November 16th, 2014
Richard Asked the following questions:
Question 1: I’m upgrading my tripod and am looking at the popular brand legs (Dolica, slik, Manfrotto) that will allow me to mount the camera up to at least 72″. It seems ball heads are popular, and levels are a must. What kind of head do you recommend for RE work, ball head or a pan and tilt head like the Manfrotto Pro 3 models?
Question 2: While I’m here with you, have you ever run a column on how to best shoot a small 1/2 bath? Camera inside shot via remote or lean in just enough to avoid reflections (my usual way to do it)? High vs eye vs low-angle? Best way to light?
To question 1: Tripod heads – Pan and tilt heads are better for video than still shooting. I used a ball head on my tripod for many years until I met Scott Hargis and saw the Manfrotto 405 Pro Geared Head that Scott uses. I started using the 405 Pro head for real estate and I love how it can quickly be adjusted accurately in all three dimensions with a bubble level in each dimension. Yea, I know, it’s pricey, but the Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head is very similar but less expensive than the 405. What heads do others recommend?
To question 2: Shooting a small 1/2 baths – Yes, I know what you mean, with these little bathrooms you and your camera always end up in the mirror! Here’s how I do it:
- Stand in the doorway… for these little bathrooms there is usually no other choice.
- Use a small flash on top of the door pointing back at the wall/ceiling joint or corner of the room set on 1/16 to 1/3 power depending on the room. Or shoot a few brackets if you are using Enfuse. In my example above my flash is a little hot (upper right corner of the mirror). I should have noticed this and backed off on the power.
- Height of the camera should be the standard 36″ to 48″ (slightly above the counter). This means your camera will be in the mirror. Don’t try to get out of the mirror by dropping down low! This looks really wacky. It isn’t that hard to just remove yourself and/or camera from the photo.
- While doing post processing, remove yourself and or your camera from the photo with Photoshop. Note, if you plan ahead when shooting you can make sure there’s a clean background so Photoshop removal will be easy. If you’ve planned ahead content aware fill works nicely for this.
- This same technique works if the bath has a tub and or shower… sometimes this style benefits from another flash the tub/shower area.
Anyone have more advice for Richard?