Where to put your camera so you can keep an eye on what you want

Depending on what you want to keep an eye on, and what else is in the field of view, the ideal location for your camera can vary. This article will help you decide what’s best for your needs.

When selecting a location and vantage point, ask yourself "What's most important for me to keep an eye on?" You may already have something in mind. Here are a few examples:

  • If you want to track something specific, like who passes through a certain area of your home, find a way to make that the centerpiece of your camera’s view.
  • To use your camera for security monitoring, it’s a good idea to make sure it can see the points of entry into your property or home like the driveway, doors or first-floor windows.
  • Place your camera at a height where you can easily see people’s faces, even if they’re wearing a hat.
  • When using your camera to watch your kids, make sure the camera and its power cable stay out of reach. For more information, review the Safety Guidelines for using your camera.
  • If you plan on using Talk and Listen a lot, put the camera in a spot where you can hear people and they can hear you.

In general, your camera gets a better view of people when it’s placed at head level or a little higher; adjust the angle so the camera is looking slightly downward. Use the Nest app to check that you can clearly see people’s faces. And visit the Nest camera safety guidelines if you plan to install your camera more than 6.5 ft (2 m) above the ground.

Your camera needs good air circulation. Never install it in any kind of small box or enclosure as this can cause overheating.

Tips for indoor cameras:

  • Do not use indoor cameras outside. Use them inside only and keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Some common placement examples include on a bookcase, atop the refrigerator, or even at the top of a staircase looking down.

Tips for outdoor cameras:

  • Generally, you’ll want to install your Nest Cam 7 to 10 ft (2 to 3 m) above the ground. If the sun shines directly into the lens of the camera, you’ll get a glare that affects video quality, so point the camera downward.
  • On a hot day, prolonged direct sunlight can heat up your camera quite a bit. To help keep things cool, mount your camera in a shaded spot such as under an eave, or install a small shade above the camera.

See the sections below for more tips and things to consider when deciding where to place your camera.

Give your camera a clear view

Here are some ideas to help make sure your camera can see everything:

  • Your camera has a 130° wide-angle lens, so you have a lot of options for placing it in a good spot to catch activity. But you won’t get alerts for motion that happens in areas obstructed from view, so check the Nest app to make sure your camera can see the whole scene clearly.
  • If your camera’s on a horizontal surface or near a corner, try to angle it so the adjacent surfaces stay out of view. Otherwise, when it’s dark and Night Vision is on, those surfaces could reflect IR light and hamper your camera’s ability to see things in the distance.
  • Think about conditions that might change throughout the day. For example, the sun might cause glare at certain times. Curtains or leaves might block the lens if a fan turns on or if the breeze picks up.
  • If you’re getting a lot of glare on the lens, try placing your camera a little higher and angling it downward. Be sure not to angle it so far downward that the surface it’s mounted on comes into view.

Decide how prominent your camera to be

If you want your camera to help discourage intruders, try mounting it so that people notice it as they approach. The camera even includes a status light that changes colors and blinks, making it easy to see that you’re keeping tabs on things.

Note: You can always change the status light brightness level in the Camera Settings.

If you prefer your camera to blend in and complement your decor, think of ways it can visually tie into things that are already there, like similarly shaped or colored items on a shelf.

Your can secure your camera’s power cord to prevent tampering or theft. We have some great tips in this article:

How to protect your Nest Cam and its video from tampering >

Zoom in to see things faraway 

If you need to place your camera far from the spot you want to watch, you can use your camera’s zoom feature to get a closer look. Change the Video Zoom setting in the Nest app to keep your camera zoomed in all the time.

How to zoom and enhance your camera's video with the Nest app >

Mount your camera upside down if you need to

We designed our Nest cameras for easy DIY installation with a variety of mounting options. You can even install your camera upside down and use the Nest app to flip the video so it’s right side up.

How to flip your camera’s video so it's right side up  >

Make the most of an indoor camera that's looking outside

While it’s possible to point an indoor camera out a window to see what’s happening outside, this might not give you the best experience. For example, the window glass can create reflections, and your view is limited by the size and location of the window. Instead, you can install one of Nest’s outdoor cameras that’s designed to withstand the elements.

If you prefer to use an indoor camera, here are some tips for pointing it out a window:

  • If the window glass is creating reflections and glare, it’ll be harder for you to see what’s happening outside. When Night Vision is turned on, the infrared lights will create further reflections. To reduce glare, try mounting the camera so that the lens is flush against the glass.
  • A mesh screen on the window can affect motion detection. Avoid windows with mesh screens if possible.

Keep the TV out of your camera's view (Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor only)

With a Nest Aware subscription, your camera can send an alert whenever it sees a face it doesn’t recognize. To avoid getting familiar face alerts from faces in TV shows and movies, consider pointing your camera away from the television.

Alternatively, if you are not able to face the camera away from the TV and keep your desired viewing angle, you can tell it not to send alerts for familiar or unfamiliar faces when you’re home. This option is in your camera’s notification settings.

Respect the law and others' privacy

Remember, you are responsible for making sure that the way you use your camera complies with the law, including any applicable privacy or data protection laws.

If your camera supports familiar face detection, use this feature in compliance with the law. Depending on where you live, you might need to get consent to have your camera help identify people visiting your home.

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?