Nate Sheets Photographs the First Certified Passive Home in Missouri

Nate Sheets Photographs the First Certified Passive Home in Missouri

On this episode of Project of the Week, we’re back with POTW pro Nate Sheets and his gorgeous work. Today Nate will be taking us on a visual tour of the first certified passive house in Missouri, and giving us some insight along the way!

Nate shares how he got linked up with his client for the shoot. He says “Hoke Ley and I have worked together on a few projects. They are an architecture firm based in Lawrence, KS which is about 45 minutes outside of Kansas City. I reached out to them a couple of years ago to see if they would meet with me and talk about documenting their work. It went well and now they commission me for their projects!”

He continues, “Beacon Hill is a special project to me because it presented many quiet but dramatic moments to me. The design of this home really connected with me and the way I like to photograph homes. It’s obvious that I favor one-point perspectives but this project allowed me to grab lots of depth and interest in those compositions, especially shooting tight to the screen wall.

The homeowner volunteered to be in the photos which was a highlight of the day. They were so patient and willing to work with me to get the exact frame I was looking for. It was also rewarding to see how excited they were about how the photos were coming together. Hoke Ley did a wonderful job on this project and I was super stoked to be the one to shoot it. This home is the first certified passive home in Missouri which was neat to learn about.”

I asked Nate what stood out in his mind about the shoot day. He explained, “Beacon Hill is a really neat neighborhood next to downtown that has been going through some revitalization. With that said, we had to deal with construction next door and the homes are pretty close to each other. So I decided to zoom in and get a more editorial feel for the early morning shot to avoid some of that construction.”

He goes on, “One of the shots was the stairs and upstairs hallway. I didn’t know how this one was going to turn out when I was shooting but my assistant, Jc had a wonderful idea to add a second person up top as I was shooting one going down. Adding the second person really made this image shine and showcased scale and motion. That was my fortuitous moment of the day, that cracked a bit of a smile because it came together so nicely.”

I told Nate that I loved his use of figures and how he incorporated the family into the home without it feeling too forced or distracting. I asked him to tell me a bit about how he incorporates people into his images and how little/much direction he gives when making these sorts of photos.

He said “I wanted to incorporate people throughout the set in a natural way that didn’t take away from focusing on the design. My goal was to have a full set of photos that have emotion, curiosity, and appreciation of the design. I didn’t have to give much direction to how they were sitting or standing. I would set up my compositions and find the spots I felt needed people, then steer them in the general direction. They happened to fall in the right place pretty easily so I just started taking pictures to make sure I captured the right moment.”

He continues “For the dusk shot I called them on speaker phone and directed them from outside so I could see where they were landing in the frame. They were incredibly easy to work with and made the shoot that much more fun!”

A massive thank you to Nate for sharing another beautiful project with us!

As always, you can view Nate’s work at and on Instagram @natesheetsphoto!

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

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