Three Shooting Techniques to Maximize Space in a Small Room

Not every opportunity to shoot lends itself to a large room or massive studio. In some scenarios, you may find yourself in a small room; this is where you have to get creative to maximize the space and create your shots. 

If you find yourself shooting in a small space, perhaps an extra room in your house or your home studio, a hotel, or even an AirBnB rental, you may not have the flexibility of a lot of space to move around. Sometimes, the room appears larger in the photos; you don't always have the ability to tour your shooting location beforehand, and you have to continue on with the shoot. In this video, boudoir photographer Michael Sasser shares three techniques he uses when shooting in small spaces. While the focus of his shoot is around boudoir, this doesn't mean that it is limited to only that genre of photography. These techniques can be applied to a lifestyle shoot or any type of portrait session in a cramped area. 

If you want to get straight to it, here are the three techniques Sasser shares in this video:

  • Shoot at different heights.
  • Add depth to the space by shooting through/around something.
  • Shoot details.

Watch the video on how each of these techniques is implemented to fully understand how these could benefit you in your next shoot within a small room. What are some other tips or techniques you have when shooting in a confined area? Leave your answers in the comments below!

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Ray Hardy's picture

click bait.

Just me's picture

Soft Porn click bait.

Irene Rudnyk's picture

what are you 5?

Michael Sasser's picture

Irene, You're my hero!

Ivan Lantsov's picture

not bad enuv to soft porn

Indy Thomas's picture

Step one.
Make sure your subject is a pretty woman with few to no clothes on and you will forget how small the room is.

Step two
Prepare to die if your spouse finds out.

Michael Comeau's picture


Alex Yakimov's picture

Useful tips. Pleasing examples of working compositions. Good pick, Alex. Michael is fun to listen.

Alex Ventura's picture

I enjoy Michael's videos, thanks.

David Love's picture

Maybe just do one post that says check out Youtube for hundreds of photography videos and not throw every mediocre video here to replace an article. We get it, this guy likes to take pics of cute girls in his house, shoots at insane settings because he doesn't want to use lighting and then edits the hell out of them to make them usable. He then records videos preaching as if he discovered natural light while showing half naked women as the carrot. It's a lot harder to use strobes to look like natural light than shooting half in the dark and then dodge or lift the shadows all the way up in every picture. I would rather read how people use lighting than how people have to edit to save the image for meh.

This image is garbage. 1.4 out of focus in bad lighting but buy his presets to save it. If he's that successful he can afford a strobe or reflector. Can't be much more expensive than spending money on big window hotel rooms just to take pics in the dark.

Irene Rudnyk's picture

these images are not edited "to hell...."
To be honest i would do a lot more editing here, some skin retouch, dodge and burn, maybe some liquify on the hair. All he did is boosted contrast, added muted colors in the shadows and highlights. You can tell its just a simple preset.
Looks good thou, fits his style and natural light makes it look sensual and soft.
Yeah, it's out of focus, but i think it was the intent, it's focused on her chest and arm and since her face is not as visible, it works!

Your images on the other hand are edited A LOT! and that's fine too, because it's obviously what you are going for, very cartoony, composite style. it's not my thing at all, but i would never shit on your work just because it's not my preference
Learn how how to give critique that is not based solely on your own taste.
Your comment bring nothing to the table, except for negativity... puts you in a really bad light.

David Love's picture

No no, the only thing in bad light is his images. I don't throw up youtube videos trying to sell courses or presets, so expect judgement for that. My images are EDITED A LOT all around the model or cosplayer but hardly anything is ever done to the model or to fix a badly lit image. I just create the look I want using lights, not looking for windows and the same poses for every body that walks in the door. (which you're stuck with when you have to depend on one light source.

But funny with the "focusing on the arm" comment as if she's a hand model.

Eric Kai's picture

Glad im not alone with the same idea. and i completely don't get the point of using 1/1000 of a sec - She's barely moving and his camera could easily nail 800-1600 iso, so he could probably use smaller aperture for sake of crispiness instead of darkish muddy blurriness. On the other hand dark images often more moody and pleasant to an eye, so probably makes a bit of sense, but still cant' justify using 1/1000 sec - id better Fstopped the lens.

Nico Gees's picture

Well, I think he´s using fixed settings in cam. Minimum shutter speed, maximum iso, so he can concentrate on the aperture what mostly defines the images he took. So the cam decides and therefore you get combinations we´re wondering about a little.

JJ Casas's picture

I don’t understand the criticism (dare I say jealousy) here. He is using light—natural light. Some people are strobe users (I’m one of them) while others prefer natural light. (Why recreate natural light with strobes when natural light is already there?)

Re: the use of editing in post, I mean who doesn’t? Lol People would be lying if they shot raw images and delivered raw images to a client without editing.

Lastly, why would you be in trouble from your spouse? If you communicate clearly what, how and more importantly why you’re shooting boudoir as a professional, there should be no issue. If you’re keeping this kind of photography away from your spouse then definitely there’s issue. It takes a level of professionalism to establish rapport with clients to be able to bare their skin in front of a camera when as when they’re at their most vulnerable.

@Dave Love, not every shot has to be in the perfect lighting or even in focus. Gonna revert to history as an example of great images that aren’t always in the best lighting or in focus lol

Jim Bolen's picture

Good point. If I ever have a shoot with a young woman, I always have a friend/family member with her, and my wife knows. Plus, that friend can help with the reflector!

David Love's picture

I think a client might care if they pay the suave boudoir master fees and most of the pics are blurry because the photographer insisted on shooting 1.4 because they didn't have lighting. What's even crazier is the NFL shutter speed used to keep the shots dark enough to shoot at 1.4 rather than buying an ND filter. You want to do it old style, pick up a paint brush. And jealousy? Try modelmayhem for thousands of women that want pics like this. And apparently all you need is a camera and a window and to buy his presets and done!

Shoot however you want but on a photography site for lessons and tips, maybe raise the bar from grabbing every youtube video that offers tips to sell presets.

JJ Casas's picture

I haven’t shot an NFL game so I’m gonna leave it to the professional photographers there to keep doing what they’re doing.

As to what a client pays for, that’s his or her decision to do so I’m not understanding your point here.

When you get to carve a niche because of your talent and/or influence, you are a premium product that you can sell to clients (this includes LUTs, presets as others essentially want to emulate). Whether it’s all shot at 1.4 or “if most of the pics are blurry because they didn’t have lighting” is the photographer’s freedom to do so but more so what the client wants.

Irene Rudnyk's picture

hey David, how about you make your own videos instead of complaining about them.... geez

David Love's picture

I'm not interested in selling courses or presets. It's more a frustration with this site for throwing up the same youtubers every week when there are tons of others that people could benefit from. But then again they don't have half nude women to use for click bait so probably won't work here.

Irene Rudnyk's picture

nahh, it's just you! there are more articles on fstoppers that do not feature Youtubers, maybe focus on those instead.

Michael Sasser's picture

Hey David! I just saw my video was posted here so I thought I would come say hello since you're the one who has been most consistently posting about it. it's nice to meet you! I'm surprised to see someone so passionate about someone else's work, it also sounds like you don't really understand boudoir as a genre. I recommend you go watch this other youtube video that I made talking about the difference between glamour and boudoir. Also, I'm sure there are many people who would be grateful for you to contribute to the photography community by sharing some of the knowledge you have. Talk soon!

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You're too polite. :) Probably not such a bad trait if you want to run a successful business.

David Love's picture

I think I got the idea. But from the numerous videos this site has posted of yours, it comes down to:
find a window, find a bed, shoot at 1.4 but skip the ND filter and just crank up the shutter, don't worry about ISO because if they buy your presets it will lift the shadows and blacks, convert to black and white, boost contrast while hopefully hiding the noise in the pic and done. The rest is posing the clients in the step by step posing guide you provide for a fee and saying things to get them to pose in a flattering way for their body type and building their confidence, which every photographer working with people should work on.

Not a huge learning curve there and the first time I tried window light years ago, I thought "Why would I count on the sun outside the window when I can create it using lights? Or maybe add a hair light or accent light in the back of the room?" Why be stuck with 1.4 unless you're trying to hide a bad location? Most people wanting to see these kind of pics want to see details in the image. But beyond matters of preference, I blame it more on the people posting content here for lazily throwing up the same people or subject matter each week instead of branching out.

But to answer you're last "if you're such a critic, why don't you post something" comment. I have plenty of videos on youtube I just don't try and convince people they need my products to accomplish their goals.

vik .'s picture

Best article from a long time. Keep posting :)

Irene Rudnyk's picture

The only reason I go to Fstoppers nowadays is to read toxic comments and it's never disappointing (Petapixel is even worse) I wonder why are people so close minded and what makes them spew out such nonsense....
It's good entertainment thou

Alex Yakimov's picture

Toxic entertainment then?

Steve Beaudin's picture

I'm really new to photography and as I can see, it seem's like there's a lot of elitism between photographers......that's a side of some photographers I don't like.

Btw Irene, I really like you're style :)

Alex Ventura's picture

It really is sad, I tend to avoid the comments myself but every once in a while I take a look.