The U.S. Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD) has issued a guide for taking two-dimensional images for documentation, requests for proposals and requests for qualifications.

“A goal I’ve had is to have images from construction quickly and easily accessible for repair or renovation,” says John Russo, president of Architectural Resource Consultants and of USIBD. “To do that, you have to know what kind of pictures are useful and what it takes to get them.”

Available for free at, the guide articulates the coverage needed to meet documentation goals. It doesn’t prescribe cameras, but it identifies image requirements, says Russo.

For example, the guide shows the furthest distance a DSLR camera can be from a target to capture 3⁄8-in. level of detail. It has a similar guide for lower-resolution 360º cameras. “Two images in the guide make the point,” says Ken VanBree, owner  of Ebuilts and the USIBD’s 2D-imagery committee chair. “On the up-close, you can see the rebar tie. On the wider shot, you can see all the rebar but not the ties.” Without guidance, a photographer may fail to capture the needed detail.

“A lot of the challenge with photos is that you don’t have context, but when you create a standard it really helps,” says Josh DeStefano, CM-BIM, at DPR Construction. “We’ve recognized the need for that with BIM, now we’re getting there with 2D imagery. I think it’s great.”