Case Closed! A Case Study of CSI Evidentiary Photography

Case Closed! A Case Study of CSI Evidentiary Photography
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-10-05
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Case Closed! A Case Study of CSI Evidentiary Photography
Unit 2Transcript: Case Closed! A Case Study of CSI Evidentiary Photography
Unit 3Workbook: Case Closed! A Case Study of CSI Evidentiary Photography
Unit 4Recording: Case Closed! A Case Study of CSI Evidentiary Photography

How actors portray investigation, particularly evidentiary photography, tends to be misrepresentations of reality. This session walks us through the what really happens in evidentiary photography including challenges, best practices, and a case example to demonstrate its value in the investigative process.

Leading the webinar is Andrew R. Reitnauer, a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst (CSCSA) through the International Association for Identification and the CEO, lead trainer, and instructional designer of Delta Forensics. He is also an adjunct professor at four universities, instructing courses on Crime Scene Investigation, Fingerprint Analysis, and Criminalistics. He’s worked in various roles within the forensic laboratory system in the last 18 years.

Points he covered on this webinar include:

  • How evidentiary photography is often overlooked in crime scene investigations despite the value it can provide in the investigative process.
  • Instances when processing evidence in the laboratory is not feasible and must be done on-scene instead.
  • The inaccuracies with how media represents the investigative process, particularly evidentiary photography.
  • The three elements that anyone working in evidentiary photography must possess.
  • What evidentiary photography is and how it is done.
  • The technical requirements for evidence-quality photography.
  • The most common problems encountered with evidentiary problems and ways to overcome this by adjusting some settings and how the photos are physically taken.
    • Inability to “fill the frame” which results in less clarity and photo quality.
    • Having a portion of the photo out of focus.
    • When photos appear grainy.
  • Considerations to take into account when taking evidentiary photography to ensure it AFIS-eligible.
  • The importance of having the camera mounted for evidentiary photography to ensure image quality.
  • The value of understanding lighting sources and how to leverage lighting to produce optimum results.
  • Using direct reflective lightning to visualize impressions.
    • What the light source should be and how it should be directed to the surface to produce quality images.
    • An example showing what the impression will look like and using barrier filters to increase contrast.
  • A case example that demonstrates the value of evidentiary photography in solving a homicide case that lacked other forms of evidence.
    • The facts of the case and the lone evidence that served as a link to the suspect.
    • Considerations when photographing the impressions and the actual photos captured.
    • How the bi-chromatic fingerprint powder process failed, highlighting the importance of photographing at every step.
    • A rundown of the evidentiary photography techniques applied, and the patience required to come up with high-quality AFIS-eligible and court-admissible images.

Questions from the webinar participants are about:

  • Suggestions for using phone cameras to take crime scene images.
  • At what level are pores considered in identification.
  • Limits of photographing at 90 degrees, deviating from this for latent prints, and distortions that come with photographing at an angle.
  • Alternatives to tripods and the use of flashes.
  • Decreasing glare and reflection in photos.
  • How equalization can impact the eligibility of an image.
  • Whether the impressions were enhanced with powders in the case study.
  • Obtaining the metadata for photos.


Other Webinars with this Presenter


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars and recordings on the JCH Platform.


Audience Comments

  • “I capture latent prints regularly, and the myth of needing a 90-degree perspective [in every case and without fail] has truly burdened my setup. Thank you very much for clarifying it otherwise.” — Michael
  • “The fact that when photographing latent prints, you are now able to do them at an angle other than 90. For the longest time that has been taught and drilled that all latent photographs for comparison needed to be taken at 90.” — Tyrus
  • “Thank you, Andrew, outstanding presentation!!!!!” — Barbara
  • “The information about processing fingerprints was the best for me.” — Kevin
  • “It was good to learn about some of the different photo graph techniques and what we should be on the lookout for and how we can make adjustments to better enhance the photo for use of evidentiary value.” — Chelsea
  • “Excellent topic and presentation. Thanks to ALL.” — Robert
  • “I have found lightning to be the hardest part of crime scene photography.” — William
  • “Dynamic presentation for getting the best out of crime scene photography. He taught me to utilize all possible options for evidence recovery. Basic crime scene identification.” — Travis


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