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Failure analysis is an investigative process that uses visual observations of features present on a failed component fracture surface combined with component and environmental conditions to determine the root cause of a failure. The primary means of recording the conditions and features observed during a failure analysis investigation is photography. Failure analysis photographic imaging is a combination of both science and art; experience and proper imaging techniques are required to produce an accurate and meaningful fracture surface photograph. This article reviews photographic principles and techniques as applied to failure analysis, both in the field and in the laboratory. The discussion covers the processes involved in field and laboratory photographic documentations, provides a description of professional digital cameras, and gives information on photographic lighting and microscopic photography. Special techniques can be employed to deal with highly reflective conditions and are also described in this article.

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