We are still settling back into normal life after our photo shoot with American Farmhouse Style magazine! It sounds glamorous, but preparing to be in a magazine involves a lot of late nights spent dumping things you actually use into the garage. It also involves ungodly amounts of cleaning and tidying, plus asking kids not to use the couch/nice towels/table/bowl of fruit. For all these reasons, I’m thankful that it’s behind us, but looking back, it was tons of fun AND the reason our house is no longer under construction.*
*except for the rooms that weren’t in the magazine, which are currently trashed and in need of a professional organizer
The Photo Shoot
Our photo shoot was May 1, and from the time we found out it was coming, we had three months to get an absolute ton of work done. We had lots of people praying for us that we’d be able to finish and wouldn’t get delayed by getting sick or injured on the job, or else just too discouraged to do what we needed to do.
Often we have tons to do in a short amount of time. In our regular, non-magazine life, we tend to be buying a house, renovating it while living in it, and selling it about every two years (not intentionally, I might add). This has been going on for the past ten years. This year, though, our deadline was the photo shoot for the magazine and not the photo shoot for the real estate listing. It didn’t feel any different, except that preparing a house for a magazine is about a million times harder than preparing it to sell, though also quite similar.
So after three months of intensive work (following a year and a half of constant renovations), our photo shoot day arrived, and we prepared by getting to bed by 1am. This was earlier than anticipated, and we greeted the day with a clean house, a quad-shot mocha from Starbucks, and a huge box of bagels from Einstein Brothers Bagels down the street.
Here’s an action shot of me with multiple props in the background, clutching that quad-venti mocha for dear life.
That thing got me through the whole day, thanks to multiple reheats. The bagel box stayed out of the picture, but often we were all holding bits of bagel while we rushed from place to place, making sure everything was right.
Notice anything about the photo above? Like, it looks a little too trashed to be magazine-quality? Yeah, you’d be right. I’ll give you the behind-the-scenes secrets.
Behind the Scenes
First, the flowers were just leftovers. I bought some flowers and asked people in our neighborhood if I could clip fall-looking foliage from their yards. Then, for our dining room centerpiece, I put individual flowers and sprigs of purple leaves and Japanese maples in milk glass vases. The leftovers ended up just sitting in this jar, and ended up being in the background of a shot in another part of the kitchen. At the moment it was just sitting on the island, out of the way of whatever shot we were doing.
The iron was for the creases in my brand-new dishtowels! The creases were mild but showing up in the picture, so I put down a white cloth on the island and ironed them right on top of our metal countertop. It’s always good to have an iron handy if you happen to need perfectly un-creased dishtowels.
See that little green jar to the left of the sink? It says “coffee” and is full of instant coffee. I used that to quickly put coffee in the mugs that were used for props. We have instant hot water in our kitchen (one of my must-haves) that makes instant coffee super-instant. In some of the pictures (like the one above), the mugs were empty to look like the island was set for breakfast, and there were other pictures where the mugs needed to have coffee in them in order to look realistic.
There was also an open package of baby wipes on the counter. I learned over ten years ago when our first baby was born that I heart baby wipes (the unscented kind). They are so handy and clean everything without falling apart. Our third child has been out of diapers for over four years, but we still buy baby wipes in bulk at Costco because life wouldn’t be the same without them. Another reason is that we have a lot of marble in our house, and not all cleaners are safe for it.
The mixing bowl and placemats/mugs were for different shots and were moved out of the way for others. Here are some more shots of the kitchen:
This shot is of my favorite part of our kitchen– our mercantile store fixture from City Farmhouse in Franklin. We use it for extra counter space for baking and cereal-getting, as well as a handy place to display fruit and bread if someone happens to be taking a picture.
The little iPad laying around is the CamRanger. That’s so when the photographer (Shannon Fontaine of Shannon Fontaine Photography) took a picture, I could see it from a nice comfy seat and yell out commands.
Okay, just kidding. But it was very useful in seeing what the picture would actually look like, to make sure that the flowers were facing the right way and that the dishtowel was folded perfectly randomly.
And if something was amiss, like the bread didn’t look natural, I had to run over and fix it.
See the scones in the basket on the shelf above the mugs and the apples in the bowl? We had to work hard to keep our kids from eating them ahead of time. And the pears next to the crock with the “5” on it? We bought them ahead of time and arranged them, and then they started getting too ripe. And we’d also find that some of our flowers dried up or that the rug was crooked.
Oh, and the rug! I love the look of vintage rugs in the kitchen! More about that later.
Hope you enjoyed seeing a little of our photo shoot! We’ll show you more in an upcoming post.
Wow! The wall with the mercantile fixture is my fave too! Your styling skills are so impressive, Holly. Everything looks stellar. 🙂
Holly Thompson says
Melanie, you are so sweet! Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂 Styling things with bread and flowers and fruit are new for me…usually we are never close enough to finishing projects to even get it clean!