Workshop Wednesday: Fast-food Restaurant

Workshop Wednesdays are a weekly segment where I provide a composition analysis of a real estate photograph. If you have a specific type of room or exterior space that you would like to see in this segment, please get in touch.

This week’s image was taken during a commercial real estate photo-shoot of a fast-food drive thru restaurant in a coastal town. This is one of the few ground-level images that was captured to complement several aerial images of the property (see example below of one of the aerial images of this asset).

This stand-alone fast-food drive restaurant had a 10-year lease with a ‘blue-chip’ tenant with an option to extend for another five years. Therefore, the real estate agent’s ideal buyer would be a private investor or self-managed super fund. The buyer will want to see the quality of the build, layout, and attractiveness to other tenants in the long-term if the current tenant chooses not to renew the existing lease. The key features that fast-food drive thru tenants look for are availability of car parking, access, pedestrian access, signage, and interior and exterior layout.


The camera was positioned with the driveway/vehicular access point in the right-hand corer with the diagonal lines and painted arrow (literally) pointing towards the centre of the image, which assists in leading the viewer into the image from the street, one of the highlights being focussed on in this image.


When the rule of thirds ‘grid’ is applied to the image you can see that the bulk of the structural elements of the image (car park and building) is positioned in the centre (horizontal) third, and the green landscaping and blue sky are evenly balanced in the top and bottom thirds of the image.


The foreground of the image highlights the neat landscaping and well-maintained grounds which provides a nice contrast to the mostly grey concrete and building structure. The tripod was fully extended to elevate the camera slightly over the garden in the foreground.


The image is cropped neatly (to 18mm) against the light post to frame the left-side of the image and also highlight the lighting/safety in the car park which is an important feature.


The signage available on site is clearly visible in the composition, which is a feature that both tenants and landlords look for in commercial properties of almost all sub-sectors.


One of the most important features to highlight in a commercial property is the availability of car parking (in this case, for customers of the fast-food restaurant).

Landlords want to be able to see that the car park is busy as this means the restaurant is ‘doing well’, and the less chance there is of the tenant going out of business. Therefore, it is best to shoot commercial properties during their peak hours – just ask the agent if you are not sure what the peak hours are for the property you are going to photograph.


The drive-thru facility is visible in the centre of the image, which helps create a well-composed image that provides the viewer with a lot of information about the property, however the drive-thru is best shown in aerial images. Refer to the below bomb-shot of this property clearly showing the layout/position of the drive-thru facility.


Pedestrian access is also an important feature shown in this image with the front doors clearly visible adjacent to the driveway.

Photograph Information

Camera: NIKON D750

Aperture (ƒ): 13

Focal Length (mm): 18

ISO: 500

Shutter Speed (s): 1/320s (3 Brackets)

Flash Fired: No

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