Days 3, 4 & 5 of the Better Homes & Gardens Shoot

I thought I'd give you a play-by-play of the last 3 days of the BHG Christmas photo shoot at our house...


The photographer, Helen Norman (above), and her assisant Fj Hughes (below) shot the house on Wednesday and Thursday.  They arrived both mornings around 8 AM or so.  (Just having had a baby, it's really hard to get going in the mornings:  getting a shower & getting dressed sometimes feel near-impossible.    Justin was really spit-uppy and I made sure not to carry him over the camera equipment...  eeek )
I had so much fun working with them!  Helen has a great sense of humor (hysterical) and always made sure that we knew what the next meal would be.  (A woman after my own heart!  But she made a really good point that when you're on a job like this it's easy to forget about meals and then people get cranky & sloppy from being hungry.)  Fj has a 3 yr-old daughter and a 3 month old baby girl, so we had a lot in common.   
Below, Fj is holding the coco bead chandelier OUT of the shot.  (how sad for my chandy!  a bit too wild for BHG I think ;)


Jessica Thomas-the stylist- (below) was amazing.  The detail that's put into each & every shot is incredible.  Most shots took an hour plus to shoot (some less, some more.)  You'd be so surprised at how much thought is put into each shot.  And I'm talking about a photo of something as small as a Christmas ornament or a plate of cookies.  They made sure everything was perfect.  No unsightly tree lights or wires showing, etc.  It was awesome to watch.  A very precarious cookie kept falling over in one shot and we all had to stand perfectly still so as not to move the floor at all.  The sunlight kept going in and out of the clouds and Helen had to shoot at just the right time as Fj watched the clouds and let her know what the sky was about to be doing.  Craziness.  Jessica (below) has such an eye.  She made sure that each and every shot had a "story."  It was different than it would have been had we been shooting for a 100% design magazine vs a lifestyle magazine.  The shots weren't about the furniture or the room, they were more about what's going on in the room:  the people, the activities, and Christmas of course.  The room is more the backdrop for the story vs. the focus of the story.  (But of course the rooms had to look perfect in order to help "tell" the story.)


Joanna Linberg (below) is writing the story.   She also assisted Jessica in getting all of the props ready for the shoot and was AMAZING with Christian.  (He will be SO sad when he learns that "Miss Joanna" and "Miss Jessica" / The "Homes & Gardens Ladies" are not coming back tomorrow.  I've been using them to get Christian to do things:  i.e. "Miss Joanna wants you to brush your teeth."  hee hee hee) You know when you meet someone and they just exude goodness?  That's Joanna.  She's so young and has worked so hard to get to where she is. 


We were in a few of the photos and Christian did such a great job.  He was such a good little kid throughout the whole process & really followed directions well.  ("Ok, now go on your knees and giggle." etc..  He had so much fun!) 
Below is a picture of my kitchen shelves being emptied so Jessica could style them.  I LOVE what she did and am sad to see the things go!  She used a combination of my own things, some props from the Meredith prop room and some thigns we found at On a Whim and Lucketts. 


On the last day, at the end, we started running out of daylight.  Daylight is so important, because if you lose it, the photographers have to light the space and the look is totally different.  (not as pretty at all either!)  That crazy cookie kept falling over and then it was time for our family portrait.  Justin was crying and we had to get the shot as quickly as possible before the sun went down.  Definitely felt the pressure but it was so exciting!  Ps-  I think I TOTALLY scared Jessica before we met.  We'd been doing a lot of the prep over the phone/ emails and I told her multiple times how excited I was about the shoot.  (She does this ALL the time and so was not nearly there with me ;)  When some extra Christmas ornaments arrived for the tree, I got teary (give me a break- I just had a baby!) because they were so perfect.  I called Jessica and told her how much I loved them & how excited I was she was like, "Ok,"  (probably like "what is wrong with this girl?????!"  hahah)   Jessica is awesome at what she does& just so much fun and I'm honestly surprised everyone's not this nutty around her. 
On Day 5 (Today) Jessica & Joanna packed up everything from the shoot & put our house back in order.  (FedEx will pick all of the boxes up later this week to send them back to the Meredith Studio and back to the companies they came from.)  Jessica & Joanna also (as they did all week long) helped take care of Christian & Justin, and Jessica even made Christian a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch.  Finally, we said our goodbyes and Christian waved at our new friends from the window. 
Below, here we all are at the end of the shoot.  Everyone was so good to Christian & Justin.  (Helen below, with my little guy.  He loved them all so much. )


I'm really going to miss them all.  It was such a fun crazy week.  ...Such an awesome experience and I just feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to work with such talented, sweet people.  I wish we all lived closer. 

And I can't wait to see the spread next November!!!  (Feels like forever away!!!)

Have a great weekend!!
xoxo,
lauren

**update**  I should clarify that they used a lot of our own things:  my urns, cakestands, plates, stemware, silverware, pillows, blankets, ornaments, accessories, etc...  but supplemented them all with some extras & of course more Christmas things  (Our trees & garlands were long dead) and food. Jessica worked really hard to make sure that the items they brought in worked with my style & blended seamlessly with what we already had.   :)  so much fun!!

51 comments:

Kelly Green said...

gosh what a busy few days - can't wait to see the story in it's full glory later in the year! how exciting for you! KG

Marija said...

What a whirlwind! Something tells me the BH&G people are just as excited to work with someone talented, who can truly appreciate what they do and the level of detail they achieve. Awesome! Enjoy some rest over the weekend! Marija

Hamptontoes said...

Lauren,
I just walked in from dinner in the city with my husband (he went to take the sitter home) and I had to hop on a couple of blogs (no obligations at this hour to get me sidetracked)...love this story! I am genuinely happy for you! I will look forward (but, patiently as I like summer too much to rush it) for your magazine debut!

elisabeth (bovagoods) said...

i can't stand it that we have to wait until november!!! soooo excited to see how it all turned out!

Viera said...

How exciting.
I can not wait for a magazine to come out. We will wait.
X
V

Low Tide High Style said...

What a wonderful experience for you and your entire family! I can't wait to see the issue when it comes out, it seems far away now but it will be out before you know it!

Kat :)

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

Thanks for taking us along for the ride! This little series of posts has been so fun to read!

Adrianna said...

Seriously how the heckz do you do it? And the wild chandy...wildy cute!

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

Thanks for sharing the process with us. This is so exciting! Congratulations! I can't wait to see the spread. :)

Jessica Hills said...

That is so awesome! I can't wait to see it too!

Stephanie Sabbe said...

so fun! congrats again, that's awesome

Tina said...

It is so wonderful to hear that this experience was so much fun for you Lauren and how great that they were all so sweet to Christian:) Thank you so much for sharing your special week with us in this fabulous post ~ it is so greatly appreciated!!! Have a lovely relaxing weekend ~ Tina xx

kerrisdaledesign said...

Lauren (and family)- sounds like an amazing, fun, and memorable experience, I'm so happy for you! So excited to see the spread come November :)

Karla
Kerrisdale Design

le @ whoopwhoop said...

wow this would have been exciting :) how lovely for you - best le

Anna said...

Oh Lauren..what fun!!
And how great to have such a fabulous team working in your home that are just so lovely and embrace your family also...cannot wait to see the spread when it comes out ...YIPPPPPEEEEEEE....HIGH FIVE !!! x

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Lauren, thanks for taking the time to share every little detail. I am glad you had so much fun and I absolutely cannot wait for the November issue to see how it all looks in print! Now, rest this weekend. You probably need it!

Rie said...

Oooh, I can't wait either! I'm surprised they didn't use your chandelier. Too funky, I guess? You have such a gorgeous family... I'm glad they included you all. :) Congratulations again! What an experience.

Red Door Home said...

An exciting but exhausting few days I am sure. Most people have no idea how much works goes into just one story they see in any magazine and that a lot of what they see is staged. It is an interestin process. I remember the photographers assistant climbing on the roof of our house to cover windows on the second floor (from the outside) because the light was not right. The entire process was eye opening.

ClassiclyAmber said...

That is so much fun! I will also be looking forward to the Nov. issue so I can see all those beautiful shots~!
Hope you have a great weekend, too! =-)

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Lauren,
I'm so glad it all went well and that it was such an enjoyable process!!! Thanks for the the back story, cause that made it soooooo much fun for us too. Now you FINALLY get to put that pretty head of yours down on the pillow for a much needed long winter's nap!!!
XO,
~Rebecca

Emily A. Clark said...

I've loved reading about this! So much fun to get the inside scoop. And, you seem very calm overall to do all this w/ the two babies :)

"Yeah, that works..!" said...

What an exciting opportunity! I'm always amazed at how far in advance these shoots/stories get done. Will be sure to check next November!

Boxwood Terrace said...

Such a great story! I think it's wonderful that not only did you have this opportunity, but you also had so much fun with it and met some really nice people too. It sounds like a great experience. Can't wait to see the finished story in the magazine later this year.
Deborah

Kathysue said...

Hi Lauren,I am sure you will be talking about this experience for a long time. What a great memory this will make for your family and then to have it in a magazine to read is even more amazing. It has been so much to read all about it here on your blog. I know when I get my BHG in Nov. I will open it and I will say, "I know her" even though we have never met. You make all of your readers feel like a welcomed guest in your home. Thank you for that, Kathysue

**** April **** said...

So the photos in the magazine... where they show people's homes... they really ARENT full of these people's belongings but it's all staged? Hmm... I never even contemplated that.

A Perfect Gray said...

thanks for the story. wonderful event - we are so pleased for you!

jvw home said...

how much fun!!!!!!
oh, how i want that crew to come hang out w/us!!!
they're welcome anytime!!
Looking forward to seeing the article/pics in Nov!
I'm sure it will look beautiful!!
What an amazing experience....
have a great weekend,
Jeanette

Ruthie's Renewed Treasures said...

You did it, new baby and all. I remember doing a shoot in our home and the stress was intense. Hearing you describe how yours was, I know you probably felt uptight having a newborn, etc. but it sounds like they included the kids and made you feel comfortable about having them there (they look and sound like beautiful people).

I'm glad you clarified that they used some of your things and incorporated their items. Can't wait. So happy you were able to treasure this time, have fun with it and share with us all at the same time!

Ruthie

Ruthie's Renewed Treasures said...

You did it, new baby and all. I remember doing a shoot in our home and the stress was intense. Hearing you describe how yours was, I know you probably felt uptight having a newborn, etc. but it sounds like they included the kids and made you feel comfortable about having them there (they look and sound like beautiful people).

I'm glad you clarified that they used some of your things and incorporated their items. Can't wait. So happy you were able to treasure this time, have fun with it and share with us all at the same time!

Ruthie

Nancy @ Live love laugh said...

I am so happy for you that all went well and that you had this wonderful, well deserved experience! I will never read a BHG article the same-knowing the hard work and good people that are behind it! I will look even closer at the details.
~Nancy

Jennifer said...

so fun! very well-deserved and I'm so glad you enjoyed the crazy process! thanks for sharing and can't wait to see it!!

way to go BH&G for snatching Lauren up!

Angie said...

So exciting!!! Btw, I have to tell you that I subsribe to BHG and your chandy was not to wild for the mag in my opinion!! ;)

Tammy@InStitches said...

Lauren, it sounds so amazing ! Makes me want to learn more about photograghy.

Windlost said...

Lauren, it sounds like an amazing experience and such a joy to meet such kindred spirits. I know what you mean about those connections - to really meet someone on your wavelength or who shares your creative loves or is just plain good and kind is such a delight! I am SO glad you had this rich experience.

Love and hugs, Terri xoxo

P.S. Christian is so cute - I can see him giggling on cue. : )

Chris said...

I guess this means that I have to renew my BHG subscription - can't wait to see it! We miss seeing you guys next door - can't wait to see the new baby, too!

Congrats,
Michele Bassett

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Such a wonderful experience - can't wait for the November issue!

LindsB said...

Sounds like the most amazing experience for you!! Did you take any of your own pics, I'm dying to see what they did with the place? So wait, this is coming out in November 2010 or November 2011???

The DIY Show Off said...

What a crazy couple of days but how fun and exciting too! Thanks for sharing the details! I loved hearing about the "behind the scenes"!

Roeshel

JeanetteS said...

I look forward to seeing all the great styling and details in BHG issues in due course.

Thanks for keeping us along for the ride. It's fun to see the behind the scenes viewpoint.

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

So happy for you! What a wonderful magazine to be a part of! I'm looking forward to the issue and loved reading your posts on your experience.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Ha! What is it with these poor dramatic chandies that have to be pulled out of the shot??!

Did they let you keep any of the goodies?

Can't WAIT to see the spread, Lauren!

Maria Killam said...

Lauren, how awesome to have your very own talent in your home photographed! I can hardly wait to run out and get my very own copy in November!!
I'm so excited for you!!
xo
Maria

Natalie Catherine said...

how exciting!! i can't wait to see the spread in november!! i don't know you but it is so fun knowing like the inside scoop into a story like that in the magazine! makes it even more fun to get the magazine. looks like you had a blast. :)

pve design said...

Looking forward to seeing your spread!
I commend you for I know this must have been a whirlwind project on top of raising your kids.
You go girl~
pve

Melissa said...

So can't wait to see the BH&G issue that features your gorgous home and family. Sounds like it was soooo much fun.

KELLI said...

Magical!! Makes me want to dig my Christmas stuff back out!!

Robyn said...

HOW awesome! I am fascinated by this process! I loved reading about Layla and Kevins shoot at the The Lettered Cottage. I can't wait to see your article! It's amazing that these are shot so far ahead! I bet it was a wee bit hard to get into the Christmas spirit right now!

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

So exciting!! Thanks for sharing the "back-stage" details with us! It will make next November's issue so thrilling for me!

paula said...

I so can't wait to see it in print!

Dayka (Life +Style) said...

looks like so much fun--congrats, again!

traci zeller designs said...

Soooo exciting, Lauren! Thanks so much for sharing the back story; it makes me look forward to the magazine even more. Congratulations!!
xoxo
Traci