Forensic Photography Procedures from a Nursing Perspective


From a Forensic Nursing Student’s Perspective this is the approach to using photography to document a crime scene.

The three-step approach is used to photograph crime scenes. The first step is taking overview photographs. The overall scene should be photographed in the state that the crime scene is in when the photographer first arrives. A complete set of photos should be taken before the scene is altered in anyway.

Photographs should be taken of the outside of the scene, showing the exterior of the building or crime scene, showing parking lots, alleyways, and pertinent landmarks. If photographing a building, pictures of the entrances, exits and the each different room should be taken. Each corner of the room should also be photographed.

The use of a wide-angled lens will help to show relation on a large scale. The second step is to take mid-range photos. For mid-range photos you would use a wide-angle lens as well to show the relation of evidence to relevant items from the scene (i.e., the body, the weapon).

The location of the evidence should be focused on. Photographs should be taken to show from one corner of the crime scene to the other help to show the layout of the scene. These photographs also show positions of any potential items of evidence.

Lastly, close-ups are used to help identify weapons, injuries or other key items related to the crime. The evidence should be detailed using close-up photos. Notes should be taken in regards to the order of the pictures taken, what each photo represents or shows, and pertinent notes related to the photo.
To illustrate, the three-step approach would be used for photographing a traffic fatality. Overview photos should show areas where the vehicles ended up after the accident. Overview would include relationship between vehicles, vehicle with stationary object, or vehicle vs. pedestrian. Landmarks from the environment should be included. Overview photos would include skid marks, photos of view that each driver had approaching the accident, and views that the witnesses had.

Mid-range photos would include multiple views of the cars involved. Multiple views should be taken in relation to where the deceased was found upon rescue to the scene. Close-up views should include the interior of the vehicle. Multiple pictures should be taken to show any contact that the body had to the car components (i.e., steering wheel, windshield).

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