Photographing in Small / Confined Spaces

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: March 29, 2019

Category: Kit

Having lots of space when taking portraits isn’t always the case, especially for me when photographing Veterans for my current World War 2 / 1940s Project.

However as British Explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes famously said … “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” so it can be said in Photography … “There’s no such thing as small space, only inappropriate kit”. Of course I’m being a little bit flippant but you get what I’m saying right?

Below you can see the space and set up I had whilst presenting for Westcott on their booth at the recent Photography Show at the NEC, Birmingham; certainly tight especially with visitors walking by…

The Photography Show 2019

Photographing my friend Philip Nørgaard who kindly was volunteered 🙂

As for the kit I was using, this is pretty much my On Location kit when taking portraits of the Veterans:

The Photography Show 2019

I had an email earlier this week from a person saying they were surprised I used a Westcott Large Octa when saying I want to keep my kit to a minimum and for it to have the smallest footprint possible due to photographing in houses. Basically I use it for 2 reasons:

  1. It’s large enough (48″) that I get enough light coverage on the subject having it close in. (Further back would give more coverage but make the light harder)
  2. The softbox isn’t overly deep so once on the light stand means my working area is kept relatively narrow; you can see this in the picture below when I photographed World War 2 Veteran / Glider Pilot Regiment, Laurie Weeden in the galley of his kitchen:

Glyn Dewis Westcott

So when it comes to photographing in confined / small spaces, as the Marines say, … Improvise, Adapt and Overcome


You may also like…


  1. Mark Coons

    I occasionally have to shoot in small spaces and I rarely take my X-Drop (which I love). It’s footprint is just too large, I take a light stand with a smallish footprint (s Westcott I believe) and use a collapsible BG.

    When I shoot head shots in a gym or auditorium I often use the X-Drop though. I carry both setups when I go to a place I’ve never shot before.

    Great post, Glyn

  2. Phillip

    Hi Glyn – After “sitting” for you on the westcott stand I know from first hand how little space you had. I am quite amazed to see the finished result – It felt like you where stepping on my toes when you where working. So after this I have bought the setup from Westcott. Happy to take in to my workflow.
    Cheers mate – and thanks for the input


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *