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Crime Scene Photography Tips -- to Save You Money

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 31 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2004 Pages: 38,40-42,44
Kerdall Remboldt
Ronnie Garrett
Date Published
February 2004
5 pages
This article presents some effective ideas in crime scene photography equipment.
When investigators and crime scene photographers lack the proper equipment or training, they can become frustrated. However, law enforcement personnel have developed or obtained ideas for photography equipment that can be effective and offer cost-savings. Many of these ideas and suggestions have been determined to be effective. This article briefly describes 11 such ideas in crime scene photography. Crime scene markers can be made using portions of laundry detergent bottles. By adding a magnetic strip, the markers become magnetic and can be used on vertical metal surfaces. If magnetic strips are attached to photo rulers they also can be used on vertical metal surfaces. Sometimes agencies cannot afford to purchase metal evidence numbers, if this is the case the local area sign shop or the local art framing shop can be contacted to obtain scrap pieces of framing mat board. In addition, a computer can be used to create numbers that can be glued onto the tents created. A photo exposure card can be created to list camera settings to adjust the camera and eliminate guessing what shutter speed and aperture to set the camera. Tripod legs of cameras often sink into sand, mud, or snow. To avoid this, old CDs can be used by placing approximately three of them under the feet of the tripod. CD's can also be used as reflectors when photographing smaller articles of evidence. To produce soft, pleasing colored backgrounds for articles of evidence, small pieces of framing mat board can be obtained from the local art framing shops. When photographing injured or distraught children, the use of a bubble wand and a bottle of bubble liquid may be beneficial. For camera rain gear, a clear plastic bag should be kept handy and placed over the hand, picking up the camera and bringing the bag forward to cover the camera. The camera can be used as a magnifying glass by removing the lens from the camera, adjusting the aperture to the largest opening, holding one end of the camera lens close to the object and looking through the opposite end of the lens. To save money on development costs, agencies should consider purchasing a film scanner. Lastly, to build a light box, agencies might consider an old lighted advertising sign, a white plastic surface about the size of a fluorescent ceiling light. There are many things that can be done to help make the job of documenting crime scenes easier.