In Track Evidence Photography Placement is Everything
To position a camera for impression evidence photography, place it on a tripod, position the focal plane parallel to the impression, and ensure the camera is at a sufficient distance from the impression to avoid using a wide angle. Wide angle views can create distortion around the edges of the photograph. Not placing the focal plane parallel to the impression can also cause a visual change in the apparent width or length of the impression depending upon the angle from which the photo is taken. The use of a tripod allows for stability while taking the photograph, preventing quality problems that arise from shaking while hand holding a camera during longer exposures.
The photograph should be composed to include the entire footwear impression, or in the case of tires, approximately a 12" segment of the track. Both the scale and the identifier (evidence item number) should also be visible in the photograph. A small Post-it®, piece of tape, or paper used to include the identifier on the scale is recommended. Using a larger tent style photo marker in the close up requires a larger area to be photographed, and less detail is captured. The impression, scale, and identifier should fill the frame of the photograph. The scale is positioned close to the impression, but not on top of any of the detail of the impression to avoid damage of the impression. For this reason, scales should not be placed across the tread of a tire impression.
From: Step Toward Better Track Evidence Photos by Lesley Hammer