A typical caption should also identify the unit that
produced the photography and, if appropriate, contain a
file number. As an example, a typical caption may look
something like the following:
21 MAR 1993
Six-year-old Terry Thomas,
a victim of. . . . Brenda has
been doing . . .
Official U.S. Navy
Photograph by:
PH3 Jon T. Boat USN
Your skill as a caption writer, like any endeavor, will
improve with practice. When you write a caption, have
the photograph in front of you. This may help you recall
just what was taking place. Avoid phrases, such
as-"Shown above," "This is a picture of. . . ." or
"Posing for the camera . . . ." These phrases insult the
reader's intelligence.
When writing captions, you should always be alert
to point out interesting or important things in the
photograph that might escape the casual reader.
Remember to spell out the meaning of all unfamiliar
abbreviations. PHAA may mean Photographer's Mate
Airman Apprentice to you, but it may be meaningless to
the reader.
Finally, you must remember that the caption should
supplement the photograph, not duplicate with words
what is readily evident in the photograph.
Captions should always be typed, preferably double
spaced, on a separate sheet of paper, such as
"crack-and-peel" stickers or plain, white paper, and
affixed to the back of the photograph. When using plain,
white paper to prepare and attach a caption to a photo,
first type the caption on the bottom of a sheet of paper.
Cut off most of the unused portion and fold just above
the typing. Attach the caption to the back of the photo
with tape so the typed caption folds over the bottom and
lies against the face of the photo. When unfolded, the
caption is properly positioned at the bottom of the photo.
Photography is a valuable tool used by the
master-at-arms, the Naval Investigative Service, and
other investigators to make visual records of crime
scenes, accidents, or other incidents. Evidence
(investigative or forensic) photography is used to show
particular items of evidence and their relationship to the
scene and to produce closeup pictures of significant
parts of the scene.
As a Photographer's Mate, you usually will be
working under the direction of an investigator when
producing forensic pictures. However, you should take
the initiative to learn all you can about the case you are
working on. With sufficient information, you can use
your judgment to assess the photography requirements,
angles of view, supplementary lighting, close-ups, and
other factors, such as camera, lens, and film choice.
Investigators, especially in crime cases, are often
reluctant to give the photographer any information.
They would rather you not ask questions and just follow
their specific directions of what to photograph. This is
often the case because they do not want information
leaks that could ruin their case. You must gain their
confidence and not discuss the case with anyone outside
of the investigative team. On many occasions,
investigative leads have been developed solely by
studying good forensic pictures provided by a
professional photographer.
When photographing any scene as part of an
investigation, it is important to make overall pictures of
the scene that can be related to the close-ups which you
must also take. These overall pictures are important and
cannot be sacrificed for any reason. Use wide-angle
lenses to obtain these views when you cannot move to
a vantage point where a normal lens can be used. When
making overall views of the scene, avoid having
extraneous elements, such as people and automobiles,
or other confusing elements included. Extraneous
elements only serve to mislead people viewing the
photographs and may obscure important details.
Investigators will normally cooperate by clearing the
scene for the overall views.
Never take it upon yourself to recreate the scene if
it has changed before your arrival. Repositioning
elements within the scene or having someone assume
the position of a body that has been removed will not be
of any help. There is no way of assuring accurate
repositioning, and the photographs become suspect as
being "contrived" and made up. You should always
photograph the scene as you find it. If the investigator
wants to recreate the scene, that is his business. You
should not offer to help.
Closeup views of scene elements should be made of
any evidence, weapons, aircraft damage, body wounds,
and so on, before the evidence is moved. If, for example,
a closeup shot is needed of a gun that was thrown under

Basic Photography Course

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