Property Photography – The Dining Room
Photographing the Dining Area – Some houses or properties won’t have a specific or separate dining room as such. They may have a section of a larger lounge or sitting area designated for eating. None-the-less, it is still important to get this feature of the house photographed.
The most obvious thing and centre of attention here is going to be the dining table, and there are basically two ways to show it off;
- Lay the table as though it was ready for a dinner party and waiting for the guests and food to arrive. Place glasses, cutlery and crockery at each place setting and some mats in the middle with a bowl or dish on. Include the condiments such as salt and pepper and maybe a jug of water. If the owners have a set of silver, ask if you can “carefully” borrow it for this shot.
(A bottle of chilling wine in a silver bucket or a vase of flowers can look good too, but not too big so that the guests can’t see each other!)
- Clear the table completely, have a nice lace mat in the centre with a big bouquet of flowers or bowl of fruit on it. If you opt for this, keep it simple, especially if the table is made of nice, polished wood.
Whichever you decide, it is important to have the chairs immaculate when photographing the dining area. They should all be slightly away from the table and as symmetrical as you can get them.
Even though the table is the centre-piece, you still want the best background available. Walk around the table whilst looking at the background and stop when it “looks right”. Hopefully you will have a large piece of furniture with items in or on it, or a picturesque window leading to the beautiful views, garden or patio/terrace.
If it is a suitable day, open the windows and allow the natural light to flood in and again, be careful for reflections if you are using the studio lights.
You can try playing with the lights here, especially if you have a table full of reflective materials. I have added a shot that we took during a “mock up” dinner party to illustrate the lighting.
To get the lighting nice and evenly spread when photographing the dining area, I put each studio light (complete with luminescent brolly), as far to the left and right of the camera as they would go. One would light the guests on the right side of the table, and the other light would do the same with the guests on the left. It worked quite well in this shot and is worth trying with your own set up.
You could also try extending the support stands as high as they will go and bouncing light off the ceiling or directly down onto the table. Either way should diffuse the light more and create less shadows and reflections.