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Review 3.3.2.

  • Identify features of abstract photography
  • Classify photographs as abstract or fine art
  • Identify tips and techniques that can be used to capture abstract photographs
  • Give an opinion about the emotions and ideas expressed in an abstract photograph
  • Compose an abstract photograph

ADD reminders about tests/projects/anything else



Scientific Photography

Vocab: chain of custody, endoscopy, forensic photography, medical photography, metaphase, mitosis, scientific research photography

Learners can...

  • Identify camera features used by scientific photographers
  • Identify forensic, medical, and scientific research photographs
  • Describe how photographs are used in forensics, the medical field, and scientific research
  • Identify the guidelines for forensic photography
  • Identify the training required for a career in medical or scientific research photography


Marvin Heiferman

"Photography, born of and shaped by science, transformed the nature of observation and stretched the parameters of knowledge and humanity's sense of itself. Photographs were immediately marshaled into service to help answer the most practical and existential questions, What is that? Where and who are we? What happens next?"

Scientific photographs capture the world the same way human eyes see it. As shown in the image of the eye to the right, photos freeze a moment so that someone who was not present for an event can observe the moment later. Photographs also allow viewers to relive a moment they witnessed whenever they want. For this reason, photography is instrumental in forensics and medical and scientific research, where accuracy in documentation, and specifically in documenting change over time, is important.

Advances in camera capabilities make forensic, medical, and scientific photography possible and increasingly more accurate and detailed. Camera lenses can produce pictures with varying degrees of focus. In addition, powerful zoom lenses can capture microscopic details and long-distance images that would otherwise be impossible to see with the human eye. Camera shutters can be used to stop the flow of time and create a still photograph of a fast-moving object. For example, a photo can freeze the movement caused by a hummingbird's wing flutter, as shown by the image on the left.

Capabilities of Cameras

šŸ”„Forensic photography uses photographs to record the initial appearance of a crime scene and any physical evidence that is present, which helps investigators understand what happened and identify suspects. Forensic photographs also help investigators revisit crime scenes long after the actual location has been cleaned up, sometimes even years later.Forensic photographers are often integral members of the forensics department in law enforcement agencies, such as local and state police departments, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and many other agencies under the United States Department of Justice. Besides these government agencies, there are also private companies that offer forensic laboratories and photography services.

šŸ”„Forensic Photography


Crime scenes should be left untouched until forensic scientists and photographers have recorded all evidence. Forensic photographers must capture crime scenes in the exact state in which they were found, to follow the chain of custody. This documentation records the care, analysis, and transfer of evidence during a legal investigation, ensuring the collection of accurate evidence. If the chain of custody is not properly recorded, the evidence collected may not be admissible in court.

Guidelines for Forensic Photography

While capturing forensic images, photographers must consider conditions such as lighting and weather, which affect the quality of the photographs captured. In addition, they should use camera settings that help them capture the scene as clearly and accurately as possible.

Evaluate the Conditions

Forensic photographers should capture the entire crime scene using wide-angle shots and then take close-up pictures of individual pieces of evidence to help investigators visualize the whole scene from various angles.

Use Wide-Angle and Close-Up Shots

Photographs should be taken at right, or 90Ā°, angles to eliminate potential distance distortions and allow clear visualization. In addition, each piece of evidence should be photographed with a size scale to signify size and then without it to ensure that the scale obscured nothing in the first photo.

Use Right Angles and Scaling

Forensic photographers must first capture a shot of the entire crime scene before the evidence markers are placed to ensure that no one has altered the crime scene. Then, evidence markers can be placed on the scene. The photographer should capture the scene again in a detailed manner after the markers have been placed.

Capture the Scene Before and After Evidence Markers Are Placed

Alternate light sources, such as lasers, blue or green lights, and colored filters, should be applied to detect fingerprints, bite marks, footprints, and other evidence that is not visible in natural light.

Use Special Imaging Techniques


šŸ”„Medical photography is an essential activity in the medical field, in which detailed images are captured and kept as records to track patients' conditions. Medical photographers are responsible for using various photography techniques and equipment to produce high-quality images of healthcare scenes. Medical photography can be a promising career for a professional photographer who is also interested in medicine.

šŸ”„Medical Photography

One of the ways photography has contributed to medical science is by helping diagnose internal medical conditions so doctors can determine a treatment plan. The investigation is carried out by inserting a long thin tube through a natural opening in the body, such as the mouth, or an incision in any other body part. This process is known as an endoscopy. With advancements in technology, instead of having a tube inserted through the mouth, a patient can now swallow the pill-sized device shown in the photograph to the left. This device is called an endoscopic pill camera. The camera captures images as it passes down the digestive tract. It is especially helpful in taking images of the small intestine, an area often difficult to reach through the traditional endoscopic method.

Most often, medical photographs are captured on-site in hospitals and healthcare centers. Medical photographs can be of surgical or clinical procedures. These photographs are meant to assist health care professionals in diagnosing and treating various injuries and illnesses. They can also be used for teaching purposes or to evaluate the quality of care that patients receive at a facility.

Qualifications for pursuing a career in medical photography include a degree in photography and courses in medical terminology, biology, anatomy, and chemistry. In addition, having some prior knowledge of and experience in using photographic and lighting techniques can be incredibly beneficial for a medical photographer. Strong hand-eye coordination is also essential to ensure sharp, detail-oriented images. To become an endoscopy technician, you need a high school diploma and a certificate from a health care training program or an Associate of Science degree in surgical technology. Like forensic photographers, medical photographers must follow strict ethical guidelines to access confidential patient information.

Skills Required to Become a Medical Photographer

šŸ”„Scientific Research Photography

šŸ”„Scientific research photography is a field in which the physics and chemistry of scientific specimens are captured in detail. The primary purpose of scientific research photography is to record data for the scientific, medical, and business communities and for the government. But there is more to scientific photography than meets the eye. Scientific photographers must have a creative eye to understand how to capture the unique qualities of scientific specimens and processes through the lens of a camera and present them in a captivating way.

Scientific photographers might photograph a process to show the different stages of, growth of, or impact of various factors on a specimen over time. For example, the photograph on the left shows a plant cell undergoing mitosis. Mitosis is the process by which a cell divides itself to become two identical cells. Mitosis involves six stages, of which the metaphase stage is shown in this photograph and highlighted with the yellow box. In the metaphase stage, the strands of chromosomes align in the equatorial plane of a cell.

Scientific research photographers may be asked to photograph various subjects, including nuclear science, engineering innovation, and even space exploration. These are complex subjects, and to get the picture a client wants, the photographer has to understand the subject. For this reason, a scientific research photographer should hold a degree in photography and have knowledge of different areas of science. Many scientific research photographers hold dual degrees in photography and an area of science or engineering. For example, one of the most famous wildlife photographers of this century is the Canadian photographer Paul Nicklen. He is a marine biologist and wildlife photographer who advocates for wildlife and marine conservationism through his underwater photographs of marine wildlife.Some scientific photographers may even pursue photography after having studied a completely different field. This was the case for the American photographer Berenice Abbott (1898 to 1991), who studied theatre, sculpture, and painting but was well known for her scientific photographs, among other photography styles. Her scientific contributions included developing photographs that went on to be used in high school physics textbooks.

Skills Required to Become a Scientific Photographer

šŸ”„Work in the scientific research field may involve photographing magnified bacteria, super-fine particles in a lab, genome research data, hybrid fuel ingredients, and so onā€”the potential subject matter is endless. It may involve working in a lab, in the jungle, on the edge of an active volcano, or even under water! The job of a scientific research photographer is to be prepared to capture subjects in an expository or illustrative manner, according to the client's requirements.

Scientific Research


3. Scientific research photography

2. Forensic photography

1. Medical photography

Match each type of scientific photography with the corresponding image.


Summary 3.4.1.

In today's lesson, you learned:

  • How photography is used in scientific fields, such as forensics, medicine, and scientific research
In an upcoming lesson, you will learn tips and techniques for photographing animals.