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!!
**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!!