How to Photograph a Fingerprint on a Mirror


Photographing fingerprints can be challenging for a novice photographer, as fingerprints are not as clearly defined as the subjects most photographers try to capture. Photographers must take steps to ensure that a fingerprint is visible in a photograph and detailed enough to be identified. Photographing a fingerprint on a mirror introduces additional challenges that can be overcome with proper technique.

Step 1

Position your camera at an angle to the mirror so that neither you nor your camera is visible in the reflection. The closer you are to the mirror, the wider this angle must be.

Step 2

Hang a black or dark-colored backdrop so that the backdrop appears behind the fingerprint from the view of the camera.

Step 3

Position an external flash at an angle oblique to the fingerprint so that neither the flash unit itself nor the reflected light will be visible to the camera. You may need to take a few test shots to ensure that the flash does not create harsh highlights in the image.

Step 4

Place a clear sheet of glass, if you have one, between the camera and the fingerprint at a 45-degree angle. Your external flash or an additional flash should be positioned perpendicular to the line between the camera and the fingerprint.

Things You'll Need

  • Mirror
  • External flash
  • Dark backdrop
  • Clear sheet of glass


  • Lighting Methods for Copy and Evidence Close-up Photography
  • Photographing Mirrors
  • "Crime Scene and Evidence Photographer's Guide," Steven Staggs (2005)
Keywords: fingerprint photography, crime scene photography, photographing a mirror

About this Author

Kyle Cavnett is a legal and political commentator whose work has appeared in law and philosophy journals, and online in legal blogs and article repositories. He has been a writer for three years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from UC San Diego and a Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark School of Law.

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