When it comes to construction photo management, most people fall into one of two camps – camp “Haystack” or camp “Yard Sale.” Each has its problems, but only one camp actually acknowledges it.
The Camp Haystack Style
- Uses a document software solution for archiving photos.
- Has a system in place for naming and organizing photos in a file folder tree.
- Photo filenames use descriptive text or a number code. Possibilities include location (by zone or grid), employee ID, RFI, astrological sign, favorite college football mascot – or some combination of these.
- Photo filing is assigned to each member of the team or to a designated admin.
- Photos are shot using a variety of devices: phones, iPads, point-and-shoot cameras, full-body SLRs and maybe even a Polaroid. Etch-a-Sketch or watercolor renderings are not beyond the realm of possibility.
- The GC may impose this system on all partners in the project, including subcontractors, designers, and consultants.
The Camp Yard Sale Style
- Photos are shot using a variety of devices: phones, iPads, point-and-shoot cameras, full-body SLRs and maybe even a Polaroid.
- All photos reside on the device they were shot with.
So, who recognizes the flaws in their system? Camp Yard Sale, of course.
This camp knows that their photos are all over the place, that they’re bound to follow people to other projects, and that they’re at risk of deletion at any time. And when that happens, the post-construction research that results will play out like a Nicholas Cage movie.
Camp Haystack, on the other hand, deludes itself into thinking everything is under control. However, with all the manually generated metadata (typed filenames, folder names, etc.) and all the inaccuracies, inconsistencies and typos that go along with it, their photo collection isn’t much different from a dryer full of mismatched socks. Good luck finding what you need!
Formalize your photo documentation using tried and true systems
Be thorough without overwhelming your team – or worse, ending up with an unorganized heap of information. Use turnkey services that automate photo capture and storage processes. A cloud-based system that gives you long-term, unlimited archiving is the best way to go.
Use a construction webcam system designed for total project documentation
Some construction webcam solutions are designed for total documentation and archiving. OxBlue’s solution, for example, captures high-resolution job site images at regular intervals and time stamps each one (it even includes job site weather data). Archived photos can be accessed and searched at any time with project dashboards and visual calendars. Once the construction webcam is installed, all this happens automatically.
If your webcam solution can double as a time-lapse camera, even better. You’ll be able to use those photos for engaging time-lapse presentations for owners, fiduciary partners, prospects, or even the public.
Make sure you’re getting all the photo documentation you need with our 10 Tips to Ensure Construction Photos Don’t Slip Through Your Fingers.