Forensic Photography


This online course is being offered as an introductory level for the basic principles of forensic photography. The units within this course will cover a brief history of photography, a thorough understanding of the principles behind photography, and the techniques used for photographing certain types of crime scenes and evidence. Throughout the course, there will be an emphasis on the importance of photography and how it is used as a way to document, preserve, and identify evidence. Before entering a crime scene a forensic photographer should know what to look for and how to capture it. Through photographic methods and techniques, the photographer must also concentrate on creating an accurate portrayal of the scene as it is perceived.

Cost: $150.00. This course takes 25 hours to complete, on average.


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

  • Explain the history of photography
  • Describe basic camera equipment and accessories and how they are used
  • Thoroughly document crime scenes and evidence
  • Use of video cameras as a supplementary method of documenting a crime scene
  • Understand the role of photographs and digital images in the courtroom

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 4.06 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 25 hours. The course cost is $150.00 per registration. A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents:

Unit 1 – History of Photography
Unit 2 – The Fundamentals of Photography
Unit 3 – Photography Equipments and Accessories
Unit 4 – Digital Photography
Unit 5 – Film
Unit 6 – Crime Scene Photography
Unit 7 – Items of Evidence
Unit 8 – Video Cameras and Camcorders
Unit 9 – Photography in the Courtroom
Unit 10 – The Future of Photography



There are no prerequisites for this class.  A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Quicktime
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Java

There are free software plug-ins available in the Getting Started area of the course.

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page


A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.

This course requires access to a camera to complete the photography assignment. Any model of camera (dSLR, point and shoot, etc.) may be used. You must be able to upload the pictures to your computer.

Instructor Information

Kelly Ayers is an instructional coordinator with Forensic & Investigative Science Outreach. Prior to coming to WVU, Kelly was employed as a forensic services technician with the Asheville, NC Police Department. While there, she was qualified as an expert in forensic identification in North Carolina Superior Court and was published in the Journal of Forensic Identification. She has an undergraduate degree with a double major in Philosophy and Biology from Frostburg (Maryland) State University and was the first graduate of the West Virginia University Forensic Identification Program. Since joining FSI, Kelly has become an IAI Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst and received her Master of Science in Forensic Science Administration from Oklahoma State University. She is responsible for instructing several continuing education courses, courses in the Forensic & Investigative Science Minor, and crime scene related on site courses. Contact:  304-293-0323

Robin Bowen is the Assistant Director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops scientific resources, outreach opportunities, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of grant funded projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the author of Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science. She is a former advisory member of the Outreach and Communication Interagency Working Group (IWG) under the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC) on Forensic Science. She is also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education. Robin is the online course instructor for Ethics in Forensic Science, Fibers and Textiles for Forensic Science, and Transition to Leadership. Contact:, 304-293-6214

Registration Information 

Click on the "Register Now" button at the top to register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Check our FAQ page for refund policy and class access information.

Group Discount

We offer discounts for groups over 10. All individuals in the group need to register for the same course to take advantage of the discount. Discount rates vary by group size as follows:

  • 10-20 people 10% off
  • 21-30 people 15% off
  • 31-40 people 20% off
  • Above 40, contact for special pricing

Interested in a group discount?  Please contact the Continuing & Professional Education office at (304) 293-7570 or email us at for a coupon code.

Check our FAQ and Refund Policy for refund and class access information.


H. Ruslander"I just completed 2 online certificate courses, Shooting Reconstruction and Forensic Photography. I feel both were very informative for the audience it aims for. Hopefully, the school will keep up the good work and continue to offer such top notch classes to the forensic fields."

Matt Romaine

"First, I would like to thank you for offering the Forensic Photography course online. This morning was the first chance I had to put the knowledge I learned to use. We had a very serious motor vehicle crash involving a milk delivery truck and a tractor trailer. The driver of the tractor trailer ended up having his right leg amputated and sustained several internal injuries. His prognosis is still unknown as of this email. As luck would have it, a local media photographer took a photo of me in action.

Had I not completed this course, I would have never thought to capture specific angles and items at the scene. Unfortunately, due to our department policy, I cannot share with you the photos I took of the crash scene, as they are considered evidence.

Because I was so satisfied with this class, I intend to take other courses as time permits."