Five ways to use your digital camera on your next DIY project

Whether you’re a seasoned do-it-yourself guru or just getting started on new projects around your home, there are several ways to put your digital camera to good use while you’re at it. If you’ re doing a really messy project, like applying stucco to the walls in your new room addition, consider picking up a used — or even disposable — digital camera instead. Here are five ways we’ve used ours when working on DIY projects around the home and office.

Also check out this video for more photography hacks!

1) Take a picture of the parts you’ll need before going heading to the store. When you need a replacement bolt or screw, it’s easy to slip it in your pocket and run to the hardware store. If you’re trying to replace a six-foot length of fence, however, you can’t really just throw it in the back seat and go. Instead, take a picture of what you’re replacing to use as a reference when you get to the store. Your camera phone is often great for this.

2) Take photos of how things are assembled before you take something apart – It took you hours (maybe days?) to get your HDTV, cable box, Tivo, Slingbox, and stereo all working together in the family room. Now you want to move the whole set up to the living room but the thought of having to do it a second time is daunting. Snap a picture before you disassemble everything so putting it back together in the new location will be a breeze.

3) Take pictures of someone else’s completed project before you start yours – Love your neighbor’s backyard tree fort but don’t want to constantly peer through the blinds while you draw up your own plans? Take a few photos to keep on hand so you can glance through them whenever the mood — or inspiration — strikes.

4) Take step-by-step photos as you work – Tackling a big DIY project for the first time? Take pictures along the way so if something goes wrong (not that it would!), you can retrace your steps to figure out what happened.

5) Use your camera for documentation – Take photos of completed home improvement projects for insurance purposes. For instance, if you live in hurricane country and a storm blows through, you’ll want to show proof of the damaged hot tub skirt you built a month earlier.

Bonus: Be sure to take plenty of pictures of your finished project so you can gloat, er, share the results with your friends and co-workers.

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