Photographing the Kitchen

The Kitchen is the Hub of Many a House, Shoot it Well

Photographing the Kitchen - The kitchen is actually one of my favourite rooms to photograph, I have rarely seen two kitchens the same. People spend good money on nice kitchens and if you are lucky, you may come across some corkers.

Walk into the kitchen and have a good look around;

  • How big is it? Would a stitched image do it more justice? Look for the best angle to once again incorporate most if not all of its special attributes.
Photographing the Kitchen

Photographing the Kitchen Fig.1

  • Will it accommodate the studio lights? Do you need them? Once you have found the best angle, decide as to whether you need additional lights or not. Turn on all of the kitchen lights, including oven extractor fan light, work surface lights, ceiling lights etc.
  • Can you make the most of the natural light assuming you are shooting in the daytime? It doesn't matter too much if you blow out the highlights from the kitchen windows, people do not generally hang about in kitchens for the view. However, should you come across one with patios doors leading to the garden, make sure you get this in the shot. Remember, the images that you are taking are meant to, in most instances, either entice people to a viewing or give the owner something to remember his house by.
Photographing the Kitchen

Photographing the Kitchen Fig. 2


  • As in the bathroom, you are likely to have a few reflective surfaces in the kitchen too, so be aware of what the lights are doing should you use them.
  • Would the windows or patios look better open or closed? Make the place look clean, fresh and airy. A dark, stuffy and dark kitchen does not bode well.
  • Is the kitchen very small? If so, concentrate on one of its endearing features like an old "range" oven or American style fridge and close in on it. Fill the frame with whatever makes the kitchen appeal rather than its size.
  • Clear any clutter away such as "fairy liquid" or cloths and scrubbers. Does the washing machine have clothes in it? Take them out. Washing up in the sink? Hide it. Are the chairs neatly placed around the table?

The spice of life...variety

One important lesson that I learned early on was to take a variety of shots, in particular one portrait and one landscape. This is particularly so in the kitchen as some can be quite narrow and would much better suit a portrait (upright) angle.

Note: Whenever you use the natural light and house lights in a property, you are more than likely to end up with a red or yellow colour cast. This is more so if shooting JPEGS. You will notice that your images appear "washed out" with too much yellow or red in them.

This is fairly easy to overcome in post-processing as we will discuss in the Photoshop chapter. However, whilst you are taking the image, try different white balance settings and experiment a bit. Best of all, shoot RAW. You will find it a lot easier to adjust in post-processing and you are less likely to blow out any highlights in doing so.

Props for photographing the kitchen

The kitchen is a great place for props, everyone loves food! Have a look around for any dairy produce, fresh fruit or bread and improvise a bit. Ask the owner for permission first as handling the food can be a bit unhygienic.

As one of your own props, you could buy a loaf of uncut, rustic bread and take 2 or 3 slices off. You can let the bread go stale and solid as long as it doesn't go moldy, and you will always have a loaf handy for your shots. Lay the bread on the center of the table, with some jam, plates and cutlery. Make it look inviting without getting "messy". Maybe place a bowl of fruit or some flowers on the table or work surface.

Do the owners have a nice coffee "plunger" (cafetiere) or any other props that would be suitable?

Try and remember which props you used where and don’t overdo it. The last thing you want is for the same props to be in all the photos. Lastly, always look at the rooms from all angles and viewpoints. The three images below show the same kitchen from 4 very different perspectives!

Photographing the Kitchen
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