Many investigators – let alone fingerprint examiners – are either unaware of an entire world of possible identifying evidence contained in inadvertently photographed hands and other ridge detail areas, or they are unsure of how to utilize this type of modern evidence. In our current society, digital cameras are everywhere and are used constantly – from regular pictures of day-to-day life to images posted on social media and websites. Just like regular citizens, criminals take images of a multitude of objects, people, and locations. These images can be discovered during routine online investigations or whilst executing search warrants. Some images are occasionally deemed incriminating – such as a felon holding a firearm in their hand, or a pedophile with their hand visible in a compromising position. However, these images can usually only be used as evidence (or at the very least much stronger evidence) if an identification can be made to the ridge detail visible in the image.


There have already been several cases involving identifying people by using ridge detail visible in photographs, both across the USA and internationally. Such cases where identifications were made from inadvertently photographed ridge detail include rape, pedophilia, firearms, drugs, and burglaries.


Understanding this increasingly common type of evidence is critical for the modern-day fingerprint examiner. Knowing how to adjust perspective, how to appropriately calibrate the fingerprint to scale, and how to enhance these types of images to properly visualize the ridge detail gives examiners important skills for their toolkit to assist in new methods of investigations. Furthermore, being able to advise investigators of the value of this type of evidence will be possible when examiners have the knowledge of what is achievable.


Students in this class will gain historical knowledge of some of the cases where inadvertent friction ridge detail visible in photographs has been utilized in investigations. This in turn assists the student in being able to advise and educate investigators regarding this type of evidence. 

Students will learn the key enhancement techniques required for any inadvertent photograph of ridge detail. This includes a number of different ways to properly re-calibrate the image to scale to allow for accurate AFIS searching.

Ultimately, students will be armed with new knowledge and skills in order to confidently process, analyze and identify inadvertent ridge detail visible in social media photos and other digital images.

Students will be required to complete a quiz at the end of the course to ensure that they have properly understood the content of the course and participated appropriately.


  • Recognize the possible evidential value of social media and other inadvertent photographs of friction ridge detail areas.

  • Apply key image enhancement techniques required for this type of evidence.

  • Apply advanced techniques to correct the perspective for ridge detail on a non-perpendicular plane.

  • Correct for the distorted appearance of ridge detail curved around a finger/hand, so that it more closely represents the 2-dimensional appearance of friction ridge detail in tenprint exemplars.

  • Be able to utilize multiple methods of appropriately re-calibrating digital images to correct scale, even when a scale/ruler is not present in the image, to allow for accurate AFIS searching.


Having a prior basic knowledge of Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS).

Access to Photoshop is required for this course and is needed to successfully complete some of the exercises. There are free trial versions of Photoshop available on Adobe’s website. Photoshop version 22.0 or earlier should be installed, as later versions have affected the 3D space used for the vanishing point filter. We highly recommend turning your Photoshop auto-updates OFF.


  • 1

    Welcome to the course!

    • Before You Begin

    • Course Outline

    • About Your Instructor

    • Course Introduction Video

  • 2

    Course Documents (PRINT)

    • Module 1 Lecture Slides - PDF

    • Module 2 Lecture Slides - PDF

    • Module 3 Lecture Slides - PDF

    • Module 4 Note Pages - PDF

    • Practical Exercises - Print ALL - PDF

  • 3

    Module 1 - Social Media Fingerprints

    • What are Social Media Fingerprints?

    • Case Study 1 - Connecticut

    • Case Study 2 - Ontario Canada

    • Case Study 3 - Sarasota, FL

    • Case Study 4 - Boston, MA

    • Case Study 5 - UK South Wales

    • Case Study 6 - England

    • Case Study 7 - Australia

    • Case Study 8 - Spain

    • Additional Research and Audit Trails

  • 4

    Module 2 - Image Enhancement and Correcting Perspective

    • Image Enhancement and Correcting Perspective

  • 5

    Module 2 - Step 1

    • Step 1 - Lateral Reversal

    • Practical Exercise 1 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

    • Module 2 Image 1 - DOWNLOAD

  • 6

    Module 2 - Step 2

    • Step 2 - Tonal Reversal

    • Practical Exercise 2 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

  • 7

    Module 2 - Step 3

    • Step 3 - Image Enhancement

    • Practical Exercise 3 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

  • 8

    Module 2 - Step 3A

    • Step 3A - Correct Orientation

    • Practical Exercise 3A - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

    • Module 2 Image 2 - DOWNLOAD

  • 9

    Module 2 - Step 4

    • Step 4 - Perspective

    • Practical Exercise 4 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

    • Module 2 Image 3 - DOWNLOAD

  • 10

    Module 3 - Searching for Social Media Fingerprints in AFIS

    • Searching for Social Media Fingerprints in AFIS

  • 11

    Module 3A - Image Recalibration Methods

    • Image Recalibration Methods

  • 12

    Module 3B - Image Recalibration in Photoshop – Using Ridge Count

    • Image Recalibration in Photoshop – Using Ridge Count

    • Practical Exercise 5 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

    • Module 3 - Image 1 (DOWNLOAD)

  • 13

    Module 3C - Image Recalibration in Photoshop – Using Objects and Hand Dimensions

    • Image Recalibration in Photoshop – Using Objects and Hand Dimensions

    • Practical Exercise 6 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

    • Module 2 Image 1 (DOWNLOAD)

    • Practical Exercise 7 - INSTRUCTIONS PDF

    • Exercise 7 Image 1 (DOWNLOAD)

  • 14

    Module 4 - Putting It All Together

    • Putting It All Together

    • Practical Exercise 8 - INSTRUCTION PDF

    • Module 4 Image 1 (DOWNLOAD)

  • 15

    Desk Reference PDF

    • Desk Reference PDF (DOWNLOAD)

  • 16

    Final Written Exam

    • Final Written Exam

  • 17

    Before You Go...

    • Final Words

    • Course Survey

    • Need Help? Got Questions?


RS&A Instructor

Tim Fayle

Tim is the Training Capability Lead for Idemia Australia. Before taking on this role with Idemia, he was the Fingerprint Identification Director with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, California. Prior to the Sheriff's Office, he was a Crime Scene Officer – Fingerprint Expert with the New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) in Australia. He has over 18 years of experience in forensics, with over 16 years of experience specifically in fingerprints. Tim has taught classes in fingerprints and photography for more than 14 years with Idemia, the NSWPF, the Canberra Institute of Technology, and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Tim is an International Association for Identification (IAI) Certified Latent Print Examiner, as well as being certified as an Expert in the Science of Fingerprints by the Australasian Forensic Science Assessment Body (AFSAB). Tim is currently the Chair of the IAI Latent Print Certification Board (LPCB), and has served on the LPCB since 2015. He is a recipient of the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for his contributions to the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake disaster victim identification response.


8 Hours

This RS&A online course has been submitted to the International Association for Identification Latent Print Certification Board for 8 Hours of Certification and Re-Certification continuing education credits.

Course Tuition and Access Limits

Online Course Cost (8 Hours): $300.00

Max time to complete this course: 30 Days