Lights, camera, action! A picture speaks a thousand words, and your survey, property inventory, and property inspection report photos should do just that - if not more. The TDS instructs, "To be considered useful as evidence, photographs should be of a good quality and are best embedded into the check-in/check-out report." Using detailed photographs in your property reports is one of the pillars of having a high-quality, reliable, professional product to offer to your clients. Here are Imfuna's top tips for snapping your survey and property inventory photos right every time.
This is an obvious yet nonetheless important point: your inspection photos need to be in focus. If they are blurry, the image will be distorted or unclear and property damages will not be correctly reported. With many mobile devices you can tap the screen to automatically focus on an item; if your device does not offer this, you'll need to dig a little deeper in your user manual to get those pics crystal clear.
It's no longer sufficient to just have photos in a report, you need to make sure they are supplemented with as much detail as possible. Make sure your photos are automatically tagged with the date, time, and location. Having this information makes your report strong as steel when mediating disputes, so ensure that these details are included in each photo you snap.
So there’s a small, unfortunate scuff on an otherwise lovely white wall. You take a picture that's zoomed in so you can see all the detail. But when you look at the photo in the report, you realize that small scuff looks like it’s the size of continental Europe! This is an easy fix. When taking inspection photos, it is hugely helpful to have a size reference object somewhere in the photo so you can tell the relative measurement of an item. This can be as specific as a ruler, or as general as a pen or your index finger. Whatever the size reference object is, it should be consistent throughout your inspection photos.
This is another obvious one, but it bears mentioning: make sure your photos are well lit. If you can't see an item or damage in a photograph, neither can a landlord or tenant. Some mobile device’s cameras will take photos that appear much darker than the image in real life, so make use of your mobile camera's flash or turn on interior lights; if neither of those work, you may want to bring a small flashlight with you to property surveys and inspections to make sure that items find the spotlight they deserve.