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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: CJAD 303
Course Title: Crime Scene Photography
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Techniques and methods of crime scene photography, focusing on practical applications of how crime scene and forensic imaging are conducted utilizing a digital single lens reflex camera (D-SLR). Topics include the fundamentals of photography in providing a systematic approach in the documentation of crime scenes and evidentiary items required for testimonial and reconstruction purposes. The class will include functions and operations of a D-SLR as applied by law enforcement. Graded practical exercises will be conducted so students can demonstrate their skill development.

Note: Students taking this course are required to use a single lens reflex camera (D-SLR). No film, point-&-shoot digital cameras, hybrid digital cameras, or pro-consumer digital cameras are allowed to be used in this course. Embedded Exif information will be reviewed by instructor of all images submitted during this course. Images are turned in "as is" having no enhancements done by imaging software.


Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

CJAD 101

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Fall and Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable textbooks are available from various publishers and the following list is not comprehensive. Other textbooks may be judged by individual instructors to be more suitable in meeting course objectives, many current textbooks have companion websites, and the instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology. It is suggested that instructors offering this course consider text(s) required for certification testing by The International Association for Identification to meet their "Forensic Photography Certification" requirements.

A Short Course in Digital Photography 2nd
By London & Stone (Prentice Hall)
Crime Scene Imaging and Documentation
By Himmel and Lenderle (MLHPIX Publishing)
Crime Scene Photography
By Robinson (Academic Press)
Practical Forensic Digital Imaging - Applications and Techniques
By Jones (CRC Press)
Advanced Crime Scene Photography
By Duncan (CRC Press)
Course Objectives
  • To appreciate the importance of proper preservation of crime scenes by digital (D-SLR) means.
  • To become exposed to common terminology, equipment, methods and procedures connected with digital applications in crime scene photography and forensic imaging.
  • To understand practical applications of digital imaging in law enforcement and legal protocols of digital authentications.
  • To have a working knowledge of functions/operation capabilities of a D-SLR for crime scene and forensic applications.
  • To have a working knowledge of required resolutions for "examination quality" digital images as required by crime scene labs.
Measurable Learning
  • Explain and demonstrate how crime scene photography is conducted using a D-SLR.
  • Demonstrate the proper use of a D-SLR in making digital images.
  • Demonstrate a hands-on working knowledge of the functionss and operations for a D-SLR.
  • Demonstrate skill development in crime scene images via graded hands-on practical exercises using a D-SLR.
  • Demonstrate the systematic approach in imaging of a crime scene from general to specific; overall, medium, and close-up images.
  • Emplain/demonstrate terminology used in digital imaging for reports and testimonial purposes.
  • Demonstrate proper resolutions required to produce "examination quality" digital images.
  • Identify and analyze legal issues in digital imaging applications and demonstrate how crime scene photography is conducted using a D-SLR.
Topical Outline:
  • History of photography in law enforcement
  • D-SLR camera functions and applied operation menus
  • Proper depth-of-field
  • Stop-action as a result of shutter speed applications
  • Lenses and proper selection
  • Light and exposure issues and problems
  • Qualitites of light
  • Electronic flash & painting with light techniques
  • Capture of "examination quality" images
  • Systematic approach to crime scene imaging
  • Legal issues in law enforcement in the use of digital imaging
  • Terminology used in digital imaging for reports and testimonial applications

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Barry Langford Date: August 28, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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