3 Camera Shots Every Home Inspector Should Know


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 Shot

It 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.

Closeup Shot

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.

 
Closeup enough that you can read the dataplate

Example of Not a Closeup 
Not closeup enough to read anything

Orientation Shot

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.

Getting Photos From a Tap Inspect Report

Extract Photos

Tap Inspect is a great place to save, archive and build reports with photos but sometimes you need to get one or more photos out of the report so you can share them, save them, or even use them someplace else.

Here are 3 different ways to get photos out of a Tap Inspect report. Each method works really well depending on where you want to do with the photos or how many photos you want to extract.

Sharing your Photos

The first method is the quickest, easiest and works really well for one or two photos. We call this the ‘Share method’. When you are in a report just tap on a thumbnail of a photo to open it full screen. Down in the bottom right corner is the ‘share icon’, tap on that and an action sheet pops up letting you select how and where you would like to share this photo.

Depending on how you have set up your device you can save it to the camera roll, post to Facebook, tweet the photo, or email it.

Once you have shared this photo you can swipe to other photos and share them. This works great if you want to text, email, or even save a few photos to camera roll.

Extracting a Report’s Photos

The second method we call the ‘Extract method’. It allows you to extract some or all the photos of a report and copy them onto the camera roll on your device. Once a photo is in your Camera Roll you can do pretty much anything you want with it.

For this method you want to open the report again and go into the Report Options by tapping on Edit, or Edit Fields on iPad and then tapping of the Report Options button that shows up in when you are in Edit mode and then tapping on Extract Photos.

A grid pops up with every photo the report knows about. This grid will also include original photos before you added arrows and circles and sometimes even orphaned photos that were removed from the report from other devices.

Tap on the little circle at the top right corner of the thumbnail to add a checkmark to select it. If you need a better look, tap on the thumbnail to view it full screen, tap on the checkmark circle, and then swipe to the next photo or tap on the grid icon in the bottom left to go back to the grid.

When you are all done tap on Extract and all the photos will be copied from your report into the Camera Roll on your device. Open the Photos app and you will see them there.

Your Web Account

The last way to get photos out of a Tap Inspect report doesn’t even need the Tap Inspect app. This is the ‘Web method’. From any web browser go to tapinspect.com and log in with your email address and password you use with the app. Go to Inspections and then click on the report that has the photos you want. Then click on a photo to view it full size and you can right click to save the image just like you would save any image from the web.

So there you go, three different ways to get photos out of a Tap Inspect report. Each with its own advantages and limitations and each that fits certain situations.

Give them all try and see what works best for you. Let us know how it goes by leaving a comment here, connecting with us on Facebook or by email to info@tapinspect.com.

Deliver the Home Inspection Report Your Clients Really Want

Ask any home inspector and we almost always say the same thing: ‘My clients hire me because of my report’. After looking at hundreds of home inspection reports and talking with hundreds of home inspectors I just can not understand how this is the case. If clients love the 20 page, 3 part form checklist report just as much as the 175 page report with 5 photos of every room I must be missing something.

How do you deliver the home inspection report your clients really want? First thing to do is ask them. So that is what I did and this is what my clients told me.

Show Me What You are Talking About

A few sentences and a photo or two can explain way more than a page of text. Using photos makes much more sense and makes reports easier to read and to understand. Modern home inspection reports are all about the photos.

Don’t get tempted to just add a big block of Report Photos at the end of your reports though. Your clients will have to flip back and forth trying to understand where which photo goes with which statement. What a pain to read and to try to understand.

Give Me a Report I Can Actually Read

My times than not I have heard, “How do they expect me to read this thing! It’s over 100 pages long!’. If you have not heard this about your or one of your competitors reports you have not been listening.

Most of us became home inspectors to help teach people about their homes and to help them learn. That does not mean that our reports need to be a text book. Our clients want a report they can read and understand. If they want or need more information they will ask or more likely Google or You Tube the information.

Tell Me Why It’s Important and What to Do Next

After looking at homes every day and going to classes with other home inspectors it gets really easy to lose sight of what our clients know. We became home inspectors to help people and share our knowledge and experience. Is it fair to just tell our clients that something is wrong without going on to tell them why and where to go next.

I know we have been warned over and over about liability. You may not be comfortable telling your clients how soon something should be done or some ballpark of the costs. But we have a responsibility to help our clients. Take some time and ask them yourselves what they need from you.

Give Me a Summary I Can Understand

By far the biggest demand was for a summary of the home inspection. Not just a list of deficiencies, or several lists broken down by safety or maintenance. The clients I spoke with wanted a summary, an executive summary, of the home written in a way they could understand it.

This really makes sense. Most home inspection reports I’ve seen are written in a way that other home inspectors, most realtors, and even some home buyers can understand. But the average home buyer may not. After spending several hours with a home inspector looking at things they will not see again for years can get overwhelming. It was made pretty clear, they wanted a summary they they could understand.