March 28th, 2016
Wanda in Virginia recently asked:
I have a question and was wondering how other photographers handle this. It just seems that the best position for photographing most exteriors is higher than my tripod will reach but not high enough for a drone. How do other photographers handle this. I have thought about bringing a different camera that is rigged to a higher pole type tripod and even considered using a platform and a ladder. Any suggestions?
Yes, Wanda is definitely on to something. There are two basic reasons:
- The siting of some homes is such that it is impossible to get a reasonably good front exterior shot standing on the ground. Routinely there will be homes in hilly neighborhoods where the bottom of the front door will be 10 to 20 feet above the street level.
- Even if the home you are shooting is sited on a flat lot where the bottom of the front door is at street level, a front shot 10 to 20 feet higher looks way better than one standing at street level.
A height of 10′ to 20′ will nicely cover 99% of the shots you’ll need to take. Nowadays there are a lot of good alternatives for getting your camera 10′ to 20′ above the ground:
- Carry a fold-up ladder. That’s my fold up ladder above in the bed of my Toyota pickup. These fold up ladders will fit in any trunk and get you up to 10′ to 12′. I also have a pole too but rarely use it because I like to use my 5DMKII with a 24-70 for front shots. Here is another PFRE readers solution for a ladder setup.
- Use a painters pole (this is my solution). It’s very easy to put a point an shoot camera on a painters pole. Here is a PFRE readers solution.
- PolePixie is a very popular solution.
- The WonderPole is also a popular solution.
- The Polester solution.
- Giant tripods are a very popular solution. It’s easier and safer to put your full size DSLR on one of these.
- A big mast is an alternative, but there are a very few situations that require this kind of height.
- Of course, there are balloons and kites and UAVs that will do this too but for just simple front exterior shots they are a lot of bother when you can get good results with a ladder or pole.
What do you use? Take the poll below so everyone can see what’s most popular. I’m a bit surprised that about 13% of readers think they “don’t need no stinking elevated shots”. Yes you do! You can’t make great front exterior shots if you are always standing at the street level.