What it's like on a photo shoot

Well, yesterday's over and we did it!!!  We hauled booty and got in all of the shots I needed.  I really can't believe it. 

{not a professional photo..  will get them in a couple of days}

The first time I had some work professionally photographed- about 3 years ago- I was shocked by the amount of photographs shot in a day.  I think we ended up with maybe 7-10 shots??  That number seemed incredibly low to me.  I'd expected lots of angles and multiple options for rooms-  a smorgasboard!!  It's not like that... Every time you change angles, everything changes- lighting, sharpness, accessories need to be moved & tweaked, etc.  Had I been more prepared for what to expect, I'm sure we could have gotten in a few more, but taking even one photo is a long process. 

Some of you left comments about doing different arrangements and having the photographers take multiple arrangements because I was having trouble deciding how to style my house.  This would be so awesome if time weren't limited, but the reality is, that when you hire a photographer (which costs in the thousands) you need to take advantage of every single minute and every rearrangement for a shot is time you could be spending on another photo of another area of the home.  A typical shot can take an hour to an hour and a half... some take as little as 30 minutes- and then there are those magic 50 mm shots that can take 5 seconds.  You know how you typically see 12-20 photos in a magazine spread?  These come from 1-2 full days of shooting and sometimes more. 

Since Helen & FJ had been to my house for the Better Homes & Gardens shoot back in February, we were able to move quickly.  They remembered lighting & angles & important details.  I also take a ton of photographs of my house for this blog & so have tried just about every angle and knew what I liked & wanted. 

I took scouting shots of all of the angles I wanted & put them in a document to show to Helen & FJ.  We were definitely ambitious with the number of shots I needed and with daylight savings time, we fought the light.  We did the whole upstairs of my house (leaving out my uggghhh-still-green-70s bathrooms!) and I was able to get 2 alternate shots ( in the dining room I first set it up for eating and then we set it up for reading which is how we often use it.  We also made a pretty little garden corner in my living room for a nice vignette. )

On a photoshoot where you are paying for a full day, you want to be ready to take your first picture as soon as the light allows to maximize daylight.  You should have a list of all the shots you want to get.  You should know how the light will move about your house.  (Is it bright in the afternoon? morning?  When can you shoot a room?  What time can't you?  If the light is streaming in it strongly through a window it can create "hot" spots in photographs and it's really tough to shoot the room.)  You should have a general gameplan of the order of shots you will be taking and which rooms you'll be shooting at what times of day.  The light is king and it's the one thing you have no control over so let it guide your order of rooms and shots.

It's nice to have extra accessories & arrangements on hand to play with and you should have it all set up the day before.  You can rearrange and tweak once you're looking through the photographer's lense. You move things around for photos...  accessories, furniture, lamps, etc.  Things look really different on camera than they do in real life and the goal is to  make it look on camera as it does in real life.  This takes a lot of tweaking, which takes a lot of time. 

On a photoshoot every second counts so you scarf down lunch and barely remember to go to the bathroom.  It's one of those crazy days where you just plop down at the end and go "'phew."  We had a blast and I can't wait to get the new photos up!!

On another note, I know some of you have emailed with questions & I'm falling really behind on my emails and I apologize.  Work & kids and life are crazy right now and sometimes it feels as if I just can't keep up.  If I don't write you back, please don't think I don't care or am upset, it's just that there are so many balls in the air right now that sometime's it's really hard to manage a blog.  If there's something you haven't heard back about, please email me again.  I hope you can understand!!

Enjoy your day!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.


Jules said...

Once upon a time I did that for a living and until I read this I had forgotten how exhausting and how exciting it could be! Looking forward to seeing the shots.

bryn alexandra said...

ohh my gosh I cannot WAIT to see the images!!! I know they are going to be crazy (in a good way). :)

Unknown said...

So excited to see the pictures- I'm sure they will be amazing!!! BTW- I adore you blackboard paint on the fridge- so cool!

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Great post full of information people can use to photograph their own homes as well. It is a lot of work, and can be frustrating when the light doesn't cooperate...looking forward to seeing the images!! Janell

Jenny Castle Design said...

Sounds like a busy, but very productive day Lauren - can't wait to see the photos!! P.S. I love the open shelving in your kitchen!!

Laura Trevey said...

Photo shoots are so much fun!!! Can't wait to see the pics!

Hope you are doing well Lauren :)
xoxo Laura

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

I am always so disappointed with my own photos, a professional photographer knows how to bring a space to life. I'm going to try a few tips before my next "photo shoot" haha!

pve design said...

You are so sweet, you do so much and manage it all with such grace! I cannot even imagine a photo shoot in my home....I really think that I would not sleep.

Anne said...

I'm craving caffeine just reading about your day!

This sentence struck me: " Things look really different on camera than they do in real life and the goal is to make it look on camera as it does in real life. This takes a lot of tweaking, which takes a lot of time."

If you ever get a chance, would you please explain WHY this is? If it looks good to the eye, why doesn't that translate to camera and all the styling is needed? I'd love to know the method behind the madness!

Laurie from Laurie Jones Home said...

Love this post it's always great to hear the ins and outs of interior design, I can't wait to see the final photos. I'm thinking of having my home shot once I finish it so this was very helpful! Thanks Lauren!

An Urban Cottage said...

Interesting indeed. I'd love to see your shots compared to the professional shots and learn a little about where they placed lights and/or other tricks that improved the resulting images.

Gretchen O. said...

Sounds like quite a day. I am amazed at how you arehandling all the balls in the air!

ALR said...

I am sure I will never know what that is like in real life. I can only imagine the pressure. I am sure the finished shots are amazing:)

Amy R.

Anonymous said...

i love the refridgerator!

Laura@Developing Designs said...

Fabulous post, I love when others are enlightened about what really goes on behind the scenes such as an interior photo shoot. You know how important it is to have thought about it prior, have the tools handy, know the angles you like, and more. All of this is vital in helping make it go smoothly (though, no matter what, it is still usually very time consuming) As a designer and photographer (for other designers) it amazes me just how challenging the concept of placing pieces in a different way to get the right angle can be. Can't wait to see the photos, I'm sure they are STUNNING. xo

kayce hughes said...

I am so excited to see them!

Belinda said...

Wow! I have never experienced a photo shoot before, only the kind when you have your picture taken. :)

The lights are already set up and I guess that's why it can be done quickly. Never thought about all the details involved in a photoshoot at your home or outdoors. Now I get why you couldn't do rearrangements of the rooms. That does sound exhausting. And here I thought my day of taking 2 kids to the doctor yesterday was tiresome. haha

Anywho, can't wait to see the professional photos, though I can't see how they can be more beautiful than the ones you have already of your home. :)


traci zeller designs said...

I am so excited for the images, Lauren! It is crazy how exhausting a photo shoot is, isn't it?!?!?!? xoxo!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Lauren, that sounds like fun! Can't wait to see new photos of your beautiful home. You've done such a great job with it all, I love to stop by here.

Rebecca Gibbs said...

Wow...I had no idea a photo shoot took that long. I can't wait to see your wonderful home! You are an inspiration!

Karen said...

That's really interesting and informative---I wouldn't have guessed that each shot can take so long. I guess it makes sense but still I'm a little surprised. I can't wait to see your beautiful home through the eyes of a professional photographer.

Karen at Garden, Home and Party

Shannon Fricke said...

looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Renee said...

Hi Lauren,
Just wanted you to know I saw your much anticipated House and Garden Magazine in the grocery story today in Vancouver. Congratulations on being the cover... and on those fabulous pictures of your lovely family and the house of course. Merry Christmas to you.

Anonymous said...

I got the magazine article about you today in the mail. It looks great! Good job!

La Petite Gallery said...

Can't wait to see your Prof images. These are good too.
congratulations on the Magazine ,


It's a Wannabe Decorator's Life said...

I was so excited to see you in BHG!!! It all looked so beautiful. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Loved loved loved your Better Homes and Garden spread. Just wish they had shown more. I ordered that wood bead necklace. So cute!

Dad said...

I am so proud of you Honey, better then designing, youo are the best daughter a Dad could ever wixh for

Staci Edwards said...

Great post!

Susan said...

Hi Lauren,
Just wondering where you get your live topiaries. I can't find them anywhere and I love them!! Any hints?

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