Crime Scene Photography Training and Education Program Info

Those interested in crime scene photography, also known as a forensic photography, typically complete a training program in general photography and then apply to work with an investigative police unit. Yet, some schools do offer forensic photography certificate programs through continuing education courses, which generally take a semester or less to complete.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in forensic photography provide the technical training necessary to take accurate photographic evidence at the scenes of crimes, accidents and even natural disasters. However,since the curriculum is uncommon, requirements for admission are often unique to the program. Some programs are intended for experienced law enforcement officials who want to enhance their knowledge of the field, while others are designed for photographers who are interested in crime scene photography.

  • Program Levels in Forensic Photography: Certificate
  • Prerequisites: vary based upon program goals
  • Program Length: one semester or less

Forensic Photography Certificate Program

Students enrolled in this curriculum learn how to select the appropriate camera equipment, lighting and composition for each individual crime scene investigation. They also learn how to work within an investigative unit by following regulations and maintaining accuracy. As a result, course topics generally include:

  • Digital photographic equipment
  • Introduction to forensic photography
  • Evidence photography techniques
  • Digital image processing
  • Photogrammetric principles
  • Chain of custody and protocols

Popular Career Options

A forensic photography certificate program can prepare individuals to work solely as a crime scene photographer, but can also act as an additional credential in the following types of positions:

  • Police officer
  • Forensic investigator
  • Private detective
  • Freelance photographer

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not make a distinction between forensic or commercial photographers. However, it estimated a 4% job growth for all photographers between 2012 and 2022. The BLS also reported in 2014 that photographers of all types earned $30,490 as a median yearly salary.

Certification Options

The International Association for Identification (IAI) offers certification in the field of crime scene photography. To earn certification in the field, professionals must be employed in the field of forensic science and must have at least three years of experience working in photography. They should also have completed at least 40 hours of photography courses, such as those offered through a forensic photography certificate program.

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