An inventory of what you own is necessary for insurance. If anything is lost during a fire or stolen by a burglar, you have documentation of your ownership and replace it.
There’s no better time to create this inventory than now. You could develop your list the old-fashioned way: by writing down what you own, which is time consuming. Or you could use modern technology, such as a smart phone or video camera, to create a visual record relatively quickly. To do that, check out the following tips from professional photographer Jeff Wignall.
Start on the outside.
You’d correctly assume that most of your stuff is inside your San Joaquin Valley home. But what about the new bike you park on the porch, the barbecue grill next to the patio set, or the children’s play set in the backyard. If you confine your recording to the interior, you could easily miss these possessions. To ensure that you get everything, start your inventory from the outside with some wide shots of the home, so you know what you have in general and how they relate to your home. Then focus on some close-ups for more detail.
Bring in the light.
You’re not trying to create a work of art. You want clear and detailed images of everything you own. The best way to get those is to bring in as much light into the interior as possible. Take your shots during the day and open any window coverings so sunlight comes streaming into the room. Turn on all your lights and add supplemental light sources, if available, such as a spotlight or flash.
The size, and consequently value, of certain items can be obvious when you first look at them. For example, the keyboard reveals the size of your computer system. However, the dimensions of some items can be a puzzle at first glance. Is that antique bowl the size of saucer, a dinner plate, or a serving tray. Whenever possible, include a ruler, yardstick, or some measurement in the picture to show the size of an object. Even photographing your hand holding small objects can reveal their sizes.
Don’t forget the detail.
As with your exterior efforts, start with wide shots of the room to place items in context. Open cabinets and drawers to reveal what’s in them. Then get close-ups of items that are particularly expensive. Be sure to include shots of the brand and model for electronics, and any receipts, if they’re available. If you’re recording video, add audio to describe the item, such as where you bought it, how much it cost and what it’s made of. Ask your insurance company what details are needed to adequately replace an object and include those details in the record. If you have the space, create a simple set with a white surface and background and where you can photograph smaller items.
Duplicate the records.
After you’ve created your inventory, duplicate the files in as many locations as possible, such as in your primary computer, cloud storage, or a flash drive that you leave with a trusted friend. Add to this visual record every year by recording new items you’ve purchased. For particularly expensive or hard to replace items, you may want a visual record as soon as you buy it.
If you want to know more about recording the items in your home or want to tour some of our developments, please contact us.