Nov 14, 2004

Photographing objects for insurance purposes

Could you visualize every singlr thing that you have in your dining room, kitchen, or basement if a fire destroyed your home? If you're like me, probably not. A photographic inventory is the easiest and best way to document your possessions for insurance purposes. These pictures can help you get the maximum reimbursement and save you real money.

The fisrt step to this process is to make a list to be sure you photograph everything. This includes all the property you own—house, barn, garage, swimming pool; inside every room, including the basement, attic, and garage; inside kitchen cupboards, cabinets, and closets. Don't forget electronic items and tools, and close-ups of expensive items that might increase in value, like jewelry, antiques, paintings, and fine china.

Room-by-room, develop a photographic inventory to document your possessions. On the back of the prints, or in your photo album software record the cost and purchase dates of the items. Save a set of prints or burn a CD of them and store it outside your house, such as at a bank or a relative's house that isn't near yours. I keep mine at work.

An uncluttered background focuses attention on the subject, resulting in a stronger picture. Place your subject against a plain, non-distracting background. Alternatively, sometimes just moving yourself (and the camera) a few feet one way or the other can eliminate distractions from view. For a close-up view of small objects or details, shoot at your camera's closest focusing distance. Some cameras have a close-up (or "macro") setting or accept accessory close-up lenses. Check the camera manual. If the subject still isn't big enough, you can always crop and enlarge it. With a digital camera, shoot at the highest resolution and then crop the picture in the computer.

Remember to get close. Fill the viewfinder with your subject and create pictures with greater impact. Step in close or use your camera's zoom to emphasize what is important and exclude the rest. Check the manual for your camera's closest focusing distance.

It's difficult to take a picture of an entire room and not leave anything out. Instead, stand in different corners of the room and snap away. Take individual pictures of each valuable item, like a dresser, jewelry, or a painting, to capture more detail.

Better Digital Photography