Crime Scene Photography – CJUS 361

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/09/2021

Course Description

Students will learn and apply principles of photography in digital format. Within the field of forensic science, the use and understanding of photography is essential. The course will focus on the areas of aerial, underwater, and macro photography as used to document and present criminal investigations. Students must have access to a digital camera that has aperture settings (example: Sony P200) and a tripod.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The purpose of this course is to give students a technological foundation that will be needed for a vocation in forensic Crime Scene Investigation concentrating on the specific area of crime scene photography. This course will teach students to apply the principles of photography directly to crime scene investigation and the digital documentation of evidence. Students will master certain skills that pertain directly to capturing evidence, and it will support students who are exploring fields within the legal justice system by providing an understanding of the what, why, and how evidence is photographed.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Describe the basic functions of the digital camera and how they apply to crime scene photography.
    2. Utilize camera settings such as aperture and shutter speed in combination with alternative light sources to improve quality of photographic images.
    3. Perform successful photography in various environments overcoming various challenges such as: darkness, shadows, and reflective surfaces while still effectively capturing evidence through digital photography.
    4. Apply the camera settings for close-up photography (macro) resulting in a clear representation of very small items of evidence (i.e., latent fingerprints).
    5. Explain how a Christian ethic can provide theoretical underpinnings for the implementation of forensic science and crime scene photography.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (2)

There are 2 Discussions in this course. The student will post their discussion thread (400 words, 2 scholarly sources) with all references appropriately cited in current APA format. The student will then reply to 2 classmates’ threads for each Discussion (200 word minimum for each response, 1 scholarly reference). Discussion responses can include a student’s opinion as it is offered in a constructive and professional manner. 

Presentation Assignments (4)

The student will complete 4 Presentation Assignments in this course. Each Presentation Assignment will require a series of photographs (i.e. depth of field, paint with light, indoor, and outdoor) with each photograph listing the ISO, shutter, and aperture settings.  Students must demonstrate comprehension of the concepts as well as photography skills when photographing  forensic evidence.

Introduction Photo Assignment

The student will submit an original current photograph taken with the camera being used for the photography course.

Presentation: Final Project Assignment

The student will collect all previous photography assignments, including any improvements and additional photographs to compile a final project. The presentation will be detailed and each slide will contain a photograph with the following information: ISO, shutter, and aperture Settings. Auto settings with flash are adequate for some photographs but manual settings will be necessary in some situations.

Quizzes (3)

There are 3 quizzes in the course. Quizzes will be open-book/open-notes and questions are taken from the reading assignments, Discussion topics, and presentations. Quizzes consist of true/false and multiple-choice questions.

Quiz: Final Exam

One final exam will be a comprehensive quiz covering all the information contained in the three quizzes. The Exam is open-book/open-notes, has true/false and multiple-choice questions, and questions are taken from the reading assignments, presentations, Discussion topics, and prior quizzes.