In the aftermath of an accident, every detail matters. The power of visual evidence can be instrumental in determining fault and ensuring fair compensation. Knowing how to take photos at the scene of an accident is a skill that can make a significant difference in the clarity and strength of your case.

Here are 10 essential steps for capturing the crucial details.

1. Prioritize Safety First

Before reaching for your camera or smartphone, ensure that everyone involved in the accident is safe. Move to a safe location if possible and call for medical assistance if there are injuries. Safety always comes first.

2. Document the Scene

Wide-Angle Shots

Begin by taking wide-angle shots of the entire accident scene. Capture the positions of vehicles, road conditions, and any relevant signage or signals.

Environmental Factors

Include photos of the surrounding environment. This can be crucial in understanding factors like weather conditions, lighting, and the general setting.

3. Details

License Plates

If this incident involved a vehicle, capture clear images of the license plates of all vehicles involved. This helps in identifying and documenting each vehicle.


Photograph the damage from various angles. Ensure that the images clearly show the extent of the damage sustained.

Close-Ups of Relevant Parts

Zoom in on specific areas that may be relevant to the accident, such as damaged property, injuries, vehicle damage, cracked bumpers, broken lights, or any contributing factors.

4. Road Conditions

Debris and Objects

Photograph any debris or objects resulting from the accident. These details can contribute to understanding the dynamics of the incident.

Skid Marks

If applicable, document any skid marks on the road. These can provide insights into the speed and movements of the vehicles involved.

5. Traffic Controls and Signals

Traffic Lights and Signs

Capture the state of traffic lights and relevant road signs. This information is crucial for determining whether traffic rules were followed.

Visibility Factors

Document factors that may affect visibility, such as the position of the sun, shadows, or obstacles that could obstruct the view.

6. Injuries and People Involved

Injured Parties

While respecting privacy and sensitivity, document any visible injuries sustained by individuals involved in the accident.

People Involved

Photograph all parties involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and any witnesses. This helps in identifying individuals in the context of the incident. Also, gather witness statements.

7. Sequential Shots

Capture the Sequence of Events

If possible, take photos in a sequential order to depict the unfolding of events leading up to the accident. This can be especially helpful in determining causation.

8. Time and Date Stamps

Ensure Your Device Has Accurate Timestamps

Check that the date and time settings on your camera or smartphone are accurate. Timestamps add an extra layer of credibility to your photos.

9. Capture Surrounding Landmarks

In addition to focusing on the immediate accident scene, capture images of surrounding landmarks or distinctive features. These can provide context to the location and help in reconstructing the events leading up to the accident. Including recognizable elements in your photos can also aid in verifying the accuracy of the scene during investigations and legal proceedings.

10. Overall Tips

Be Thorough and Methodical

Take your time to capture all relevant details. A thorough set of photos can be a valuable asset during investigations.

Review and Confirm

Before leaving the scene, review your photos to ensure you’ve captured all necessary details. This can help avoid revisiting the scene unnecessarily.

Your Visual Testimony Matters

In the aftermath of an accident, your ability to capture the details through photography can become a vital aspect of the legal process. Remember, every photo and video that you capture tells a story, and your visual testimony can be instrumental in ensuring a fair resolution.

About JJ Legal

At JJ Legal, we recognize the importance of thorough documentation in building a strong case. If you find yourself in need of legal guidance after an accident, our team is here to help. Schedule your free consultation today at 312-200-2000
Since 2003, our personal injury attorneys have helped our clients obtain over $1 BILLION in judgments and settlements. Our lawyers have experience in a wide variety of personal injury cases including:

With offices in multiple states, and a large staff, we provide a supporting legal team that goes above and beyond to take care of our clients.