confines in which a piece of evidence is concealed, photographs must be true and accurate. Capturing all the pertinent information and evidence for use during an investigation and testimony is critically important. Evidence is commonly found in less-than-photographically-friendly environments. Possessing the knowledge and skills necessary to properly photograph those difficult-to-image subjects is vitally important.

Advanced Crime Scene Photography explains how to identify crime scene challenges, design plans to capture images correctly, and execute those plans successfully. Seamlessly integrating photography principles with corresponding applications in crime scene photography—moving progressively from basic to more advanced concepts—this book demonstrates how to record photographs in low-light conditions, including the use of flash and painting with light techniques. The book also addresses a variety of topics including impression evidence, fire scenes, laser trajectories, macro-photography, and ultraviolet and infrared photography.

Offering tips on everything from creating compelling photos on a limited budget to the photography of Luminol reactions, this Second Edition:

  • Features a new chapter on photographing fire scenes, presenting solutions to problems commonly faced by fire investigators
  • Includes the addition of review questions and photography assignments at the end of each chapter
  • Contains more than 250 full-color images and photographs

Anyone can take a photograph in perfect lighting, with the subject sitting out in the open and already positioned for the best composition. Advanced Crime Scene Photography, Second Edition provides crime scene investigators with a comprehensive, step-by-step resource on crime scene photography under the most difficult and adverse conditions.

Table of Contents





Review of Basic Photographic Concepts

Creating a Lasting Impression

Thinking Outside of the Box

Advanced Crime Scene Photography

Basic Photography Concepts–Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Photography Equipment


Digital versus Film


Lens Filters and Attachments

Tripods and Other Camera Supports

Identification Markers

Electronic and Strobe Flashes

Cable Releases

Lens Attachments

Hard Cases, Soft Cases, and Backpacks


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Crime Scene Photography

Preparation and General Photography Tips

Capturing the Impossible Shot

Kodak’s Top 10 Tips for Better Photographs


Overall Crime Scene Photography

Panoramic View Compositions

Midrange or Evidence Establishing Photography

Depth of Field

Adding Artistic Flair

Close-Up Photography

Close-Focused Images Recorded at the Crime Scene

Close-Up Images Captured after Leaving the Crime Scene

Lighting Close-Focused Subjects


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Examination-Quality Photography

Raw and Digital Imaging


Fingerprint Photography

Footwear and Tire Wear Impressions Photography

2-Dimensional (2D) Impressions

3-Dimensional (3D) Impressions

Painting with Light on a Macro Scale


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Nighttime and Low-Light Photography

Attributes of Light

Reciprocity Failure: Film versus Digital

Working Low-Light and Nighttime Crime Scenes


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Flash Photography

Guide Numbers

Flash Operation

Built-In or Pop-Up Flashes

Off-the-Camera Electronic Flash Photography

Benefits of Flash Photography

Detriments of Flash Photography

Using Electronic Flash in a Variety of Low-Light Conditions

Directionality of Light from Electronic Flashes


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Painting with Light

Types of Lighting

Painting with Light Using Electronic Flashes

Painting with Light Using Flashlights

Painting with Light Using Alternate Light Sources


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Bloodstain Photography

Complete Scene Documentation

Photography Tools and Aids Used in Bloodstain Photography

Laser Levels and Bloodstain Documentation

Quadrant Mapping of Bloodstain Evidence

Necessary Tools

Photographing Bloodstains on Difficult Surfaces

Electronic Flash and Bloodstain Evidence

Glass and Blood

Magically Disappearing Bloodstain

Close Focusing

Luminol, Bluestar®, and Other Chemiluminescent Blood Reagents

Necessary Equipment

Bloodstains and Colored Substratum


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Photography of Shooting Incidents

General Photographic Concepts When Documenting Shooting Scenes

Examination Quality Photography of Gunfire Incidents

Rods, Strings, and Lasers

Trajectory Rods



Daytime Laser Reconstruction


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Ultraviolet and Infrared Photography

Ultraviolet Light Photography

Forgery and Document Alterations

Fibers and Other Trace Evidence

Gunpowder Residue

Semen, Blood, and Other Bodily Fluids

Bruises and Bite Marks

Fingerprint Enhancements

Osseous Matter

Infrared Photography

Tattoo Evidence

Forgeries and Document Alterations

Bloodstain Documentation

Gunshot Residue


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Photographing Fire Scenes


Test Questions

Photography Assignments

Additional Readings

Answer Key to Chapter End Questions


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Christopher D. Duncan is a senior police officer with the Identification Division, Crime Scene Unit of the Houston Police Department. He holds a BA from George Mason University and an MA from the University of Houston–Clear Lake; has more than 2,100 hours of training specific to the documentation, collection, and processing of physical evidence; and is a graduate of the National Forensic Academy. An IAI and IABPA member, he is an IAI board-certified senior crime scene analyst, bloodstain pattern analyst, and forensic photographer. He also instructs for the Texas Engineering Extension Service, a member of the Texas A&M University System.


About the Previous Edition

"... a well-written, comprehensive, and excellently detailed book on the practicalities of crime scene photography."
—Max M. Houck, Ph.D, in Journal of Forensic Sciences