Learn How to Become a Forensics Photographer
A forensics photographer might already be a working police officer or investigator, transitioning to this position, or may be a civilian photographer. Either way, expert knowledge of not just photography, but investigative police work and crime scene investigation is necessary. There is no specific certificate or degree required, and the experience or education required may vary from employer to employer. However, as much experience as possible in police work, forensics, crime scene investigation and photography would make an applicant more competitive.
The International Association for Identification (IAI) offers a certification for forensic photographers that have at least three years of photography experience, 40 hours of classroom photography courses from a college, police academy, FBI academy, IAI training course or related institutions. Eligibility for IAI certification as a forensic photographer also requires the applicant to be currently employed in the forensic science field where forensic photography is one of his/her duties. Education programs in forensic science, law enforcement, criminal justice, crime scene investigation or criminology along with a passion and additional courses in photography can help get started in this exciting and technical career.
Forensic Photographer Job Duties
Forensic means "having to do with law" and forensic scientists work to solve legal issues with science. Forensic photographers use photography to support evidence in a legal case in a court of law. They usually work for police departments, a coroner's office or sheriff's department. They take photographs of evidence and accident or crime scenes, and use digital imaging to enhance images like fingerprints, that can help in a case. They may also be present at a coroner's examination, taking pictures for detectives. Being a forensic photographer requires more than basic photography skills. They need to know precisely how the picture they take can accurately, or inaccurately, reflect the scene, and attention to detail is imperative. Like other police work, there are different shifts and work can involve calls at any hour.
Forensic Photographer Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for forensic science technicians is $52,840, while photographers earn $28,490. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Florida Criminal Justice Schools
Campuses: Orange Park
- Associate's - Criminal Investigations
- Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigation
- Associate of Science in Crime Scene Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Forensic Investigation - Information Technology
- Bachelor of Arts in Financial Crime Investigation
Campuses: Altamonte Springs
- Associate of Science in Private Investigation Services
Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Schools
- Associate's in Criminal Justice - Cybercrime
- Associate in Specialized Business - Security and Investigation
Online Criminal Justice Schools
- Bachelor of Arts - Social and Criminal Justice - Forensics (Online)
Georgia Criminal Justice Schools
- Associate of Occupational Science - Security & Investigation