Why I think photographers make great private investigators

I know, sounds crazy right? How can a photographer do the job of a private investigator? They are two completely different fields. Here is why I think photographers are perfect for the job. A private investigator needs to be able to produce quality images and video for it to be used as evidence. The last thing your client wants, is to pay you for unusable video or photographic evidence. What are photographers really good at? Providing high quality images and video.

What makes photographers so good?

It is literally a photographer’s job to know how to take the best quality pictures or videos in any setting. This is done though a very good understanding of how light works with specific lenses. Not only that, but a good photographer will be able to understand what settings need to be applied and apply them quickly to get the best image as quickly as possible.

It’s all about the lenses.

Take a Nikon 55-300mm lens for example, a low to mid tier lens. With this lens you can take up close photos to photos about a hundred yards away without losing major picture quality. On a 55-300mm lens, the zoom is optical – when the lens moves glass within the lens to achieve all of the zoom. Unlike point and shoot cameras which use a little optical zoom and then apply digital zoom to see further.

Most photographers already have an extensive kit containing a selection of lenses. Each lens has its own use, and the photographer already knows what each lens excels at. Take my personal kit for example. I have my DSLR camera, and 4 lenses. A 14mm lens which is an extremely wide angle lens capable of capturing a large near by area in a single photo, a 50 mm lens which is perfect for taking photos of a near by subject, an 18-140mm which is a close to medium range lens, and a 55-300mm lens which is essentially a medium to long range lens. For a private investigator, all of this holds an immense amount of value, this means you will be able to provide even better footage for your clients. This will truly set you apart from your competition.

It gets even better though, that is just the lenses. There are also a multitude of attachments for the camera which make it even more useful: Extended Battery Life, Stabilizers, UV Filters, Wireless Remote Control, Lens Hoods, Etc. At the end of the day, however, a camera is simply a tool. The photographer operating it will need a deep understanding of how his camera works.

Another thing to keep in mind is the post processing of images. This means that a photographer can take a picture which looks almost unusable -because it is too dark or under exposed, and turn it into a solid piece of evidence for your client. No, we’re not talking about photo manipulation through a program like photoshop. We’re talking about modifying the colors on the image or video. A professional camera can be set to shoot in RAW files which contain a massive amount of light information. The photographer can then control the exposure, brightness, contrast, and other settings for that image based on the information the camera took in. Unlike photoshop, this does not add to the photo, but instead pulls from information already within the photo.

Why are there not more photographer private investigators?

There can be a lot of reasons why photographers are not private investigators. The main one being, photography is a hobby for most, they do it for fun and eventually they might be able to turn a profit. Photographers have no reason to consider becoming a private investigator unless they already have interest in it. Just like you will not become a race car driver simply because you bought a car. There is also the issue of regulation and training. Most states have requirements you must meet in order to become a private investigator. Even if you meet those requirements, you must also be proficient at conducting a proper investigation. I know how to fish, I have a fishing license, but I am not a professional fisherman.

With all this in mind, there is a simple way to get all of this photographic experience working for you. Learn about photography. It is not as hard as people believe it to be, and with a little practice and some investment you can also provide yourself with the professional image quality of a photographer, and the experience of a private investigator.

Jonathan Roel

Jonathan Roel

Jonathan Roel former private investigator now working as a graphic designer for Investigator Marketing - A PI marketing agency in Dallas, TX. In his spare time, he is also a videographer and photographer.