Restaurant photography (and the sun)

The  Old Adobe Mission is a Scottsdale landmark. Hand built in the 1930s by Mexican Catholic settlers using over 14,000 adobe bricks, it’s on the historic register and stands as the oldest church in Scottsdale. And right next to it is The Mission Old Town – a popular Latin restaurant, dimly lit and intimate, and with a menu that includes Pacific Swordfish and Faroe Island Salmon. It’s a fabulous restaurant, and so when I was contacted to photograph their second location at Kierland in north Scottsdale, I was thrilled.

The Mission Kierland is completely different to the Old Town location. It’s two stories, bright, open, large windows, stunning chandeliers, and an upstairs patio that’s perfect anytime of the day, from brunch to dinner and cocktails all day.

I split the shoot over the course of a day. I started really early when the morning light was soft, and shot the downstairs and a couple of exteriors. But when the sun got too strong, I went home and came back later to shoot more exteriors and the upstairs. If you fight the sun, you’ll never win so you have to be flexible, strategic, and fast. But no matter how much you prep (or how many sun apps you have), the sun will always surprise you – and sometimes those are the best shots of the day.