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10 tips for taking better site photos

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On a construction site, photos can be worth their weight in gold. But you often don’t know which photo will be the most valuable, or when you’ll need it. It’s important to make sure you have the best photos possible for when you need them. We’ve seen lot’s of good and bad site photo management practices and thought it was about time we shared some tips to help you the next time you whip your phone out on site.

1. Add context to your photos

People hate receiving a super close-up photo of a cracked tile… A photo of a defect that’s very zoomed-in can provide great detail, but doesn’t help the recipient understand “which tile is that”.

When you’re taking photos, make sure to think “How do I help communicate where this is, as well as what this is?” If you can include a landmark or specific item that will help the recipient to identify where the issue is, you will reduce delays on site (give yourself a pat on the back).

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2. The more photos the better

Sometimes it isn’t easy to capture both the What and the Where in a single picture. In these cases taking a few quick photos can help greatly. A couple of pictures, some close-up and a few to help provide context, may do the trick.

It’s hard to go back in time and see what something looked like or how work was done. As construction sites change often, it’s important to take photos to record what happened.

3. Don’t try and make a photo do a video’s job

Sometimes no matter how many pictures you take you still can’t get the message across. Particularly if you’re trying to capture a record of something not functioning correctly. Filming a quick video is a great tool for logging certain defects. They can easily show a door not working, a tap dripping, and they also work well to communicate sounds (such as noises from the AC).

Short videos are also a great tool for record keeping during the commissioning phase as you can record; lights working, air conditioners running, doors opening, etc.

4. Which room was that bathroom photo from?

Many areas on a construction site can look the same and levels often have the same layout. It’s important to keep a good record of where photos are from so you know which Level, which room, and what corner of the room they relate to. This can come in handy when you have to prove something was/wasn’t done.

Clear location context can also save you time as others can be directed straight to the area of interest, not needing to call you for clarification.

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5. Who took this photo?

Some projects add photos into a central Drive/Server for the team. If people need clarification around a photo they may waste time calling the wrong person, who they think took the photo. Adding a name or initials to the photo filename/folder can save a lot of time when trying to get more information.

6. When was this photo from?

A photo is a fantastic record of what happened. However, if a picture doesn’t contain information on when it was from, it can fail to act as proof that something was/wasn’t done. Make sure that you have the correct date/time information for your photo records. This data can sometimes be lost if photos are shared through different communication apps, then downloaded, re-saved, emailed, exported, etc…

Make sure you aren’t screen-shotting other people’s photos either as this doesn’t keep the same date/time information. Where possible, try to use the original picture with the date data intact.

Illustration of a person marking up a photo in an app

7. Mark-up areas that require attention

An area of a photo that the photographer is focused on may be different to the area that a viewer of the photo is drawn to. If there is a specific area within your photo that you want the recipient to focus on, it can help if you use a mark-up to point it out to them.

This can be as simple as a quick circle to say “look in this area” or an arrow which says “look right here”. Keep the viewer of your photo in mind and consider that they might not focus on the area of your photo you want them to.

8. Organise site photos so they are easy to find

This is particularly relevant if you’re part of a team that shares photos, or if you have supervisors that ask you for photos. If your photos are just dumped into a central Drive/Server folder labeled with your name, it can be close to impossible for someone else to find the photo they need.

If you organise the photos so that they are grouped by location (eg, Level 1), sorted by date, and have other searchable information (eg, Tags), it makes it much easier for them (and you) to find “that” photo when needed.

Illustration of a person looking for a photo in an app

9. Backup your photos!

It happens to the best of us… phones aren’t unbreakable and sometimes they grow legs of their own, never to be seen again. You don’t want to add to the stress of needing to replace your phone by having all those valuable site photos getting lost forever…

Use a cloud backup provider for your photos so you can sleep easy knowing they are safe and accessible no matter what happens to your phone.

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10. Share access and reduce your emails/calls

Don’t keep your photos all to yourself. They can be useful for many other people if you let them have access. You never know what someone may find useful in the background of your photo (that you didn’t even know you captured). If you share your photos with the team (and make them organised so they are easy to search), others might not need to contact you and ask “did you take a photo of this area, can you find it and send it to me?”. Instead it could be quicker for them to just find the photo themselves. They’ll sing your praises for being so organised and such an asset to the job..

A well structured central photo database can save others (and yourself) time down the road. You might even have others start to contribute their own photos that you find useful!

How can SiteCam help with site photos?

SiteCam helps your team to quickly organise site photos, giving context to images and making them easily searchable.

You can quickly record where photos were from by pinning them to a floorplan, ensuring you don’t forget and adding important context to your records. Having your photos organised by location, through time, enables you to quickly see a timeline of everything that’s happened in an area, or sort records of how a structure was built.

Speed up your search by adding custom tags to captures, so later on you can quickly find the ones you need. SiteCam is built to help your whole team, pooling everyone’s photos together and making them instantly accessible. No more waiting on people to send you “that” photo.

Photos in SiteCam are backed-up to the cloud, not filling up your phone. This also makes them instantly available on your computer via our web portal. Forget having to plug in your phone to transfer files or emailing photos to yourself.

SiteCam gives you better site photos in less time. Try it for free today.

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