Where to Place Security Cameras at Home: A Complete Guide!


Knowing how to place your surveillance camera is a prerequisite for operational protection. In fact, positioning a camera well is certainly not as obvious as you might think at first. There are several factors to consider.

Technically, you need to understand the characteristics and operation of your camera as well as the type of connection it requires.

We will try to provide you with several answers to help you in your search for effective protection.

What standards for the location of surveillance cameras?

When installing a surveillance camera, certain rules must be observed. These come both from the law that regulates video surveillance (or video protection according to the exact official term), as from the opinion of experts in the form of advice and general technical information.

You are obviously under no obligation to respect these to the letter since everyone has their own constraints. It is therefore first of all to comply with the law regarding surveillance by camera, so let’s start with the requirements of the legislator.

Legislative requirements

The “correct” location of a surveillance camera is subject to certain rules stemming from the laws in force, which must be observed. They are particularly strict with regard to the arrangement of outdoor cameras.

  • Indeed and whatever your objectives, your camera must be limited to the strictly personal sphere . In all cases, it must  respect the privacy of neighbors, visitors and passers-by. Therefore, it is advisable to install your camera where it will film only the interior of your property (house, garden or terrace) but in no case the public road or the neighboring properties. If your door leads directly to public space, you must adjust the angle of inclination of the camera, so as to avoid any encroachment on the freedom of others.
  • With regard to indoor cameras, the law makes no specific provision; however, care must be taken not to infringe on the privacy of those filmed, such as family members, friends or even your guests. The camera should only be used for security and protection purposes.
  • Obviously, there are other similar obligations in accordance with the legislation in force such as for example if the filmed places are accessible to the public , the installation of surveillance cameras must be the subject of a declaration to the prefecture , or in the context of a business where, even if the premises are not accessible to the public, the owner is required to register his video surveillance system in the data processing register .
  • Finally, it is important that any person (public), accessing an establishment equipped with cameras, be informed that it is under video surveillance by a sign or sticker , including for example an adequate pictogram which is legible and explicit for all.

The experts’ response

To achieve an efficient installation, the choice of the appropriate camera is essential. Several elements must be taken into consideration such as the space to be treated , the angle of view , personal requirements (movement detection, facial identification, etc.) as well as the particularities of the environment (power supply, wifi, brightness, contrast levels,…).

Consequently, the strategic choice of the ideal location for one or more surveillance cameras necessarily involves respecting certain parameters in order to ensure optimal operating conditions.

Camera lens: what level of detail?

First of all, the objective of the surveillance must be formally established since it will allow you to define the type of camera to be used as well as its positioning:

  • If your goal is to have an overview of an access or a space in order to monitor the movements of people and objects,
  • If you want to clearly identify any person or object crossing the camera field. This must then be positioned and developed so as to obtain the desired level of detail.

The height and angle of the camera

In general, we often imagine that mounting a camera at height is ideal: the camera is inaccessible and discreet at will. Well, we are far from the truth apart, of course for PTZ cameras (sophisticated but quite expensive). A too high installation will reduce your field of vision, as well as the effectiveness of infrared vision.

In practice, a surveillance camera is ideally installed when:

  • It is at a height of between 2 and 3 m from the ground .
  • It must cover the compulsory passages .
  • It should not leave blind spots while allowing you to observe distinctly the activities as well as the faces of the people who are in its field of vision.
  • It should be tilted slightly down to get more details in the images. In identification mode , 10° to 15° give the best results, otherwise 30° is often enough for an overall view.

Whether inside your house or in your garden, it is important to prefer places with a particularly clear view while making sure to gain as much discretion as possible.

Field of view

When planning to buy a surveillance camera, the viewing angle is one of the parameters that must be taken into account. And who says viewing angle, says focal.

What is the focal length and what is the difference between a 2.8mm, 4mm or 6mm focal length?

Do not confuse focal length and zoom: the focal length of the camera partly defines the viewing angle displayed on your screen while the zoom is a function of the camera. The shorter the focal length, the wider the viewing angle (ideal for the outdoor camera), the longer the focal length, the narrower the field of vision (ideal for the indoor camera).

Finally, the objective is to find a compromise between the viewing angle and the distance offered by the lens. To summarize the concept, the larger the focal length of the lens, the longer the viewing distance and the smaller your viewing angle and vice versa with a lens focal length which would be small.

Example of focal length and its impact on image quality:

focal  2.8mm  12mm
 Viewing angle  Between 90 and 100 ° approximately  About 30 °
 Vision detail  Low  High
 View of a person  Good from near, very weak from far  Variable from close, good from afar

Nowadays there are so-called varifocal cameras where, as the name suggests, it is possible to change the focal length. These are the easiest cameras to configure.

Detection areas and blind spots

The majority of outdoor cameras have an angle that is called “dead” . If, for example, the camera is oriented to monitor access to a gate, front door or garden, everything on the different sides not covered by the camera lens is called a blind spot. and represents the weak point that must be avoided or minimized at all costs.

Which location will give the best viewing angle? Should we install a camera on a vertical wall or rather, on a horizontal surface?

Here again, the answer is not obvious, the objective being to ensure that you have the minimum possible blind spots, that is to say areas not covered by the camera.

  • A first answer would be to install rotating cameras that would allow you to cover a large area. In this case, the condition of efficiency lies in the performance of the motion detector and the speed of rotation of the camera.
  • It is also possible to install more than one surveillance camera in order to obtain multiple protection and ensure that your entire space is covered.

In all cases, it is more advantageous to favor wide angle cameras (120 ° and more) to install a minimum number of surveillance cameras. Interior cameras, on the other hand, often display far fewer blind spots.

  • When they are intended to monitor a room, it is advisable to favor dome cameras to be installed on the ceiling, in the middle of the room.
  • If you opt for another type of camera, you will have to place it at a precise angle of the room overlooking the entrance for example. At the level of the corridors, the same advice remains applicable, with the difference that here, the space to be monitored is narrower but often much longer.

Power supply

This section will be particularly useful if you are using a wired camera or a camera that connects via Ethernet.

How to optimize the layout of the cameras if they need to be connected to the mains?

In fact, you don’t have to place this type of camera right above a socket. On the contrary, they would become vulnerable because it would be enough for the criminal to remove the plug and the camera would no longer work. Instead, place the cameras where the connection cables can pass easily, often just above doors and windows. You will also be able to take advantage of your electrical installation.

Wifi

If you use an IP camera therefore using a wireless wifi network, the problem of cables does not arise. You may tend to think that you can place your surveillance camera wherever you want. This is only partially true. This is because you will need to place the camera so that it can properly pick up your wireless network. Therefore, care should be taken to place it at a good distance from your wifi box.

If it is true that some cameras can pick up wifi at 200 or 300 m, it should be borne in mind that this is a distance devoid of obstacles. Furniture, walls, or other obstructions can block the signal, limiting the range of the signal.

In case you only use one camera, it would be more practical to place it as close as possible to your wifi source. If you use multiple cameras, you surely cannot have a box at every corner of the house. It is therefore recommended to use several internet signal relays such as wifi repeaters or else to go straight to the PLC system in order to send the signal optimally.

The motion detector

The motion detection systems with which some cameras are fitted are very effective. However, if you have a pet or if you plan to orient your camera in front of a window or directly outside, it is important to choose a model including detection zones.

By neutralizing the detection on a part of the image, you will prevent untimely triggers (due to a passing dog or a tree that moves under the effect of the wind, for example).

The ideal number of cameras

We may place the surveillance camera in the best possible place, but covering your entire property may require installing more than two cameras. The most suitable safety devices are sold in kits or sets of two, four, six, eight, etc. cameras.

And then, we must not forget that this is an investment. So you are not going to pay for the same lot of cameras if you live in a house with a garden or in an apartment. It is therefore necessary to carefully examine and take stock of the various sensitive sites to be protected.

Is there a perfect number of surveillance cameras capable of ensuring effective video surveillance?

In fact, there is no ready-made formula that would be applied in all cases. The number of cameras to be installed undoubtedly varies according to the needs of the user and therefore his objectives.

Access monitoring

It is essential to protect all access to a property such as doors, windows and the roof.

  • It is indeed advisable to install a surveillance camera to cover your front door not only from the inside but also from the outside as well as all the obligatory passages which lead there like the corridors or the courtyard or the alley outside .
  • It is also advisable not to leave dark or poorly lit areas around your home unattended. Other types of access to the ground floor and the first floor of your home, such as sliding doors and windows , must also be covered by security cameras.
  • In order to optimize and strengthen your protection, it is still possible to opt for other complementary devices such as lighting by motion detection or the installation of additional locks .

Monitoring of an entire property

If you have a property of a certain size, it is obvious that you will need a larger number of surveillance cameras. Also, it is recommended that you determine for yourself the best locations for installing the cameras (with a standard viewing angle) by identifying the areas that you will want to cover.

This will allow you to approximate the number of cameras you will need. It is interesting to consider installing dummy cameras in addition to have a most dissuasive effect and make sure to hide your lot of real cameras in order to make them more discreet and efficient.

Monitoring a corridor

Whether they pass through the front door, window or garage, burglars will almost always have to go through a hallway or corridor to get around the house. The installation of a surveillance camera is therefore particularly recommended in these forced passage zones .

  • If the corridor in question forms a straight line, a single dome camera placed in the center of it or a box camera will do the trick.
  • On the other hand, as soon as the corridor to be monitored goes in two different directions or that it has a separation angle, two cameras are necessary in order to properly cover the whole.

In the first case, the cameras can be placed side by side and rotated in opposite directions. In the second, they should be placed on either side of the separation angle.

Monitoring a bedroom

It all depends on the size of the room and the arrangement of the furniture that furnishes it. A large room, even 8 to 10 m 2, can be monitored using a single camera if the furniture is small (a reception room, for example). This will require a model capable of covering the entire space of the room, namely 360 °.

On the contrary, a small room may require the installation of two cameras, especially if the furniture is large and / or placed so as to obstruct the field of vision in the case of a single camera.

Specific applications

Generally, it is obvious that the ideal location for an indoor camera is certainly not the same as for an outdoor camera. In addition, an outdoor solar camera is surely not placed in the same way as a conventional outdoor camera and a baby monitor camera is placed differently from standard indoor cameras.

This is why it is useful to approach these very specific applications one by one.

The indoor camera

It is important to avoid exposing the indoor camera to a light or reflective source in order to ensure good operating conditions. It should not be placed in front of a television or computer, nor directly in front of windows. Light may dazzle the camera and alter the resulting images.

In addition, if you opt for a camera with a stand (that is to say those that will not be hung on the ceiling or placed on a wall), it is preferable to place it far from your work plan and to favor places out of reach to avoid dropping it.

Obviously, it is necessary to prefer a location conducive to air circulation to avoid cases of overheating and out of the reach of children.

The outdoor camera

The outdoor camera must meet other requirements than those already mentioned. Indeed, it is exposed to bad weather and the vagaries of the climate. Therefore, it is best to place it where it will be sheltered from strong winds, rain, snow but also from the sun.

Of course this type of camera is waterproof with a high protection index (IP 65 and more), however it is always better to strengthen its protection. Rather than putting it on one of the facades of the house, it is healthier to place it under your porch. It will also prevent the surveillance camera from being the first thing you notice when passing through your portal.

If you want your camera to have a deterrent effect, be aware that the only flashing red light will signal its presence to any malicious person. Depending on your goals, you can ensure that it is visible or discreet for your convenience. If you opt for discretion, it is better to choose a model that blends into the landscape with an invisible LED .

The baby / child camera

The baby monitor camera’s primary objective is to monitor the baby and help the parents to ensure their well-being. Consequently, it must be kept away from the child to allow parents to monitor their direct environment and identify anything that could disturb them.

However, it should not be too far away because the majority of baby monitor cameras are equipped with two-way audio which allows parents in case of crying, to address their baby. Very often, the soft voice of his mother can succeed in reassuring him and therefore calming him. Some models even offer pre-recorded music to rock your baby to help him fall asleep.

The hidden camera

As its name suggests, the main purpose of this type of camera is to be hidden. It must be installed 2 m above the ground, with the best possible viewing angle, at a good distance from the wifi and must not face a light source.

However, it should especially be placed where it will not be noticed and where no one is likely to move it. It is more interesting to place it on fixed supports or furniture such as your sideboard or better yet, opt for a camera already integrated into household objects (clock, lamp, etc.).

The solar camera

Unlike other types of outdoor camera, the solar camera is equipped with a solar plate often on the upper part and therefore facing the sun. It cannot be placed sheltered from bad weather but rather where it can receive the maximum of solar radiation.

However, avoid putting them too high, unless the camera zoom allows. In all cases, find a model with a solid case that can accumulate enough energy for a battery life of more than 24 hours, ideally for several days. So you can always count on your camera especially when the weather gets cloudy.

Video doorbell

This electronic device combines both the capabilities of a telephone and that of video and security camera.

Unlike an intercom, which only provides oral exchange, this device allows you to see the other person thanks to a small camera fixed on a box, or placed above the step of your door or your gate.

This camera provides you with outdoor images on the screen of a small indoor monitor in your home. It is a system which is very practical especially when dealing with hawkers or other sellers, it is also a security measure against any visitor that is unknown to you.

The most popular video doorbell by far is Ring with over 20 000 positive reviews on Amazon.

The Ultimate advice on Security Camera Placement

Placing your camera properly is obviously a crucial step in your security. To ensure the correct choice of location for a camera, do not hesitate to do tests prior to installation. Climb a ladder and spin. Then check the range and quality of the recorded images. You can also try to turn the camera upside down. In some cases, the images are better as well. Most user interfaces or software related to the camera have an option to flip the image.

Once confirmed, proceed to pairing with the desired devices. The efficiency and speed of the camera’s communication with your smartphone, your computer, your alarms are just as important as the place of the camera itself.

Then configure your camera correctly, in terms of images, motion detection and functions to activate in the event of an intrusion attempt at your home (push notification to your phone, rapid police contact, intrusion alarm, etc.).

Finally, please note that once fixed, the camera must not remain maintenance free. At least once a year, it is recommended to remove the camera, clean its exterior and check the quality of each of its components.

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Luka Baron

Chief editor of Security Latest with 5 years of real security work experience. I'm also a family man with wife and two sons. When I'm not turning homes into fortresses, the Baron family is usually on the Nintendo or on California's best hiking trails.

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