Photos are a huge part of all modern home inspection reports. Cameras are the most used tools we have. Photos do a great job telling the story of the home inspection. If they are good photos. Bad photos don’t tell the story because they can even cause confusion and initiate more questions.
After helping thousands of home inspectors I have seen a few trends and learned a few tricks myself.
Overview ShotIt is really important to document what we were dealing with at the time of the inspection. That is where overview photos come in super handy. The most important thing to remember is that an overview photo is not meant to show detail. They show an overview of the big picture.
When you look at a report from 5 years back you will know exactly what you were dealing with. If you get a call back almost always your overview photos will explain why something was not visible.
We take overview photos of the exterior of the home, basements, crawlspaces, attics, roof, and even garages. We get as far back as we can get to capture as much as possible in each photo. Sometimes we can get this in two shots. Other times it may be 4 or even 6 photos. More than 6 photos? Maybe you need to break it up into a few comments or items.
When you need to show details the closeup is you go to camera shot. Just remember to get close, really close. It seems like most home inspectors do not want to get close enough.
If you don’t get your closeup close enough you will be cropping photos or the reader will need to zoom in. So make sure what you want them to see is what makes up to whole photo.
While the closeup shows the details of what you are reporting the reader still needs to know where the detail is located. That is where the orientation photo comes in.
For years I meticulously described exactly where the detail was located with text of my comment. Then I realized a photo from farther away with an arrow could do a much better job.
Because an orientation photo with a closeup photo can tell the reader exactly where and what I was reporting, no long text description was needed. The photos could tell the story.
How to Use These Shots
These are the basics and we use them to make our reports simple to read and easy to understand. Maybe you could try to use them as well. Photos show what so many home inspectors struggle to describe.
Use these three shots in all kinds of combinations. Photos don’t just need to be of things that are issues. Photos are also great to show information and conditions too.
Our cameras are our most used and most valuable tool. Keep practicing and getting better. Your reports will show it.