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. Most programs can be completed in 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 6% job decline for all photographers between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also reported in 2018 that photographers of all types earned $34,000 as a median yearly salary.
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.
A forensic photography certificate program develops a student's photography skills and knowledge of crime scene investigation. Graduates can work as forensic photographers and pursue certification in crime scene photography from the International Association for Identification.