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.

How Home Inspectors can “Get Your Infrared On” with the Tap Inspect app

One of the more common questions we get from home inspectors is how to get infrared photos into a Tap Inspect report. The short answer is: Once you infrared image is on your device’s camera roll, you insert it just like any other photo. The next question is usually: How do you get them onto your camera roll?

When we started Tap Inspect, a home inspector’s only choice was to manually copy the photos. Since then it has gotten to be a no brainer.  Now, it all depends on how old your equipment is and how much trouble you are willing to put up with.

Take a picture of the the camera with your device

This is the easiest, quickest method and seems to work for most people. Just hold your thermal camera up and take a photo of the screen with the object in the background (Just like the image above). While you do not get the resolution or the detail of the actual home inspection photo, it does do a good job helping make the point you are trying to make and does it quickly.

Use the FLIR One for iOS

The Flir One is an accessory that plugs into the lightning port on your iPhone or iPad. For about $250 you get a a FLIR camera, software and you get the images right on your device. Go to FLIR and reserve one. They seem to be going fast.

Upgrade to a Wifi or Bluetooth device

If you are a heavy FLIR user, use lots of thermal images, and need the full resolution you will likely want something like the FLIR E Series.  These connect wirelessly to your mobile device and transfer the images for you. The will set you back several thousand but if thermal imaging is your read and butter its just a cost of doing business as a home inspector.

Manually copy images onto your device

If you have an older infrared camera, a lower end camera, and are unwilling to update to newer technology this may be your best choice. Take out the SD card and use a camera connector kit to copy the images from the SD card to your device. If you have a Micro SD card in your thermal camera, you may need one of these micro to SD adapters too.

This is basically the same process you must follow if you want to copy photos from an older point and shoot digital camera to your iPhone or iPad. Its not pretty but it works if you are on a budget.