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I’ve lived in a small apartment for the past five years. My first apartment was really tiny (think 600 square feet) and had ugly carpet and only about 3 small windows with some window doors (but those doors didn’t let in a lot of light).
My apartment now is much bigger (around 970 square feet) and has more windows, but still not as much as my photographers heart desires. 😉 That being said, I have taken some of my favorite images in this apartment. And I can still use the light to get the images the way I want them.
So, I’m a firm believer you can make any space work for you. It might take practice and patience, but you will get the images you want with a little bit of creativity.
New to my blog? Check out my top 9 photography tips for moms.
use a wide angle lens
This is probably my number one, most important tip for this entire blog post. Having a wide angle lens (remember, the lower the number means the wider the angle, shoot for at least 35mm or wider) will help create an illusion of a bigger space.
Don’t believe me? Test it out. Take a shot of your small space with a 50mm or longer focal length, and then take a shot of your small space with a 35mm or wider focal length. Does it appear as though there is more space with the wider lens?
I use my Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART lens 97% of the time in my small apartment. I very rarely will pull out any other lens indoors.
By using a wide angle lens, I’m able to make my small apartment seem larger than it is. And I don’t have to back up a lot to get the shot that I want. I can get the shot very easily.
use windows to change your perspective
I can get so many different images with just one window. Even in my small apartment. The following photos were taken using the same window, I just changed my perspective of the scene. (Please note, these images were taken on different days at different time of the days).
I have a lot more examples from just this one window. By changing your perspective, you can get so many different images in just one small space. And the space above me is really small. On one side, there’s the refrigerator, and on the other side is our washer and dryer. It really is about the length of a toddler to lay there. But the light there is some of my favorite, so I photograph there often and try to mix up my perspective.
Moving furniture can leave you with some more open space. I don’t do this often, but if I’m ever really wanting a certain picture, I will move the furniture around to get it.
You could also take this a step further and even change the sheets on the bed for a different look. Changing the way the space looks could give you new motivation and inspiration to shoot.
focus on details
Instead of focusing on the big (little) picture of the apartment, focus on some details. Try macro, you can do macro ANYWHERE. It doesn’t have to be a big space at all! Try getting close to your subject to get rid of those distractions! The details of your everyday, of the place you are living right now might not seem important now, but they will when you leave! Get up close to your children, photograph their hair, eyes, little feet + hands. Endless possibilities when we focus on capturing the details. Even in a small space.
The above image was taken in my tiny kitchen. Since I focused on the details, though, you can’t tell where it was taken, or that it was a small space.
clean up before taking pictures
I feel like a repeating record here haha! But, seriously, I can’t stress enough how important it is to clean up before taking a picture. You images will look so much put together and will look more purposeful. Of course, there are a few times where you might want to keep the chaos of a mess, and in those cases, by all means, keep the mess. But, I find I like my images better when they are cleaned and tidy.
I literally don’t have a clean house everyday, so don’t feel like you have to keep the entire house clean in order to get good pictures. Noooooo, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying, if you take a picture and notice that the scene isn’t clean, then just tidy up that little section really quick before you snap more pictures. Be aware about what’s in your frame.
focus on the people
Focus on the people in the scene. Get close. Crop in. Whatever you have to do to make the subject obvious. I love focusing on the people and trying to make my scene as simple as possible. This helps my viewers know who the subject is and where their eyes should go. It helps get rid of any distractions, too!
The real story in photography usually comes from the people. I love to look at what my subject is doing and try to enhance the scene that way.
Alyssa (sometimes going by Aly) is a hobbyist photographer who loves to teach. Her love of photography started before she ever had any kids. Now a mom of two, she loves to photograph her kids, flowers, and landscape. She specializes in capturing her everyday life. She loves to teach fellow beginner photographers how to take control of their cameras and get the images they dream about getting.