There are a few people that call me asking "Where should I place my cameras?" The best answer I can normally give them is that it really depends on the design of their houses, but today I'll try to give a few key points as far as recommendations go.
Installing a new security camera system can be a bit daunting. Why? It requires a good deal of work that is somewhat difficult to go back on if you're unhappy with the setup. Most of today's camera systems are wired although there is a great interest in the network-based camera systems.
I, personally, prefer a wired system only because of the reliability issue. My main worry as far as network-based DVR systems goes is that one hit to your network could mean disaster for your security system. The one downside of a wired system is the fact that you have to run wiring through your house in order to connect your cameras. Done right, you'll never notice a single wire, but the work is definitely not a mere 30 minute job.
Now, the position of the cameras. You'll have to take into account the wiring as well at this point. You need to ask yourself "Can I efficiently get my wires out to this spot?" You will also have to take into account which areas you feel you need the most surveillance. For some it may be inside the house and for others, it may be outside. One of my most frequently asked questions is "What do you need to see?" You may need to monitor your driveway since you've seen recent acts of vandalism or you may need to monitor a certain room that seems to attract thieves for one reason or another. After you've decided on where you need surveillance, the job is about a third done.
You may be asking what the other two-thirds of the job is. It's quite simple actually: Location, Wiring, and more location.
Most people, along with myself, will recommend that you install your cameras somewhere along a corner, especially if you plan on having more than one camera in that designated area. This allows you to utilize your camera's angular field of view to its maximum capacity while having another camera picking up the blind spots. If you're placing your camera by your driveway, it may be a better idea to shoot it straight down so that you are you have a long view rather a short angled view.
**Very important!** Make sure your camera isn't placed right next to your floodlights if you're placing it by your garage! Granted the cameras do adjust to lighting, it may affect the image quality when you have bright lights right next to the lens itself.
Now the camera placement normally is placed at noticeable corners because of the before mentioned angular field of view. Some people have installed their cameras to point and stick out of the side walls as well but it is usually at a corner facing the greatest amount of coverage. Camera placement in corners also has its benefits because it usually has the most coverage and protection from environmental effects such as dust, leaves, rain, and etc.
Wiring is a bit tricky. Wiring is normally done through the ceiling or roof of the buildings. Doing so allows you to cover all of your house without having to have wires running through your rooms and creating a mess. You also have to realize that cameras you want to place outside will require you to possibly run wires through a wall in order to allow access to the outdoors. As a result, It is easiest to have the wires run through your attic or ceiling. Running cameras along corners also allows for the best way of hiding wires so that unless something takes a heavy bat or metal rod to your cameras, they don't have access to cutting the wires.
So here's a run through of everything I've stated so far.
1. Pick out where you need the most surveillance.
2. Consider the option of having to run wires through attics or ceilings.
3. Consider your placement of your camera while taking into consideration environmental obstructions such as dust and rain.
4. Make good use of your corners as they allow greatest optimization of the camera's angular field of view.
5. Utilize more than one camera in a designated area if you feel the need to cover certain blind spots.
6. Avoid placing cameras next to bright sources of light.
If you take these things into consideration, setting up your security camera system may become a bit more efficient. Notice that I didn't say it gets easier only because it is still a bit of work, but having worked out the kinks here and there allows you to work through the process in a more efficient manner.