Friday, October 31, 2014

National design magazine photo-shoot of The Marsh Cottage - behind the scenes

I met Sunday Hendrickson, style editor extraordinaire, during the photo-shoot of another home I re-modeled - "The Pink House" - for This Old House in 2012.  The magazine flew her in from Los Angeles to style my house;  We've been great friends ever since. I think this photograph below captures her personality perfectly. 

After I re-modeled The Marsh Cottage, Sunday submitted photos to another national magazine and they signed off on a photo-shoot.  In April, Sunday arrived on Saint Simons Island to coordinate & stage for the photo-shoot.  The photographers,  Richard Leo Johnson & Russ Powell, drove down from Savannah. I have become Sunday's unofficial style scout so I'd lined up another darling cottage for a photo-shoot as well so it was a working vacation of sorts for all of us.

This was my third photo-shoot for a national design magazine so I've learned the ropes and how to make a very long day more fun. Here are some of my photos from behind the scenes.  I cannot share the professional photos yet but can say they will be in Vintage Style Magazine sometime in the Spring of 2015.
The day begins with the arrival of the talent, Richard & Russ (the VW is their car). I had to move my cars and had my rugs airing out over the front railing. The weather did not cooperate at all.  Within 30 minutes after this photo was taken it began raining and it did not let up all day. Aside from the lighting, the first concern were the grass steps.  

The day before, the steps looked like this.  After the torrential downpour, the grass was so compacted we could not get it to stand up.  Let me introduce you to the tricks of the trade...

I walked around my neighborhood with an umbrella cutting tall grass from various neighbors yards. We stuffed it here and there and then added some moss I had to cover the other areas and it worked!

You'd never know, would you...?
  Since one of the special design elements of this cottage were the grass steps, we were high fiving ourselves on this "save." 

You enter through the screen doors to a fabulous porch I designed.  This is a beautiful overall shot of the porch after staging.  By this time, it was pouring. If you look to the right near the plan tree you can see it.

This is the porch before staging. Notice the windows on the left. We had to cover them for both effect and to assist with the photography.  We hauled a set of heavy shutters from one of the bedrooms out to cover the window. 

That's Richard to the left & Russ holding the shutters back initially with a piece of wood and then later with a broom in order to get Russ out of the shot. 

My broken twig chandelier almost hid the upper part of the window seen in this photo.  That can be taken out via Photoshop. 

Styling is all about adding color, texture & proportion.  It really is an art. We needed more color on the table using the yellow theme so I offered this yellow bowl I had.  Sunday asked if I had anything like cheese sticks but I didn't (gluten-free....) but I did have rawhide dog chews covered with dried chicken!  That's what is in the bowl...

My three dogs - Kenyon (Lab), Scout (Lab mix) & Beau (Border Collie mix) - were excellent throughout the day. Sunday, Richard & Russ are all dog lovers as well. There were many of these photos throughout the day as one of them snuck into a photo. 
That is Beau under the table. 

Part of Sunday's job is to bring in that color and texture.  She travels with an extra large suitcase filled with props -  fruits & vegetables, breads, throws, kitchen towels, pillow covers... - so whatever theme the magazine wants she delivers.  The day before a shoot she shops for props - flowers, plants, and anything extra to tie the theme together.  Often the homeowner gets to keep these things if they are the last photo shoot or it cannot travel in Sunday's suitcase.  

This is Sunday & I enroute to her next photo-shoot in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  We drove up in my MINI and stopped along the way for more flowers.  She knows exactly what she wants and sometimes cannot find it at the first store.  By the time we reached the hotel we had to take the top of the MINI down to accommodate everything. 

The cute bell services boys helped us get the flowers to the room. 
Once in the room we have to put them in water in the bathtub. 
Now, back to my porch...

Sunday & Russ hard at work staging and getting the right picture.

For the record, the inside of my porch armoire was not this neat the day before and I almost never have my leopard print towel casually draped outside an open drawer (wink). 

It's hard to photograph leather well.  It shines and can dominate the entire photo.  

We added a lot of pillows borrowed from Seaside Home on Saint Simons Island in exchange for a mention in the magazine article and then Richard did his magic with photography with an assist from Russ with lighting and this vignette became a spectacular shot. 

I use an old lobster trap for a side table.  I am some what color-adverse but I ended up liking the aqua pillows so much that I bought several of them after the photo-shoot.

Kitchen photo-shoot prep. This was Sunday's third photo-shoot on Saint Simons in four days and the same flowers were used for each one. We shot the kitchen at the end of the day so the tulips were on their third day & photo-shoot.  Initially they just perfectly drooped in the way tulips do and then began to drop their petals so we just let them stay on the floor. 

Here's the finished product with the additions of flowers, fruit, plants & herbs, kitchen towels. Compare it to my "every day" kitchen below.
( - every day kitchen - )

Master bedroom with the addition of lilac accessories. 

Guest bedroom with the addition of pumpkin accessories.

 Master bathroom entry.