Home > Ask Our Experts > Are all Forensic Photographers SOCOs?

Are all Forensic Photographers SOCOs?

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 16 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Scene Of Crime Investigator Officer

Q.

Are all forensic photographers SOCOs or are they employed separately? I'm only 17 and want to become a forensic photographer but have been told I am unable to unless I work as a SOCO or forensic anthropologist.

(Mr Kristan Tarr, 17 September 2008)

A.

While most forensic photographers will have worked in a scene of crime officer (SOCO) role, or be working in this role as part of their forensic photography duties, there is alternate scope for someone who feels a passion for photography and forensic science but doesn't want to work as a SOCO. Still, you are right to be told you must work as a SOCO in the sense that specific training in crime scene photography usually occurs after a person has already been chosen as a SOCO or crime scene investigator (CSI).

Although training in photography is essential, the majority of forensic photographers will begin their careers as a CSI or SOCO. The reason for this is to allow the individual to learn about and understand forensic science as a discipline as well as teach them the skills needed to understand and investigate crime scenes and the legal process.

Try to think of forensic photography as a niche, subfield of the SOCO career role. You would receive specialised training after working in the role, which means that your chances of excelling in a forensic photography role are enhanced through SOCO work, although it's not imperative.

Keep in mind that you can also choose to work independently as a contractor for forensic photography services or you might want to work within a police unit. Other forensic photographers will work in areas such as law or with private firms.

There are alternate, niche areas of forensic photography to consider as well, such as presentation of images to a jury. So, while forensic photography is somewhat of a specialty in the SOCO or CSI roles, you can still specialise even further. The photographs taken at the crime scene are sometimes difficult to understand and interpret for a person on a jury. By putting these into an appropriate, sequential and understandable format, you can make it easier for a jury to make sense of the images. Someone who specialises in the visual presentation of forensic photographs should also hold a good command of English because accompanying text may be included in the visual presentation. Your computer knowledge would similarly need to be strong, given that you would use special imaging software to aid your presentation.

If you really dislike the role of a SOCO, you might need to ask yourself what aspects of forensic photography are appealing. It's an important question to investigate because the two are so closely linked. It's wonderful that you are thinking about your future career. Your ambitions and motivation now will help you to do well in any career that you choose, whether that is forensic photography or perhaps a related area of work.

You might also like...
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Molls
    Re: The Rate of Decay in a Corpse
    Evening, just recently i have come home only to find lots of bluebottle/house-hold flies in my bedroom. I live in the attic part…
    18 January 2017
  • Whezzy
    Re: Rigor Mortis and Lividity
    My 28 yr old son died in his sleep. Cause of death accidental overdose. There are many things that make me wonder if that is an…
    15 January 2017
  • Zai
    Re: The Rate of Decay in a Corpse
    Hi! My father died two months ago. On the 13th of November.please I would like to know how his body has become?he was embalmed in…
    13 January 2017
  • Staypretty
    Re: Determining Cause of Death
    Confused & needing answers??? My father went in for a surgery a week before Christmas 2016 to have a spot of cancer taken off his…
    12 January 2017
  • Jessica
    Re: Drowning and Forensics
    Please help, my sister, went missing on January 31 2016, we knew right away something was wrong. She had been recently married but having…
    12 January 2017
  • B&B143
    Re: Determining Cause of Death
    My 8 yr old was hit & killed while getting on Upson County School Bus( the bus 20 min early, and the bus video magically disappeared,…
    12 January 2017
  • B&B143
    Re: Determining Cause of Death
    My 8 yr old was hit & killed while getting on Upson County School Bus( the bus 20 min early, and the bus video magically disappeared,…
    12 January 2017
  • tittyboi
    Re: Estimating The Time of Death
    Rectal thermometer? Sounds like abuse to the dead. 'am I right ?
    11 January 2017
  • Staypretty
    Re: Determining Cause of Death
    Confused & needing answers??? My father went in for a surgery a week before Christmas 2016 to have a spot of cancer taken off his…
    11 January 2017
  • gbexs
    Re: Forensic Archaeology
    I am a masters student of forensic science at the university of Ibadan, Nigeria. I am at the stage of writing my thesis and i want to write…
    9 January 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ExploreForensics website. Please read our Disclaimer.