A simple but useful use of a Wi-Fi camera is to mount it in front of a window to keep an eye on the outside of your home, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

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Ideally, you’d like to have a security camera installed somewhere outside your home, but unless you have the know-how (or money to pay a professional), you can usually get by by simply placing the camera in a window and pointing it outside.

This works pretty well most of the time, and honestly it’s the best way to go if you’re looking for a really quick and dirty method, but you’ll have to put up with some inconsistencies and downsides.

Night vision won’t work very well

Placing a night vision camera near a window will cause infrared light to reflect off the glass.

Night vision on most security cameras works by emitting infrared light into the field of view — like a spotlight, but invisible to our eyes. Pointing the camera out of a window can create night vision problems.

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The glass on the window reflects this infrared light directly into the camera. This is very similar to when you shine a flashlight into a mirror; the light reflects and blinds you, preventing you from seeing anything but bright light.

You can turn off night vision on most Wi-Fi cameras, but just be aware that you won’t get clear shots at night unless the outside of your house is well lit. Even then, the camera may be too dim to recognize anything.

Window screens can interfere with face recognition (and just be annoying)

Screens are great for preventing errors when you leave your windows open, but they make the Wi-Fi camera look grainy and degrade the quality of the camera’s face recognition.

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For some, this may not be such a big deal, but window screens tend to be the enemy of cameras. At some point, you’ve probably tried to take a picture through a windowed screen to confuse your camera’s autofocus.

If you can, try placing the Wi-Fi camera in a window that either doesn’t have a screen or only has a screen at the bottom of the window, that way you can put the camera on the middle ledge and bypass the screen.

Windows can make sun glare and lens flare

Sun flare can affect any camera, but when you place an extra layer of glass in front of that camera (especially if it’s an inch or two away from the lens), sun flare can be much worse.

This is especially annoying if your Wi-Fi camera is pointed at the rising or setting sun. But even if you can avoid it, there are plenty of angles where the sun can hit the window pane and create a nice little glare for your Wi-Fi camera recording.

There really is no way to avoid this other than experiment by adjusting the angle of your Wi-Fi camera to avoid most of the glare. Depending on where the sun is, there may be certain times of the day when you get glare and you can’t do anything about it.

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