Podcast: Crime-Scene Unit Photography


We have been looking forward to this conversation for weeks. On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we sit down with retired Detective 1st Grade Michael Cunningham, of the New York City Police Department, to talk about crime-scene unit photography. Cunningham is an expert on crime scene photography and forensics—in addition to his twenty-seven years with the NYPD, he has worked as a trainer for the Department of Homeland Security, authored a book on crime-scene management, and currently works providing case-management solutions to law enforcement agencies for Leeds, LLC.

We discuss aspects of crime-scene photography, from camera and lens selection to shooting technique, storage, retrieval, and sharing of images. We compare the use of film and digital imaging and the challenges and benefits brought on by new technology. In addition, we talk about photos used for case solving and those of evidentiary value and the different photography departments within the NYPD. Cunningham walks us through the procedures and shot selection of a photographer when approaching a crime scene, and the protocols involved when documenting it. He also regales us with a few stories of his many investigations during his years on the force.

Guest: Michael Cunningham


Below photographs courtesy © M. Cunningham

Detective Mike Cunningham at work
Detective Mike Cunningham at work
Detective Mike Cunningham at work
Michael Cunningham and Allan Weitz



Host: Allan Weitz

Senior Creative Producer: John Harris

Producer: Jason Tables

Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves


I listen to this podcast while cleaning my room and OH boy! was I happy with the podcast.

Alan: Very good point to ask about archiving and moving forward to new storage media formats.

Good answer by Cunningham about archiving media and software.

Eventually, operating systems will become obsolete. Processors may change rendering the instruction set of prior computers incompatible and unable to run past operating systems and applications.

Probably sounds like crime scene photography also uses macro lenses where photographs are taken into a lab for examination "bloody fingerprint on concrete wall".


Thank you for the comment Ralph, I believe you are right in that keeping up with accessible storage within the rapidly advancing digital technology is one of the crucial challenges, not just for crime scene photography, but for all archiving.