This was one hectic week in our house, from getting everything ready for the Better Homes & Gardens photoshoot, the photoshoot itself, cleaning and packing up Christmas post-photoshoot, I think I’m just starting to recover! This post is definitely not the glamorous side of photoshoots – today you’re going to see all my behind the scenes shots from my iPhone. If there’s any advice I would give someone getting ready to have their house photographed, don’t even bother making sure everything is perfectly in it’s place! We moved almost everything – to get stuff out of the way for a shot, to style the shots, to make things look just right in the shots – furniture, pillows, books, flowers, accessories, even our living room chandelier got moved! The other thing I can tell you, is it was such a fun time meeting and working with the editor and photographer from the Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Christmas edition magazine. I am so excited to see all of our hard work in print. Notice I said our – these guys were so awesome at letting me participate and get right into the action…I loved every minute! It makes me miss the days I used to spend working on fashion shoots – with amazing creative talent, collaborating on ideas and styling every detail and making sure the shots look perfect. SO. MUCH. FUN. A huge shoutout and thank you goes to Ann Blevins and Jay Wilde for allowing me to jump right in. We had a blast…and I’m crossing my fingers that one day I’ll get to do it again!
Before I begin, I have to give you a peek at all the amazing flowers I was able to order for the shoot. I snapped these post-shoot, so they’re not the original arrangements – we did some deconstructing to be able to style certain vignettes we were creating. But all in all, they’re mostly the same as what you see here. Aren’t the so fabulous and lush? They came from Flore, a Montreal florist located in the heart of the city. SO beautiful… they were able to create the most gorgeous arrangements, our home literally smells like a florist shop.There are some winter greens and berries in there if you look closely, but all the tulips and roses have opened up so much since we shot, these almost look like spring bouquets now! By the way, tulips keep growing in case you didn’t know – that’s why they’re so tall – can you believe that?!
Enough of the pretty stuff, let’s get to the mess! Before they arrived, the house looked pristine, I swear… and of course, I didn’t snap one shot before they came. As soon as they walked in, they got straight to setting up the first shot of the living room. The furniture was all moved around for the perfect composition – you can get an idea of the shot on the screen in this image below. They moved my rattan sitting chairs and used one of them facing the sofa to create a more interesting furniture layout, and to also open up the fireplace visually. After the first shot was done, Jay went to work on shooting some closeups of the mantel and stockings.The camera was setup behind this view, off to the left. What most people don’t realize, is that so much goes into getting just one final shot. From the camera and equipment setup, to the lighting, styling the furniture and accessories and then tweaking everything as you shoot. Sometimes you do get it on the first try, but it’s rare, and if the does happen, it’s after many shots have been taken anyway.Here I am with my BHG buddies, Ann and Jay, I miss them already!
The second shot was straight on of the Christmas tree, with the camera setup in the kitchen. We moved the sofa and rug out of the way, wrapped extra presents and reworked the shelf styling. Since I can’t show you much of what the house looked like (other than the giant mess haha), I can tell you that I added my navy and light blues back on the tree and mantel, and I also brought many of my blue and white pieces back in as well. I absolutely love how it all turned out with our new white sofas, and I think I may just recreate the look next Christmas. Check out last year’s Christmas decor here to get an idea of how my holiday blues look in our home! Now, picture them with our white sofas….gorgeous!Here is a peek at some of my blues from this shoot…I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I added them back in.
Here’s a look at the mess in the living room as we’re shooting the tree from the kitchen. See that wire hanging from the chandelier? We used it to pull the chandelier out of the shot! That’s Jay pulling it out of the way for the shot…but isn’t he the photographer?? Don’t worry he has a remote control ;) Once the shot was captured, they even tried it on a cover layout – it looked sooo amazing! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it actually makes the cut, but we won’t know until it comes out next fall. Cross your fingers for me too!
Next, Jay shot our front porch (see my Christmas porch here) and then our entryway console table. Ann and I worked on styling a vignette on the table – the faux flocked pine branches and silver trees that I originally had in this space didn’t work so well in the shot, so we went to work and created a whole new look with some greenery, ornaments and my brass hurricane lanterns. It turned out beautiful.The last shot of Day 1 was a straight on shot of the kitchen sink, styled with those beautiful blooms and my silver wreaths. They had me working very hard hanging those wreaths! Just kidding…I was totally willing to do whatever they needed me to. You should have seen me earlier climbing the living room shelves ;)
I can tell you, I was so exhausted by the end of the day, but had to get to work cleaning up the house and styling the dining room for the morning. Day 2 was only a half day, so they only took about four shots.
Our first shot of the day was of me, standing in front of the buffet with the tree in the background – sorry, no phone pic of my outfit, you’ll have to wait ;) After that shot was out of the way, we finished setting up and styling the dining room table. Jay and Ann went to work getting a couple of closeups of the tablescape, which was very similar to my Christmas table that I recently shared (see it here), with greenery and ornaments.One of the interesting things I learned about styling and shooting tables is sometimes things shoot better when they’re off center and crooked. I already do that a little bit when I shoot, I’ll move things right or left to be able to see something else, but you’d never know that everything on the table was almost on a diagonal to get the composition just right in the shot.
Many pieces often get removed from the room as well, so that they are not distracting in the final image. Certain pieces get propped up so they show in photography if it’s hiding behind something else…so many tricks!Meanwhile in the kitchen….more mess and a dining room chair.Jay took one last detail shot of the tree before the day was a wrap.
What an amazing experience this was for me, I loved every single minute of the entire shoot. Ann and Jay were so much fun to work with and such a pleasure to get to know a little bit. They are some seriously talented people – I learned so much from Better Homes & Gardens team, and it was truly an absolute blessing to have them here photographing our home.Thanks for walking through the photoshoot with me! I hope you enjoyed the little peeks and behind the scenes action. I wish you could see it all unfold live, it’s really pretty neat stuff. The funny thing I think most people don’t realize, is that it’s all just a day’s work. Regular people, who just happen to be immensely talented and produce the most amazing work. The issue will be on newsstands in the fall, I think some time in October – keep an eye out for it – Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas! I wish I didn’t have to wait so long, but I can tell you – having my home published by Better Homes & Gardens, it will be well worth the wait. Especially if I’m lucky enough to make the cover ;)