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Tips for Shooting in Tight Spaces

Over the past few years we’ve shot from skyscrapers, underwater, studios, mansions, helicopters, and everything above, below, and between. One of the most common questions we get is how to make real estate photography look good in tight spaces. This article, “Tips for Shooting in Tight Spaces” will go over three common tips to remember for the times when elbow room is limited, but the shoot is needed. Tiny homes are all the rage these days, right!Tips for Shooting in Tight Spaces

Light Tips: Shooting in Tight Spaces

One of the biggest issues we see with shooting in tight spaces is lighting. This can really be said for any environment or location, however, tight spaces REALLY need help from good lighting. If not, your shot could look like a dungeon rather than the ideal, comfortable, homey place that you have.

List of Tight Space Lighting Tips

  1. Open up the windows
  2. Shoot on a sunny day
  3. Turn on all the lights
  4. Open up your aperture
  5. Slow down your shutter

These are very basic. However, we know and have seen others struggle so much with the basics of lighting a tight space, that we have this as number one on our list.

High Corner Angle Shots

This is a little trickier, but definitely something to remember. Shoot from the longest corner in the room. If you are in an 8′ x 12′ room, pick the corner that shows the expanse of the room. Shoot from high up in the corner and get the length of the room. Although no one will ever be in that corner, this technique still allows for showing the size and scale of the room. There is always a temptation to use a fish eye lens. However, we avoid them, as the distortion from a wide lens breaks the honesty barrier.

Honesty Barrier

This is simply the line you have to draw as a photographer when shooting to make something look authentic and true. Some lenses can do an incredible job on making a 10′ x 8′ room look like it is a cavernous auditorium. Is that fair? Be honest and representative of the tight space you are shooting.

List of High Corner Angle Shots

  1. Shoot the length of the room
  2. Either use a tripod or a trigger release to capture the best shot
  3. If you have a fisheye use it, but use it sparingly

Shooting in Tight Spaces Requires Attention to Detail

Lastly, pay attention to what you are shooting. It’s embarrassing that we even have to write that… but in this world of instant everything… take a breath. Look at what you are going to shoot first. How can you best tell the story to someone who isn’t there? Shooting with a 256GB card and the best lenses do nothing for those who view a poorly thought shot. Take your time. This will save you time.

Top Attention to Detail Tips for Shooting in Tight Spaces

  1. How will this crop? Ask this question to yourself! It’s better to shoot wider than too tight. Cropping is good for the soul.
  2. Make the bed! This goes for staging across the board, but cleaning up things before you shoot is much easier than going wild in photoshop.
  3. Does this room look better vertical or horizontal? This is where shooting both is fine.

Final thoughts on Shooting in Tight Spaces

Digital has spoiled us. Remember, just because you have unlimited memory cards you still have to practice the principles of design to save yourself time. Take the extra 10 minutes to walk the location (or even better PRE-SCOUT!), stage the shot, and check the lighting. This can save you potentially hours in post. Be efficient with your time and feel free to chime with more tips. We could come up with hundreds, but these seem to be the most egregious mistakes we see.

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