It can be argued that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms or areas in a home. I certainly agree with this and when producing the normal work I do as part of a photo shoot for a real estate listing of a home, I budget to spend a bit of extra time on the kitchen to make sure all the features and details are properly displayed. Often a kitchen incorporates a kitchen island, which both makes creating a kitchen photo a bit more challenging, and in some regards a bit easier...
I'd like to walk through the process I used to create the final image of this kitchen, including the kitchen island, so that the following features are highlighted in the image:
- Stainless steel appliances
- Bright window with southern exposure
- Gorgeous kitchen cabinets
- Kitchen island
- Tiled floor
- Tiled kitchen back splash
- Ceiling pot-lights
The first step I follow when setting up for any image is to determine the composition I want to use that will result in highlighting all the features. Often this includes camera settings that take into account an exterior exposure through a window. When I was on-site for this photo shoot the day was bright and sunny and there was plenty of light coming through the window. After setting up the camera and dialing in the desired exposure settings for the outdoors, I ended up with this result:
Dark! This photograph isn't going to attract any interest in this home. But it does show the bright window and the kitchen island, step one complete.
Next step is to add some light so viewers can get an idea of what's going on in the image. The following image is lit with one light off to camera left.
Better! Now we see there is a kitchen here, and the chairs and island are reasonably illuminated. There is a bit of a sparkle coming into this photograph now, and I think for many photographers that this would be enough, however I think more can be done to really draw a viewer into this and to make them want to come view the rest of the home (it's a lovely one!).
Next step: more light!
For this image I placed another light off to camera right in the kitchen so it would fill in some of the darker areas. You may notice that the stove and microwave are a bit brighter and also that the corner furthest from the camera has been brightened up as well, adding a bit more punch to the tiled back splash. I feel like there is still something missing... the cabinets inside the kitchen are a bit too dark for my liking, and I'd like more punch on the oven to draw the viewers eye there.
Next step: more light!
For this image a small light was placed on the opposite side of the kitchen island to brighten up the cabinets and stainless steel oven. I'm pleased with the result of in that part of the image, but don't like what has happened to the ceiling: there is a big white rectangle up there now! This is the result of the small light for the cabinets and oven also brightening up the ceiling. It's oddly shaped because the island is blocking the light and creating a shadow on the rest of the ceiling. I'm not terribly concerned as this will become an easy fix in photoshop later. Generally I avoid photoshop as much as possible for many reasons preferring to get everything right in the camera, but this is one of those times where it becomes a necessary tool.
The last thing that I feel needs to be corrected with this image before moving on are the shadows on the under side of the kitchen island closest to the camera. It's a bit dark.
Solution in the next step? You guessed it: more light!
The additional light added to this image is a small flash set on very low power held in my hand right beside the camera. This serves the purpose of just adding a tiny bit of light in those small dark areas, and a little bit of sparkle on the chairs and kitchen island counter top.
All that is left now with this image is to blend the ceiling in photoshop with one of the earlier images that doesn't have the large white rectangle. I used the image from just before the small flash behind the kitchen island, resulting in this final image that I delivered (same as the leading image in this post):
What do you think? Do you like how I set up this image with a kitchen island and the lighting choices I made that led to the final product? Do you have a kitchen project or real estate listing that you would like me to photograph? I would love to hear from you! email@example.com or 705-868-0575
If you'd like to see the rest of the images of the home that I delivered to my client, please follow this link for the home virtual tour.