May 20, 2020

Managing Construction Photos

Learn how to effectively manage your construction photos.

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In the construction industry, it is important to have an efficient system in place to take and manage site photos. They are an important way to document the site before and during construction, as well as to monitor defects.

At work, I take and use photos all the time. Before, I used to take around 200 photos a week. I use them to share with clients, use these as evidence when raising issues with contractors, and to report on progress with my managers.

What people usually do is that every time they take photos, they download the photos from their phones onto the computer. They then create a Dropbox folder to share with others if they need.

Challenges

However this presents some challenges:

  • It's hard to sort through annoying thumbnails on Windows (it's not really user friendly)
  • Photos are organised by folders meaning if you want to tag a certain photos, for example "defects", then you need to create and move it into a sub-folder called "defects". And we know what happens to sub-folders within sub-folders - nobody ends up looking at them.
  • It's hard to sort by date. Unless you go into list view which makes looking at photos really hard

An easier free way to manage site photos

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Here is a way I like to manage my work-related photos.

  1. Have a separate work smart phone, at least for taking photos
  2. Create a Google account for work
  3. Install Google Photos and ensure any photos you take is autmatically uploaded to Google Photo
  4. If you are managing multiple projects, separate the photos into albums
  5. If you want to collect specific type of photos, create also an album for that "for example, defects"
  6. At the end of the project, download all the photos onto the computer

The first point is quite important, you want to have a separate work phone. You don't want to be separating personal and work-related photos all the time (this goes for other content too such as messages). That way, it's easier to download all the work-related photos onto your computer. You can also confidently show photos on your phone to others without worrying about embarrassing selfies. If you don't have one already, request one from your company. It doesn't need to be the latest flagship phone. It doesn't even need to have a SIM card! Just a camera and wifi.

Having a separate work phone which automatically uploads all photos to the cloud will save you lots of time. And Google Photos is an incredible app that helps you do that. See here for more detailed instructions from Google on how to set up automatic back up photos.

Things you can do with Google Photo

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  • Share albums with your manager and clients to show progress
  • Easily manage thousands of photos. You can view the photos as thumbnails and flick through them to find the one you want.
  • Analyse the progress of the construction site over the period
  • If you have any queries about the site, you can quickly refer back to the photos instead of asking the contractor to take a photo or going there yourself
  • You can even take videos and watch them on Google Photos (perfect for doing site-walks)
  • You can try google searches such as "sign" or "orange" (a bit creepy I know)

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Once, I even collated all the photos that I took and made it into a quick movie showing progress on site. That was fun.

Thanks for reading!


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