Outdoors security cameras are great to monitor the unknowns outside of your property. But setting them up in plain sight also makes your cameras a target for people with malicious intent. That’s why hiding your outdoor security camera(s) or using them as spy cameras is a solid option!
Leaving them in plain sight helps fend off people with malicious motives. What good does hiding a security camera do? Let’s answer that as we lead into some of the most creative ways of hiding an outdoor security camera.
Why Should I Hide Outdoor Security Cameras?
Placing your security camera outdoors does more than just fend off troublemakers. Even though it lets people know the property is secured, it’s not enough. Often, cameras are prone to blind spots.
SInce it’s on the outside, the troublemaker only needs time to identify those spots and you’re done for. This also makes it vulnerable to tampering or being broken down. Not to mention, there’s an increasing risk of it being vandalised out of fun and leaving you a hefty bill for camera replacements.
Now, imagine hiding it:
You’re at a much lesser risk of the camera being identified. If the recording is on motion-based modes and you weren’t expecting visitors, it’s time to alarm respective authorities.
A concealed outdoor security camera can also help monitor the in’s and out’s of your property. Is a hired service coming in at the right time? Are your employees timely? It’s easier to document such items using a hidden camera.
You can also understand someone’s true motives via a hidden camera. Since there’s no actual proof of supervision, people act in their truest intentions. Monitor actions outside your house to make sure you’re always at an edge.
7 Creative Ways to Hide Outdoor Security Cameras
Hiding an outdoor security camera isn’t as boring as picking one. If you’re up for a challenging do-it-yourself weekend project, it’s going to be super fun. To help some ideas flow through your mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways to hide outdoor cameras.
Here you go:
Doorbells are one of the most popular home security appliances. Not only are they easy to mount but the value from these simple devices is twofold.
First, they’re modern peepholes to help you view the outdoors without straining your eye.
Second, they have a much wider field of view and can cover the outside of your house in a much better way.
What’s best is that these devices cost much less than full-fledged CCTV camera systems. They’re even integrated with modern smartphones so you can check up on your home while traveling.
To add cherry on top, some doorbell cameras are also excellent at keeping an eye on your packages. Since most deliveries are left at the doorside and cheeky people can pick it up from your porch without you knowing. Say no more by adding a motion-based camera which instantly alerts you as someone approaches.
Artificial Foliage or Flowers
Artificial plants or flowers instantly add to the overall beauty of the home. Luckily, they’re great places to hide cameras as well. It’s items like these which are never suspected yet can help you as a homeowner stay calm, away from home.
To get started, get your artificial plant and place it in a pot. The more foliage and leafy the plant, the better. Since these are more sturdy than an actual plant, placing a camera on the trunk of the plant won’t be as noticeable.
Finally, place your plant outdoors such that the camera isn’t visible and has a good field of vision. To add a bit more zing to your deceptive piece of foliage, add this one to a dozen other pots.
You obviously want to mount your camera where it isn’t reachable, easily. A shorter field of view would only add flame to the fire as someone with a malicious intent can easily break it down. Taller mounts like walls, lamp posts, and others of the kind would be perfect.
Lamp posts are excellent mount points but might not fall under your property. Lighting fixtures on the outskirts of your house aren’t bad ideas either. Though if the light source directly faces the camera lens, it might impact your security footage.
All in all, you’d have to experiment with the video quality and power cables of the camera. Do the cables easily reach the mount point without causing a connection issue? Is there enough lighting to perfect the video frames or would it impact the footage?
Once thoroughly tested, this would be a good hiding spot for your outdoor security camera!
Continuing from our last section, trees are an excellent hiding point. Placing your security camera on a plant might be a tedious task at first. But you’ll reap the benefits of doing so – until there’s a maintenance issue with the camera.
A small pre-requisite of this way of hiding a camera might be the strategic placement of a tree. Does it cover the ins and outs of your house? If not, does it cover any key point such that placing a camera on top, might be a worthy discussion?
If you answer yes to any of these, get to work. Wired security cameras might need extra deception to hide the wires for the video and power. Run them along the trunk of the tree and along the edges of any walls around such that it’s safely plugged in.
The extra shade from the tree might also help avoid your lens from producing overly white pictures. Two in one – if you may!
Alright, if tall mounts or trees quickly give your camera away, it’s time to switch things up. Let’s focus our attention on something more deceiving – camouflage skins.
If you’re unsure what these are, have you ever seen pictures of a Marine corps officer wearing a patterned jacket? It’s made this way so that the subject is able to hide in plain sight. This is the exact same thing and we’re going to apply it to cameras.
Several manufacturers release casing to cover cameras and help hide with common mounts like trees or walls. If you don’t prefer ready-made casings from manufacturers, you can also order wraps online. Though they wouldn’t be the best fit, they’re the closest options to custom skins.
To get started, simply cover your security camera’s casing with your camouflage wrap. Make sure that it matches the color or pattern of the place where you’re going to mount your camera. Just remember, blending with the environment is key to making this work and successfully hiding your outdoor camera!
Though birdhouses are a bit uncommon, they’re still one of the best hideouts for your cameras.
If you have one or ever felt like decorating your garden, it’s time to put them to good use. Modern security cameras are quite small in size and would easily fit into a birdhouse. Make sure you pick a wireless camera so the wire doesn’t easily give away the camera’s location.
To make sure your camera records properly, you’d have to make sure the lens fits through the opening of the birdhouse. Secondly, the field of view and angle should be able to cover the area you’d like to have monitored properly.
Similar to a birdhouse would be an abandoned nest. Though people often do this for bird watching, if your camera has a wider field of view, it can also be used as a surveillance camera.
Glasses or Windows
If you mount a security camera outdoors, there’s always that risk that someone might disable the device. It’s why a windowsill might be one of the best options to monitor the outdoors with less risk of being disabled.
Though there’s a catch:
As safe as it sounds to use the security camera behind a glass, it might impact the camera’s performance.
This is especially true for cameras which rely on motion detection for recording. Passive Infrared, the technology behind motion detectors, generally operates at a much higher frequency than standard infrared waves. It won’t be able to pass through any glass – be it coated or standard.
The only workaround is to get a camera system without motion detection. These cameras typically record all the time and a continuous feed is being sent to the recorder. If your storage needs are met and you’re able to record without motion sensors, windowsills might be a good fit for you.
Tips to Buy an Ideal Outdoor Security Camera
Hiding a mini-camera won’t be as hard as hiding a full-fledged security camera. It’s why you should keep a few similar factors in mind to help during the buying process. Keep this checklist with you as you shop for the ideal outdoor security camera:
It’d be best if your camera has a small lens to hide in plain sight. The bigger the lens, the larger the casing would be, and it would be a tad bit harder to conceal the camera. So, when looking for camera options, prefer nest cams or smaller IP cameras which are flexible in terms of placement.
An ideal outdoor camera should only record based on motion-detection. This is great if you’ll be strategically placing your camera for monitoring and can catch an unwanted visitor in an otherwise unvisited region of the house. If it does, you can instantly call the respective authorities.
Though motion detection in security cameras might not work if you’re using it behind glass windows, it can be bypassed by using external lighting or illuminators – but will still produce a low-quality image.
Wired connections have two mandatory cables which have to run out of the camera. This makes it harder to conceal the wiring and can easily give an outdoor camera away. Shift your attention to buying a truly wireless camera set which records on batteries and has zero wires!
Security cameras allow recording via a DVR/NVR, local storage via memory cards, or cloud storage. Since the camera is to be placed outdoors, there’s always a high risk that your camera might be disabled, tampered with, or broken entirely.
To avoid your footage being meddled with, it’s simple to just purchase cloud storage. Wireless cameras transmit your data to cloud storage solutions (maybe from your camera’s manufacturer). This way, there’s no risk of footage being deleted from the memory card and you’re always able to view footage on the go.
Is It Lawful to Hide Security Cameras and Record?
It is, generally speaking, legal to hide a security camera for surveillance purposes. Surveillance cameras, however, should not be used in violation of someone’s privacy or record private regions of a property. Failing to abide by the law can bring you in hot waters.
A better approach to check lawfulness of surveillance is to check your state’s views on the matter. Most states in the United States allow public surveillance via cameras. A good reason for this is that often these cameras can help solve questions in criminal cases.
Frequently Asked Questions on Hiding Outdoor Security Cameras
Still have queries on how to hide an outdoor security camera? We’ve gathered up a few questions from the community which we’ll be answering next.
Let’s get to it:
How can I hide my outdoor security cameras?
You can hide your outdoor security camera by placing it on a taller mount or camouflaging it with the background. If it is a wired camera, make sure you hide the wires of the camera to avoid suspicion. Lastly, disable any red lights it might have.
Picking a smaller outdoor security camera is a wise option. Though there’s a compromise on footage quality, it’s much easier to conceal them. Secondly, pick a wireless variant with rechargeable batteries so the wires aren’t a problem when hiding your camera.
Should you hide security cameras?
Hiding a security camera is a good option if you want to keep an eye out for unknown threats without causing damage to the camera. Though, it should be noted that a hidden camera is only effective for monitoring and recording information. Hidden cameras won’t help prevent a crime by warning troublemakers.
If you aren’t in favor of hiding a camera, you can also place it outside your porch or the front door. Visible cameras aren’t going to keep burglars off your property anyways. They might help prevent a few crimes though, as the cameras clearly suggest that the property is actively monitored and protected
Can the neighbor’s security camera overlook my property?
Your neighbor’s security camera can overlook your property if lawfully used. It shouldn’t be violating your expectation of privacy at your property. The usage is indeed legal, and it might also help secure your outdoors from conniving thieves or unwanted troublemakers.
In conclusion, it depends on the camera’s field of view and usage. Cameras recording larger angles generally don’t have an option but to record regions beyond the owner’s property. The recorded video, however, should only be used for surveillance and security.
Regardless of video surveillance, audio surveillance, however, is not legal without your consent.
How do you hide a camera in plain sight?
You can hide a camera in plain sight by camouflaging or disguising it with home decor items. These include plants, foliage, small enclosures like boxes or alarms, clocks, or other fixtures.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to hide security cameras in plain sight, here’s a more extensive list:
1. Light fixtures
3. Dual-purpose devices like chargers
4. Switch plates
5. Plush toys
7. Cabinet handles
8. Hollowed books
9. Curtain rods
Give these a try. If these items don’t have a hole in them already, you’d have to carve one out. Make sure your camera and its wirings (if any) are able to fit through the item you chose without dropping outside. Otherwise, it’d be a dead giveaway of a hidden camera.
Will a security camera work through a window?
Generally, security cameras with motion detection don’t work through glass windows. Infrared (IR) radiations, which are used to record in low-light environments, aren’t able to pass through glasses. That’s why only cameras without motion detection can work behind window sills.
Since IR radiations can’t pass through windows, one common workaround is to use an external IR illuminator. It can be pointed outside the window; where the camera would operate normally. If an illuminator isn’t available, turn off the IR lights and provide traditional lighting to your camera to help it operate in the dark.
Hiding an outdoor security camera becomes instantly easier if you’ve purchased the right camera. If you’re yet to make a purchase, make sure to keep the checklist with you as you shop for a surveillance system.
After that, it’s all about the time and effort you give into hiding your camera. If you love to tinker with electronics, make it a DIY project for yourself. We hope our guide to hiding an outdoor security camera helped you achieve your goal!