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Architectural & Interior photography for Birchwood Restaurant in Sussex

Updated: Feb 14

In this blog post, we'll showcase a Architectural & Interior photography from our recent photoshoot at Birchwood Restaurant in Sussex, a remarkable building built entirely from natural eco materials. We were commissioned by Flimwell Park to produce a series of interior photos and architectural exteriors of Birchwood Cafe and Restaurant located on Flimwell Park's sustainable woodland development on the East Sussex and Kent border. —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 Photos- interior and exterior photography

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!

The facade of Birchwood restaurant, a contemporary wooden building, on a sunny day. Its architecture features a horizontal slat design with a warm, natural finish. The entrance has glass doors marked with the establishment's name, set within a large wooden front that hints at the sustainable ethos of the building. To the left, a metal stairway leads to an upper level, and the structure is complemented by a spacious paved area in front. The building is bordered by lush greenery, reflecting an eco-friendly integration with the surrounding environment.
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.

 A cozy lounge corner in Birchwood modern cafe with minimalist Scandinavian design. The area is well-lit with a cluster of warm pendant lights and an elegant floor lamp with a curved neck extending over a comfortable seating area. The furniture includes a simple grey sofa with a fluffy white cushion, a wooden armchair, and a wooden coffee table with a wicker shelf holding magazines. The polished concrete floor complements the neutral wall color, and framed botanical prints add a touch of nature to the decor. A birch tree column partially frames the left side of the image, contributing to the natural aesthetic
Birchwood Cafe/restaurant lounge area. Photography by shootlab

This image captures the rustic charm of Birchwood modern restaurant's interior design, focusing on a cluster of real birch tree trunks that rise to meet the wooden ceiling. A stylish, ribbed, globe-shaped pendant light hangs from above, casting a warm glow over the scene. Dried plants hang gracefully from the ceiling, adding to the natural, organic ambiance. In the background, a muted orange wall contrasts with the natural elements, and a framed piece of art is partially visible, complementing the aesthetic of the space. The composition strikes a balance between nature and modern design, creating an inviting atmosphere
Birchwood use of dried flowers and birch tree stems Photography by shootlab

inside a modern restaurant with tables set for dining. The tables are made of light wood and are accompanied by matching benches, some adorned with fluffy white textiles for comfort. Clear glassware and neatly arranged cutlery are set out on the tables, along with small condiment bottles. The warm terracotta walls in the background create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, and a colorful piece of modern art adds a splash of vibrancy to the space. The overall look combines natural elements with clean, modern lines, offering a casual yet stylish dining experience
Dining space with sheepskin rugs and natural finishes. Photography by shootlab

An aerial view of a modern, eco-friendly architectural complex nestled in a lush green setting. The buildings feature a dynamic, angular design with natural wood cladding and protruding box windows that add depth to the façade. The largest structure has a sloped roof, while the smaller attached units have flat roofs, some equipped with solar panels. The complex is surrounded by a spacious, paved courtyard, and the entire establishment harmoniously blends with the surrounding woodland, emphasising sustainability and integration with nature
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.

A side view of Birchwood restaurant - a contemporary building with a terraced structure, featuring clean lines and a wooden exterior that complements the surrounding green forest. The building has an asymmetrical roofline with skylights and solar panels, indicative of an environmentally conscious design. Large glass windows and doors offer a glimpse into the interior and connect the indoor and outdoor spaces. In the forefront, there is a spacious elevated deck area with multiple wooden dining tables and benches, protected by a glass balustrade, providing an outdoor eating area with a view of the tranquil forest. The foreground shows a paved area leading to the building, enhancing the building's accessibility and its modern aesthetic.
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.

Architectural photo showing Birchwood a modern building with a unique architectural design, constructed with horizontal wooden slats. The structure features varying levels with large windows and glass doors, providing natural light and views of the surrounding trees. Adjacent to the building is an outdoor terrace with wooden tables and benches, enclosed by a metal railing, offering a spot for al fresco dining. The terrace overlooks a paved courtyard, and the building's roof sports solar panels, underscoring a commitment to sustainability. The overall design is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, blending seamlessly with the natural environment.
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

 A table setting featuring an array of gourmet dishes on ceramic plates. In the center is a dish with grilled tofu topped with a vibrant green sauce, accompanied by a side of grain. To the left, there are glazed carrots with a glistening sheen. On the upper right, roasted potatoes in a bowl and charred broccoli on a plate are visible, while another plate in the foreground shows a second serving of the chicken and grain meal, garnished with a yellow sauce. The dishes are presented on a wooden table, emphasising a rustic yet elegant dining experience
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!


4 Fisher Street


East Sussex


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