A forensic photographer uses cameras and other imaging technologies (such as infrared) to create images of crime scenes, accidents and evidence. The photographs she creates will be used in conjunction with other forensic data to try to solve legal cases and may be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
The annual average salary for a forensic photographer varies widely. While SalaryList.com puts it at approximately £22,750, the Schools in the USA website cites a figure of £15,600. The disparity is probably caused by the fact that many forensic photographers work freelance and their income may vary year to year, making comparative calculations difficult.
One factor that can affect the salary level of a forensic photographer is the state in which he pursues his profession. In its survey of salaries as of December 2010, SalaryList.com found an average salary in Illinois of £27,286, but found the average in Tennessee is only £15,426.
Forensic photographers tend to either work freelance or on the payroll of a coroner's office, police department or sheriff's department (these public institutions tend to offer good benefits packages, including an excellent pension provision). Further employment opportunities may be in the private sector, working for a firm of lawyers.
There is no formal training course required in order to become a forensic photographer. Some universities that offer criminology or forensics degrees may include forensic photography as a module or specialisation, but many forensic photographers have moved into the field from other photographic professions. Gaining experience is one important aspect of securing the best salary, as is a thorough knowledge and technical skill concerning cameras, computers, image production and -- to further enhance income potential -- technical image technologies such as infrared and ultraviolet.
The Legal Criminal Justice Schools website estimates that demand for experienced professionals in all aspects of forensics, including forensic photography, will rise 31 per cent in the years until 2018. Such a rise in demand should see a commensurate rise in compensation levels.