Last week, Fifi came to my home to do an article for Romantic Country magazine. We had worked together in the past on a few small projects but I'd only met her briefly at our friend, Carol's home. It was a joy to spend the day with her and I was happy to have her come and visit the Cottage. She's cute as a bug and filled with interesting stories. Accompanying her was photographer, Mark Lohman, who was witty as well as talented. He made me giggle quite a few times during the day, with his teasing comments.
He also showed me a photo he had taken of his dogs, that has to be the most beautiful pet portrait I have ever seen. His two Shih Tzus are running toward the camera, with their hair flying in the wind, happy looks on their little turned up nose faces, and a blurred out, elegant garden behind them. That guy is an artist. What a picture.
Fifi and Mark made my home look lovely, I was impressed with their work. And I enjoyed not working on the story myself, just stepping back and letting the pros do it. In the past, with numerous articles, I've been the stylist or was writing the story. This time, I was just the home owner, and that was nice.
I never really considered myself a professional, even though I was involved in dozens of published articles. It was all a bit of a lark, and I like having it on my resume (if I actually had a resume, which I don't), but I never considered it a real job.
If you are going to have your home photographed, here are a few suggestions:
1- Don't try to pre-style it, you don't know what the camera angles will be.
2- Don't have your heart set on a certain look. Things WILL be moved, rearranged, shuffled, changed, and might even be a totally different take on the room than you'd ever thought of.
3- Have fresh fruit and flowers ready to go, but don't put too much time into flower arrangements, chances are they will be redone more than once throughout the day. Have extra vessels handy for switching blossoms around to reuse in different rooms. You don't need a ton of flowers, because they can be recycled from room to room. (and save your receipt, the flowers are usually reimbursed)
4- If you own extra pillows, throws, rugs, china, etc, have them handy. The stylist will have ideas on making the house fit the magazine, and a color theme she has planned, and it helps if she has access to your extras to bring her ideas to life.
5- Have a place to stash the coffee maker, toothbruses, and other mundane, daily used, objects. But don't put it away too soon, you might want to offer a pot of coffee while everyone is working.
6- Clean up as you go, because the messes just get worse from photo to photo, as things get pulled out of cabinets to be used, or items get stored to one side of the room to be out of a shot. If you save all of the pick up for the end of the day, it will be too much to handle!! But do be careful not to put away things that might be used again. Like the pink flowered rug I brought down from the girl's room, it ended up in almost every shot, all around the house.
7- Don't be insulted or hurt if your home doesn't look like your version of your home in the pictures!! Its all your stuff, just rearranged. You might even pick up some good design tips from the experts and leave your new look in place.
My home was a little too neutral for what Fifi wanted, but it was easily fixed with throw pillows from the sofa, and the studio along with a pink rug and quilt from the girl's room.
I love this look, but couldn't leave it this way, or my sofa would not have any cushions.... And in "real life" if the chair was in the middle of the room, you couldn't walk through to the bathroom. Or see the TV, which is high on my list of importance.
My two footstools got a work out, as well as the chippy chairs that the kids use, all were used in other areas too. And see the pink rug again? Like I said, it made it into almost all the shots. The floral can filled with lilies was the bedroom trash can.
The surprise lilies are growing in abundance right now, and we could gather an armload for her to use in this shot. They were plopped right on top of the remnants of trash in the bottom of the can. Glamorous, huh?
There is that pink rug again!
In "real life", if you had that many pillows on a sofa, there would be no room for your backside. But it looks nice for the magazine, doesn't it? I could be tempted to leave it this way, but I think I'd get too many complaints from the family.
This isn't quite my "real life" look. Because the pupeesh think that rugs are pee pads, I don't usually have one on the living room floor. I swiped this one from the upstairs. And that half wall is actually a dog pen. I keep a gate across it, and the dorkies have access to the fenced in yard through a pet door in the corner. For the occaision, I took down the gate and put away all the dog bedding.
I'm afraid I didn't get photos of the styling upstairs. Sugarwings will be sooooo thrilled to see her room in a magazine. She was counting on them taking pictures of it, even though I told her that it wasn't a done deal, we'd have to see what Fifi chose to feature. Plus, I'm not sure she even knows what a magazine is, but she was excited about it anyway.
But no matter how exhausting it can be, it sure is fun to see the spread when it's published. Plus, Fifi and Mark make the experience delightful, they are such nice people to spend a day with.