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  • Writer's pictureSHOOTLAB

Birchwood Restaurant in East Sussex: Architectural & Interior photography

Updated: Dec 1

Shootlab is a leading Content Creation Agency based in Lewes. In this blog post, we'll showcase images from our recent photoshoot at Birchwood Restaurant and Cafe in Sussex, a remarkable establishment built entirely from natural materials. We were commissioned to capture both the interiors and exteriors of Flimwell Park's Birchwood Cafe and Restaurant—a remarkable establishment built entirely from natural materials, epitomizing sustainability. Our images spotlight the serene beauty and simplicity of both the building and the Flimwell Park surroundings. Recognised as one of Sussex's top sustainable dining destinations, Birchwood boasts the culinary expertise of Green Michelin-starred chef, Will Devlin. The restaurant's modern, eco-friendly architecture seamlessly blends with the verdant Flimwell Park, a pioneering sustainable development spread over 46 lush acres in East Sussex. Scroll on to experience Shootlab's exquisite architectural and interior visuals of Birchwood. And as a bonus, at the close of this post, we're excited to share our top 5 photography tips tailored for restaurant captures. To learn more about Birchwood Restaurant and see more of our photos, scroll down.

Birchwood Cafe interior and exterior images

The interior photo above shows the main restaurant/dining space at Birchwood, a light-filled open-plan environment with views of the surrounding woodland. When the weather is good, you can also dine outside on the suspended glass dining terrace. The clear glass walls allow guests to enjoy the beauty of their surroundings, set amongst the trees, a truly magical setting!

exterior sunny image of the cedar cladding building-  Birchwood Restaurant
Birchwood cafe / restaurant, sustainable development entrance with rusted metal doors. Architectural Photography by Shootlab

Exterior photo of the entrance to Birchwood restaurant in Sussex, taken from the Flimwell site car park. There is plenty of parking on-site and they also have a bank of Tesla chargers.

Flimwell Park commissioned us to produce both interior photography and exterior architectural shots of their new venue. The brief was to reflect the ambient eco chic feel of the building, whilst highlighting the fresh, rustic yet cosy interior design. One of the most important aspects of this photo shoot was the lighting. As the lighting inside the restaurant is very warm and soft. We made sure that we had on hand plenty of lighting equipment and lighting modifiers to enable us to create the lighting that we needed for this shoot. We really love what the designer Steven Johnson of The Architecture Ensemble has done with the space and wanted to draw attention to the shape and forms, helping to reveal the soft tones of the wood, and minimalist architectural features of Birchwood Restaurant.

blue sofas, 3 orange coloured hanging lamps white walls, coffee table Birchwood restaurant
Birchwood Cafe/restaurant lounge area. Photography by shootlab

interior space, silver birch tree trunks in row, hanging dried flowers, wooden lampshade, orange walls
Birchwood use of dried flowers and birch tree stems Photography by shootlab

dining table, drinking glasses, sheep skin. rug, orange walls, restaurant environment
Dining space with sheepskin rugs and natural finishes. Photography by shootlab

Ariel shot of Birchwood Restaurant at Flimwell Park
Aerial photography showing Birchwood Cafe and the Flimwell Park Focal building. Architectural Photography by Shootlab

This aerial photo showcases the modern development design. The sleek and stylish building features sustainable materials and a minimalist aesthetic and is juxtaposed against the natural surroundings.

Birchwood cafe exterior terrace with woodland views
Birchwood cafe exterior terrace with woodland views. Aerial photography ©shootlab

The Birchwood Terrace dining space set in the beautiful woodland environment, with far reaching views.

wooden building, copper window frames, angular wooden structure, blue sky, stone paving, benches, wooden glass handrail
Birchwood cafe exterior eco design constructed with sustainable wood and natural materials. Photography ©shootlab

This architectural image showcases the beautiful use of natural materials throughout the build, an eco-friendly building with built sustainable design. For this shot we used the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II Lens, aTilt Shift lens for straight architectural lines. The natural materials and light colours used in the construction reflect the principles of green architecture.

About Birchwood Restaurant

If you're looking for a great eco-friendly restaurant, Birchwood, sitting on the edge of the 46-acre Flimwell Park, is the perfect place, serving up delicious food and drinks while keeping sustainability in mind. Run by Green Michelin starred chef, Will Devlin who also owns and runs The Small Holding kitchen and farm in Kent. Last year The Small Holding was awarded a Michelin Green Star - an annual accolade for restaurants championing sustainable practices. Guided by the landscape and self-sufficiency, Birchwood is focussed on flavour found in the natural world. Championing local to Kent and Sussex artisan suppliers, the menu plays host to local ingredients, some of which come from the woods, on the steps of the restaurant. We had a lovely Vegan lunch (see the photo below!) and can vouch that the food is truly amazing! - All locally sourced ingredients, beautifully cooked and packed with flavour.

Birchwood cafe offers an all-day menu for breakfast and lunch including Vegan options, and is open seven days a week, from 8am-4pm. You can book a table here on their website - BIRCHWOOD RESTAURANT & CAFE

Vegan Lunch at Birchwood Restaurant
Vegan Lunch at Birchwood Restaurant


Now that you've looked at some of our interiors photography and drone photography from the shoot we want to share with you some restaurant photography tips that have helped us out on set, so let’s dive into some tips on how to make your restaurant photo shoots successful for both you and your clients.

These restaurant photoshoot tips and tricks from the experts at Shootlab will help you make the most of your 'restaurant photoshoot' and help you create some amazing photos!

From styling to lighting, we have you covered. So whether you're a beginner or a pro, be sure to check out our Top 5 Photographic Tips for Restaurant Photography!

Tip 1: See The Space

Absolutely. It's always a good idea to scout the location beforehand if possible, as it can help you plan for the shoot and anticipate any challenges you may face. Some things to consider when shooting in a restaurant include the lighting, the layout of the space, the type of cuisine being served, and the overall aesthetic of the restaurant. You should also think about the angles and compositions you want to use, as well as any props or elements you may want to include in the shots. It's also a good idea to communicate with the restaurant staff and management to understand their vision for the shoot and to make sure you have all the necessary permissions. In this case, Birchwood was quite dark in the main restaurant area and the windows were very light so there was quite a lot of adjustment in post (photoshop)

Tip 2: Set Up Near A Window

If you are a natural light shooter and don’t have experience with using artificial lights, make sure you try and use as much window light, natural light as possible. Restaurants are usually really accommodating and will let photographers set up wherever they want. Don’t be afraid to claim the spot that will give you the best light.

Tip 3: Bring Multiple Lenses

When shooting for restaurants, we always recommend bringing several different lenses to help you capture a variety of perspectives. We typically bring a wide angle for interior shots, a standard lens such as 35mm, a close up lens for those detail shots and a zoom lens to achieve different focal length options. We have listed below our favourite Canon lenses for restaurant photography below.

Tip 4: Shooting angles

Low camera angles can be a effective way to create drama and interest in a photograph. Shooting from a low angle can make the subject appear larger and more dominant, which can be especially effective when shooting restaurants. However, it's important to keep in mind that the best camera angle will depend on the specific subject and composition you are trying to achieve. Sometimes shooting from a higher angle can also be effective, as it can create a sense of perspective and can be a good way to show the layout of a space. It's always a good idea to experiment with different angles and compositions when shooting and try and get a variety of shots.

Tip 5: Best time of day to Photograph

It's generally best to shoot the interior of the restaurant when the restaurant is not too busy, as you will have more control over the lighting and the environment. Shooting in the early morning we've found can be a good option, as you can often get the space to yourself and there will be plenty of natural light. However, if you are shooting in a restaurant that is open only during the evening, you may need to bring your own lighting equipment to supplement the limited available light. You also need to be mindful when photographing a busy kitchen, that the staff are usually under pressure and that they don't want to be distracted, so try and get them on your side.

Best lenses for photographing restaurants from our kit bag:

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM (Versatile lens for general coverage)

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II Lens (Tilt-Shit lens for straight architectural lines)

Laowa 12mm f2.8 (Very wide lens but with minimal distortion for tight spaces)

Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 (A great lens for creating depth and atmospheric shots)

See more of our architectural photography here


Shootlab are Photographers based in Lewes, that specialise in architectural photography for businesses and restaurants. Our team of experts will work with you to capture the perfect images of your business, ensuring that you receive stunning and high-quality photos that will help promote your brand. We also offer Videography and Video Production services

We'd love to hear more about your company or business and how we can help you. Please reach out anytime – we look forward to hearing from you!

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Read our Blog - The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Lewes

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