Avoid These 5 Mistakes When Placing Outdoor Surveillance Cameras


Are you considering installing outdoor surveillance cameras? It’s a great way to protect your property and ensure the safety of your family or business. However, it’s not enough to just install the cameras anywhere – proper placement is crucial for their effectiveness. In this article, we’ll go over five common mistakes to avoid when placing outdoor surveillance cameras, and provide tips for ensuring the best coverage possible. By following these guidelines, you can optimize the performance of your cameras and get the most out of your investment. For more comprehensive guidelines and tips, check out our 10 Best Practices for Outdoor Surveillance Cameras article.

Why Outdoor Surveillance Camera Placement is Important

The placement of outdoor surveillance cameras plays a critical role in the effectiveness of your overall security system. It’s essential to make sure that the cameras are positioned correctly to cover all the necessary areas and spot any potential threats. Choosing the right placement locations can mean the difference between deterring criminal activity or missing it altogether.

Here are a few reasons why outdoor surveillance camera placement is so important to consider:

  • Deterrence: One of the primary reasons to install outdoor surveillance cameras is to deter crime. Visible cameras are a signal to potential criminals that their actions are being watched and recorded. If installed in highly visible spots, cameras can help prevent theft, break-ins, and vandalism.
  • Coverage: Outdoor surveillance cameras need to cover various areas to ensure that all entry points and vulnerable spots around your property are monitored. Without careful placement, cameras can miss important details, making it easier for criminals to avoid detection.
  • Identification: In the event of a crime or security breach, outdoor surveillance cameras are vital in identifying criminals. Cameras placed at the right height and angle can capture important details such as facial features, clothing, and license plates. This information can be used by authorities to track down and apprehend criminals.
  • Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring of outdoor cameras can be a crucial feature in ensuring the security of your property. By connecting your outdoor surveillance cameras to a remote viewing system or mobile app, you can check the cameras from anywhere at any time, giving you the ability to react to any potential threats quickly.

By avoiding the common mistakes in outdoor surveillance camera placement, you can maximize the effectiveness of your security system. To learn more about outdoor surveillance cameras and how to set them up properly, visit our outdoor surveillance camera tips page.

Mistake #1: Placing Cameras Too High

Mistake #1: Placing Cameras Too High
Placing your outdoor surveillance cameras too high can have serious consequences for the effectiveness of your security system. Although you might assume height provides better coverage, it’s important to take a closer look at the downsides to this approach. Understanding the consequences of placing cameras too high can help you avoid the potential pitfalls and keep your property safe. Let’s explore some alternatives to high placements and the drawbacks that come with overlooking this common mistake. To learn more about other factors to consider in your outdoor surveillance camera placement, check out our article on outdoor surveillance camera setup.

The Downsides to High Surveillance Camera Placement

When it comes to outdoor surveillance camera placement, placing cameras too high is one of the most common mistakes people make, and it can have some serious downsides.

First, high camera placement can result in poor image quality. The farther away the camera is from what it’s trying to capture, the more likely it is that the image will be grainy and unclear. Additionally, high placement can make it more difficult for cameras to capture important details like faces and license plates.

Another downside to high surveillance camera placement is the increased risk of vandalism or tampering. The higher the camera, the easier it is for intruders to disable or damage. This can leave you without any evidence of the crime or activity you were trying to capture.

Finally, high placement can make it more difficult to access your cameras for maintenance or adjustments. If your camera is mounted high up on a wall, you may need to use a ladder or other equipment to reach it, making it a hassle to keep your cameras functioning properly.

To avoid these downsides to high surveillance camera placement, opt for a lower mounting height. An ideal height is typically around 7-9 feet off the ground, which provides a good balance between capturing important details and keeping the camera out of reach of potential vandals.

By avoiding high surveillance camera placement, you can ensure that your outdoor cameras are both effective and easy to maintain. For more information about outdoor surveillance cameras, check out our article on wired vs wireless surveillance cameras or our guide on how to protect outdoor cameras from damage and wear.

Alternatives to High Placements

High placements of outdoor surveillance cameras may seem beneficial, but they come with downsides. Fortunately, there are several alternatives that can help avoid these problems.

One option is to use low placement of the cameras. This method ensures that the cameras capture the faces of intruders, as they look straight into the camera instead of glancing up towards it. Another alternative is to use angled placement which involves mounting the camera at a 45-degree angle. This approach captures rotating images of the subject, giving better details of their clothes and appearance.

For those who don’t want to limit their camera placement to low or angled positions, there are motion-activated cameras. By using these types of cameras, you can set up motion sensors that trigger the camera to turn on and record as soon as movement is detected. This kind of camera placement keeps the camera at a reasonable height while still assuring optimum visibility.

If none of these alternatives appeal to you, there’s always the option of using cameras with remote viewing capability. These cameras allow you to pan, tilt and zoom in from a remote location, which means that you have complete control over the field of view. You can then monitor the surveillance video of the outdoor area from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

By using these alternatives, you can avoid the downsides of high-placed outdoor surveillance cameras while continuing to maintain optimal visibility of your outdoor areas. For more information on these alternatives, check out our articles on angled placements, night vision cameras, motion-activated cameras, and remote viewing.

Mistake #2: Poor or Inadequate Lighting

Mistake #2: Poor Or Inadequate Lighting
When it comes to outdoor surveillance camera placement, lighting is a crucial factor that should never be overlooked. The level and quality of lighting can significantly affect the performance and accuracy of your surveillance system. Unfortunately, poor or inadequate lighting is a common mistake that many people make, leaving their property vulnerable to security breaches. In this section, we will delve into how lighting affects camera performance, and provide essential tips on the best lighting setup to enhance your outdoor surveillance system.

How Lighting Affects Camera Performance

Lighting is a crucial factor that affects the performance of outdoor surveillance cameras. Poor lighting can lead to grainy images, color distortion, and high levels of noise. It can also render the cameras ineffective at night, which is when most break-ins and other crimes occur. To avoid these issues, it’s important to understand how lighting affects camera performance.

One factor to consider is the dynamic range of the camera, which refers to the range of luminance that can be captured by the camera. Cameras with a low dynamic range may struggle to capture details in scenes that have both bright and dark areas, leading to overexposure or underexposure.

Another factor is the lux rating, which measures the amount of light required for the camera to capture images with a certain level of detail. Cameras with a high lux rating may struggle in low light conditions and produce noisy or blurry images.

To ensure optimal camera performance, it’s important to provide adequate lighting. Consider installing motion-activated lights that can illuminate the area when movement is detected. In addition, avoid placing cameras in areas that are directly facing the sun as this can cause lens flare and overexposure.

The table below summarizes how different lighting conditions affect camera performance:

Lighting Condition Effect on Camera Performance
Bright Sunlight Risk of lens flare and overexposure
Low Light Risk of noisy or blurry images
Backlighting Risk of overexposure or underexposure
Harsh Shadows Difficulty capturing details in dark areas

By understanding how lighting affects camera performance and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that your outdoor surveillance cameras capture high-quality, usable footage.

The Best Lighting for Outdoor Surveillance Cameras

When it comes to outdoor surveillance camera placement, lighting plays a crucial role in ensuring that you capture clear footage. Here are some tips on the best lighting for outdoor surveillance cameras:

  • Use Infrared Lighting: Infrared lighting is a fantastic option for outdoor surveillance cameras. It provides the necessary lighting without being visible to the naked eye, making it ideal for nighttime surveillance. It also doesn’t attract bugs or birds, which can trigger false alarms.
  • Avoid Overexposed Lighting: Overexposed lighting can cause glare, making it difficult to see anything in the footage. It can also confuse the camera’s automatic exposure control, resulting in poor image quality.
  • Consider Motion-Activated Lighting: Motion-activated lighting can be an excellent addition to outdoor surveillance cameras. It helps draw attention to any suspicious activity and provides additional illumination for clearer footage.
  • Take Natural Lighting into Account: Natural lighting can also play a significant role in outdoor surveillance camera footage. Direct sunlight can cause shadows and make it challenging to see details. Conversely, cloudy days may not provide enough lighting for optimal footage.
  • Test Lighting Conditions: Before installing your outdoor surveillance cameras, test the lighting conditions at different times of the day and under different weather conditions. This allows you to adjust the camera’s position or lighting to ensure you capture the best footage possible.

By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your outdoor surveillance cameras capture high-quality footage that is essential in monitoring your outdoor area.

Mistake #3: Ignoring Range or Coverage Area

Mistake #3: Ignoring Range Or Coverage Area
When it comes to outdoor surveillance camera placement, many people tend to make the mistake of ignoring the importance of range and coverage area. This can lead to blind spots and a lack of proper monitoring in crucial areas. It’s crucial to understand how to choose the right camera for your coverage needs, so you can be certain that your property is being properly monitored. Let’s take a closer look at how ignoring range and coverage area can be a costly mistake.

Why Range and Coverage are Important

Having appropriate range and coverage is essential when it comes to outdoor surveillance cameras placement. Range refers to the maximum distance over which the camera can detect motion, while coverage refers to the width of the area that the camera records. These two factors play a crucial role in enabling the capture of clear evidence of any intrusions or criminal activities that occur in the camera’s field of view.

Choosing a camera with inadequate range can lead to blind spots and result in insufficient footage, which can render the surveillance system useless. In contrast, selecting a camera with excessive range may lead to capturing irrelevant details, increasing storage usage and making it challenging to identify the essential details.

In this regard, it is essential to assess the size of the area that requires surveillance and how far the camera must be able to capture the details. A useful way to do this is to create a table that displays the area to be covered and what range distance is required to effectively monitor it.

| Coverage Area | Required Range |
| Front Yard | 30 feet |
| Back Yard | 50 feet |
| Garage | 20 feet |
| Entryway | 10 feet |

After creating a table like this, you will have a better understanding of the necessary range and coverage, allowing you to choose the right camera for your needs. By assessing the required range and coverage, you can avoid the mistake of ignoring them and ensure that your camera placement is effective in capturing clear evidence of any criminal activities.

How to Choose the Right Camera for Your Coverage Area

When choosing an outdoor surveillance camera, it’s important to consider the range and coverage area you need to monitor. To make the right choice, take note of the following factors:

1. Distance: Consider how far you need the camera to see. If you need to monitor a large area, you may want to look into long-range cameras that can see up to 400ft.

2. Viewing angle: The viewing angle of the camera will determine how much of the area it can capture. A larger viewing angle means you can monitor more area with fewer cameras.

3. Zoom: Zoom capabilities are important if you need to get a close-up view of evidence. Some cameras offer optical zoom, meaning they physically move to zoom in on a subject. Others offer digital zoom, which allows you to zoom in electronically, but can result in loss of detail.

4. Resolution: Higher resolution cameras will provide a clearer image, making it easier to identify details. However, higher resolution cameras may also require more storage space for the footage they capture.

5. Lighting: Consider the lighting conditions in the area you want to monitor. Cameras with infrared (IR) illuminators can see in low-light conditions, while others may require additional lighting to capture clear footage.

Use this table to compare the features of different outdoor surveillance cameras:

Camera Distance Viewing Angle Zoom Resolution Lighting
Camera A 250ft 120 degrees Optical Zoom 1080p IR Illuminators
Camera B 400ft 90 degrees Digital Zoom 720p Additional Lighting Required
Camera C 150ft 180 degrees Optical Zoom 4K IR Illuminators

By taking these factors into consideration and comparing the features of different cameras, you can choose the right camera for your specific coverage area and surveillance needs.

Mistake #4: Not Protecting Cameras from the Elements

Mistake #4: Not Protecting Cameras From The Elements
When installing outdoor surveillance cameras, protection from the elements should be high on the priority list. Failing to do so can lead to camera damage, malfunction, and even complete failure. It’s important to take into consideration various weather conditions and ensure that the cameras are safeguarded against them. In this section, we will discuss the reasons why outdoor cameras need protection and provide tips on how to protect them.

Why Outdoor Cameras Need Protection

Outdoor surveillance cameras are an essential element in keeping your property, family, and valuables secure. However, with the outdoor environment, these cameras may be subject to various weather conditions that can impact their functioning. It is crucial to provide outdoor cameras with the protection they need to function effectively and maintain their longevity.

Here are some of the reasons why outdoor cameras need protection:

Reasons Impacts on the cameras
Excessive heat and humidity Shortened lifespan, reduced camera performance, and unclear image quality.
Heavy rains and snow Water damage, electrical shorts, and reduced camera sensitivity.
Extreme cold Freezing of camera parts, reducing performance, and image quality.
Sunlight and UV rays Fading, discoloration, and damage to camera lenses.
Dust and debris Build-up on camera lenses, reducing image clarity and overall performance.

Giving your outdoor surveillance cameras the protection they need will ensure that they continue to function optimally for years. This protection can extend the lifespan of your cameras, ensuring that you get the best possible value from your investment.

Tips for Protecting Cameras

To protect your outdoor surveillance cameras from the rough elements of the environment, there are several essential tips to follow:

1. Choose a weather-resistant camera: When purchasing outdoor surveillance cameras, make sure they’re designed to withstand extreme temperatures, rain, and other environmental elements. Look for cameras with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of at least IP65.

2. Use outdoor enclosures: Even weather-resistant cameras are subject to damage from heavy rain, snow, or hail. Give them extra protection by enclosing them in protective covers designed to shield cameras from the elements.

3. Clean your cameras regularly: Outdoor surveillance cameras can quickly accumulate dirt, dust, spiderwebs, and other debris, which can limit their effectiveness. Clean the cameras regularly to keep them in good working condition.

4. Position cameras away from direct sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause cameras to overheat and damage the internal components. Position cameras out of direct sunlight, or add a cover to shield them from the sun’s rays.

5. Protect cable connections: Outdoor surveillance cameras are connected to your recording device via a cable, which can be damaged by rain, winds, or other weather conditions. Use weatherproof conduit or PVC pipes to protect cable connections from the elements.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure your outdoor surveillance cameras remain protected and function correctly over the long term.

Mistake #5: Overlooking Blind Spots

When it comes to outdoor surveillance camera placement, overlooking blind spots can be a costly mistake. Not being able to see certain areas within the camera’s range can leave your property vulnerable to potential threats. Blind spots can give intruders the opportunity to go undetected and cause harm. It’s essential to identify and prevent blind spots for the safety and security of your property. Let’s explore the reasons why blind spots are dangerous and how you can avoid them.

Why Blind Spots are Dangerous

Blind spots are areas where the surveillance camera cannot reach, making them a dangerous and vulnerable spot. When a camera misses coverage in a particular area, it creates a gap in your security, leaving you exposed to potential threats. Here are some reasons why these blind spots can be particularly hazardous:

1. Unobserved Criminal Activities: If a surveillance camera is unable to cover a particular area or subject, it could potentially miss critical actions, leading to unobserved criminal activity.

2. Increased Vulnerability: Blind spots make your property more vulnerable to crimes such as theft, vandalism, or even burglary. Criminals can easily take advantage of the area without any visible surveillance.

3. Incomplete Evidence: In the event of a crime, if the surveillance camera does not capture the entire action, it can lead to incomplete evidence. This can make it difficult for authorities to prosecute the culprit, making it a frustrating and time-consuming process.

4. Missed Safety Hazards: Blind spots are not just limited to criminal activity; they can also miss potential safety hazards. For example, a surveillance camera that does not cover certain areas of your property may miss accidental fires, leaks or other dangers.

Avoiding blind spots in your outdoor surveillance camera placement is crucial for a complete and effective security system. Be sure to identify and address any potential blind spots before installing your cameras for optimal security coverage.

How to Identify and Avoid Blind Spots

Identifying and avoiding blind spots in outdoor surveillance camera placement is crucial for ensuring complete security coverage of your property. Blind spots are areas that cannot be seen by the cameras, providing an opportunity for intruders to sneak in undetected. To avoid blind spots, you need to consider the placement of the cameras and the angles at which they are pointed.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Property

First, evaluate your property to identify areas that need surveillance coverage. Walk around the perimeter of your property and take note of potential blind spots such as corners, doorways, and windows. Also, consider any natural obstacles such as trees, bushes or uneven terrain that could obstruct the camera’s view.

Step 2: Determine the Right Camera Type

The type of outdoor surveillance camera you choose will determine the range of coverage and the specific angles that can be captured. Some cameras are designed specifically for close-up shots while others are geared towards wider coverage areas.

Step 3: Consider Angles and Overlapping Coverage

Once you identify the potential blind spots, plan your camera placement to ensure they cover all angles of the area. Overlapping coverage is vital to preventing blind spots. You should place your cameras in a way that eliminates any areas that can’t be covered.

Consider the height of the cameras, as well. They should be high enough to avoid tampering and vandalism but low enough to catch intruders’ faces. Try to avoid placing cameras too high or too low, as this will create unusable footage filled with blind spots.

Here’s an example table that you can use to summarize your evaluations and decisions for camera placement:

Property Area Blind Spots Camera Type Camera Angle Camera Height Overlapping Coverage
Front Yard Front Door, Window Wide-shot 120° Angle 10-12 ft. Overlapping coverage of the front door and window areas.
Backyard Patio Door, Fence Gate Close-up 40° Angle 7-8 ft. Overlapping coverage of both the patio door and fence gate entrances.
Side Yard Elevated Terrain, Trees Wide-shot 90° Angle 10-12 ft. Overlapping coverage to ensure no deficits are visible.

Identifying and avoiding blind spots in outdoor surveillance camera placement is essential to ensure complete security coverage of your property. By following these steps and considering the right camera type, angles, and overlapping coverage, you can protect your property and your peace of mind.


After carefully considering the aforementioned common mistakes, it’s clear that proper outdoor surveillance camera placement requires attention to detail and a thorough understanding of how different factors come into play. By avoiding the pitfalls of high placements, inadequate lighting, insufficient range or coverage, lack of protection from the elements, and blind spots, you can ensure that your outdoor camera system is as effective as possible. Remember to take the time to assess your specific needs, choose the right equipment, and position cameras strategically. With these tips and tricks in mind, you can gain peace of mind knowing that you’re keeping your property safe and secure.

How to Best Place Your Outdoor Surveillance Cameras

Placing your outdoor surveillance cameras in the best location is crucial for their effectiveness. Consider the following table of optimal camera placement options and scenarios:

Placement Option Scenario Benefits
At eye level If you want to capture clear facial recognition shots Provides a clear view of people’s faces and protects the camera from becoming a target while keeping it accessible for maintenance
Underneath the eaves If you want to protect the camera from harsh weather conditions The eaves provide both shelter and shade from the elements
At corners If you want to cover as much ground as possible Provides a wider view of the area, increasing coverage area
Pointed at the entrance If you want to monitor who enters and exits the property Provides a clear view of the entrance and serves as a deterrent to potential intruders
Overlooking a driveway or alleyway If you want to capture vehicles and intruders entering the property Provides a clear view of vehicles and people entering the property, increasing security and surveillance coverage

Remember to avoid the common mistakes mentioned above when selecting the ideal location for your outdoor surveillance cameras. By considering the placement options listed in the table above, you can optimize camera placement for maximum coverage and effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can outdoor cameras be placed too low?

Yes, placing cameras too low can limit their range and field of vision, making them ineffective at capturing useful footage.

2. Should outdoor cameras be installed in direct sunlight?

No, direct sunlight can negatively affect camera performance and lead to overexposed or washed-out footage. It’s best to install cameras in shaded areas or use cameras with built-in sun shades.

3. What is the recommended distance between outdoor cameras?

The recommended distance between cameras depends on their coverage area and range. It’s best to consult with a professional to determine the best placement for your specific needs.

4. Can outdoor cameras be moved once installed?

Yes, outdoor cameras can be moved. However, it’s important to ensure they are properly repositioned and recalibrated to maintain optimal performance.

5. Can outdoor cameras be used indoors?

Yes, outdoor cameras can be used indoors. However, indoor cameras may not be suitable for outdoor use due to their lack of weather resistance.

6. How do I protect outdoor cameras from vandalism?

To protect cameras from vandalism, they can be placed out of reach and visibility or encased in protective housings. Installing cameras in well-lit areas can also deter would-be vandals.

7. Can outdoor cameras be used at night?

Yes, outdoor cameras can be used at night. However, they require adequate lighting to capture clear footage. Infrared cameras are a popular option for night-time surveillance.

8. How do I choose the right outdoor camera for my needs?

When choosing an outdoor camera, consider factors such as range, field of vision, lighting, and weather resistance. Consult with a professional for personalized recommendations.

9. Can outdoor cameras be connected to a smart home system?

Yes, outdoor cameras can be connected to a smart home system for remote monitoring and control.

10. How do I maintain my outdoor cameras?

To maintain outdoor cameras, regularly clean them with a microfiber cloth and check for any physical damage or malfunctions. It’s also important to protect them from extreme weather conditions and potential vandals.