You may wonder why a private investigator would be interested in a book on photography, but the truth of the matter is that, when appropriate, good investigative report writing should contain high quality photographs and by so doing, you will ensure a greater degree of success with your client(s) in your chosen career of professional investigative work. With that in mind, I recently had the opportunity to read Low Cost High Impact Photography by Steve Johnson and was truly inspired by his no-nonsense yet highly professional approach to photography.
First of all, Mr. Johnson writes in a manner which speaks to every-man/woman. His explanation of photographic terms, e.g., exposure, aperture, etc., puts us on the same level as professionals who have long kept their secrets hushed in order to protect their elite status and the preservation of expensive literature, equipment and instruction. Mr. Johnson’s instruction ensures each of us can learn ‘better than basic’ photography skills, relatively quickly and relatively easily – with a certain degree of practice.
Each section touches on a particular subject and I particularly like that Mr. Johnson stresses it’s the practicing of shooting photos that determines the quality of your work, not necessarily the price you were talked into paying for your equipment. He compares the nuts and bolts of camera brands and particular characteristics to be aware of and suggests a few useful after-market tools – all on a friendly budget. Of particular interest to me, and probably to all investigators, is his instruction on capturing an expert image quickly and clearly. This, he advises, can only be achieved from a thorough knowledge of your camera and practice, practice, practice! Along the way, he offers easy to understand lessons in lighting, contrast, composure and content. He also discusses movement and stabilization and I can now see how to better catch that photo ‘on the fly’ when an investigation must be done quickly and unobtrusively. For those particular situations, i.e., capturing images of defective buildings, stairways, roadways and the like, his instruction provides a framework for staging the scene through the use of a variety of options. Included are samples of his work for reference.
While we may think creativity either comes naturally or it doesn’t, Mr. Johnson does not. He believes everyone can shoot quality photographs and strongly encourages independent thinking while doing so. Most importantly, keep in mind your objective, whether it’s a person, location or otherwise you’re surveilling, prepare beforehand what your scenario may entail and be prepared. Preparation and practice – built on a foundation of knowledge of photographic possibilities that you will learn in this book – will enhance your worth in the investigative field.
WARNING! All the above being said, however, I strongly issue the following caveat: While there are many software programs available today to “enhance” or otherwise “improve” the quality of your photograph, DO NOT!, I repeat DO NOT!, edit in any way, shape or form the original photograph(s) you submit to your client. If editing is required for whatever reason, either to clarify a scene or provide a reference point, make those changes on a copy and submit both photos, clearly labeled, with explanation. If called as a witness in a court of law, you may be asked to identify the original photograph, attest to the copy enhancements and you must be able to clearly demonstrate the editing process used. Failure to do so would render this “evidentiary” submission invalid and might possibly win the case —- for the WRONG attorney! Only submit to your client a report, photograph or other piece of evidence you have obtained during your investigation in its original form, and if necessary, an edited copy, both of which you can attest to, under oath, are “true and correct” versions of your work.
All in all, I would recommend reading this book and after having done so myself, I feel I am better equipped in my ability to provide to my clients excellent photographs as concrete evidence of my investigation. I can also add that I am inspired by Mr. Johnson and believe I will not only take better photos as a professional but as a hobbyist as well.
If you are interested in purchasing this e-book, you may do so by contacting the author directly at (219) 242 9765 or via the Internet at: http://minimalistphotography101.com/low-cost-high-impact-photography-ebook/